Earthquake activity in Vestmannaeyjar island volcano (off the coast)

For the past two days there has been a minor earthquake activity in Vestmannaeyjar island volcano. This is the first time since 2015 an earthquake activity appears in Vestmanneyjar island volcano. This earthquake activity was minor, with largest earthquake only having magnitude of 1,5. Depth was around 17 km with only one earthquake at 14,2 km depth. The earthquakes formed a straight line going from NE-SW direction.

The earthquake activity in Vestmanneyjar island volcano. This activity is out in the ocean. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Total of four earthquakes took place and since Wednesday 30-August-2017 everything has been quiet. There is no reason to assume that this going to result in anything at this time. Last eruption in Vestmannaeyjar island volcano system was in 1973. The problem however is that this volcano eruption history is not well document as it is under the ocean.

Notable eruptions have taken place in the following years according to Global Volcanism Program.

1637 October – 1638 February 28 +- 60 days (documentation error margin). Possibly South West of Heimaey island.
1896 September – Unknown. South or South east of Hellisey island.
1963 November 8 – 1967 June 5, Surtsey island formed.
1973 January 23 – 1973 June 28, Heimaey island (Eldfell).

Smaller eruptions might have happened without being detected in earlier times (or even big ones). The depth suggests magma movements but at the moment this magma is currently deep and doesn’t show any signs of reaching the surface. I don’t expect any eruption to happen but I don’t know this system activity well due to lack of it.


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