Earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano

For the last few hours there has been a earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano. I’m not clear on how many earthquakes have so far happened in Öræfajökull volcano at the moment. Most of them have been smaller than 1,5 in magnitude and only few earthquakes with magnitude 2,0 and above have so far happened. This is a unusual earthquake swarm and possibly the largest one since the unrest started in Öræfajökull volcano few years ago.

The earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano at the south end of Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm is on a line that is almost north-south direction and that is interesting as it crosses the crater of Öræfajökull volcano. That type of pattern appeared last month during the earthquake swarms that took place then. Between now and then there has just been few earthquakes here and there in the volcano. Old history tells (from the eruption 1362) that before the main eruption at least two earthquakes are felt nearby. How accurate that documentation is questionable due its age and possible rewrite over history. Detailed report on Öræfajökull volcano can be found here (pdf) by Icelandic Met Office. Historical data shows that eruption from Öræfajökull volcano are powerful and can lost for a short time (1326 eruption), but they can also last for few months like the 1727 eruption that started in August 3rd and ended on May 1728 (+- 30 days error margin).

Notice on Esjufjöll volcano

There has also been a minor increase in earthquake activity in Esjufjöll volcano. This seems to be a side effects of the activity in Öræfajökull volcano. Why and how that works is unknown to me. I don’t expect any eruption to take place in Esjufjöll volcano. Last eruption was possibly in the year 1920 and was short lived (few hours?). I don’t know how long this earthquake activity has been going on in Esjufjöll volcano, but it is mentioned in a Icelandic Met Office report from 2002, that report can be read here (pdf).


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