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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21 Replies to “Earthquake swarm in Öræfajökull volcano”

  1. Minor updates on my plan. I have cancelled moving to Iceland due to housing difficulties, the issue that there is no affordable housing available in the area I planned on living during the summer and going to school and live there during the winter is less of an good idea than I want it to be. I would be able to do so, but I figured that I rather don’t want to do so.

    I have also looked at buying a house in Portugal and Spain but due to bureaucratic difficulties in both countries I have also cancelled those plans. Buying a house in Spain requires 10% on top of whatever I wanted to save up for a deposit on a house, so that is not an option.

    I am going to move to from Denmark in 2018. I am going to be moving to Germany, Flensburg to be exact since that is the most closest town (ca 85.000 people) to me in Denmark. I am next to the border with Germany and the distance is only about 7 km in total that I would move and that makes the move easy to do.

    I don’t know how long it takes to get an apartment in Flensburg, but I will be using a rental company called SBV (their website in German, I plan on renting a condo and that means I might not get ground level access while living in Flensburg (on the plus side, I don’t have to take care of a garden). The long term plan is to move closer to Frankfurt (or Bonn) and close to the German volcano of West Eifel Volcanic Field (

    I can still record earthquakes with my geophone even if I’m not at ground level as the house carries the earthquake wave signal. I just get a better signal if I’m on the ground (most of the time, the quality of the earthquake signal depends on the ground, rocks are best, old swamps, sand and clay areas are worst).

    What the housing situation is going to be for me when I move close to Frankfurt or Bonn is anyone guess (if I move at all). Since I have a lot to learn in that time.

    I am not going to switch PayPal or my bank accounts to Denmark again since I only have at most 8 – 10 months left in Denmark. I plan on opening a bank account in Germany in 2018 (January or February) in order to prepare for this change if I can (the bank might not allow me to do this, but I am going to ask too see if that is possible anyway).

    1. Good night

      I do not know who advised you about Portugal… because if you know where to look the rent is really cheap.

      I’m a portuguese school teacher and because of my work I’ve rented all over Portugal, Madeira Island included.
      If you rent for at least a year you can pay as little as 250 euros a month for a T1 apartment (T1 = one bedroom apartment)

      And if you want to buy… it’s not that expensive either. For exemple, in Madeira Island you can pay as little as 70.000 euros for a T1 apartment near Funchal, in the Caniço area… and even less in the main land.

      In mainland Portugal you can get an apartment for under 50.000 euros in ALGARVE!!!!! I said ALGARVE… where all the tourists go!!!
      Just take a look (I got the english version of the site to make it easy for you).

      Rentals in Algarve are also good.
      A college went to see an apartment in a condo with a swimming pool for 350 euros a month… with all expenses included (tv, internet, light, water, gas) near Tavira and all the beaches of the Sotavento of Algarve.

      You just need to know where to look.

    2. More updates on this. I’ve decided to switch Paypal back from Iceland account to the Danish account. It just simplifies things for me until I move to Germany next year. Everything already on PayPal (regular donations) Icelandic account is just going to stay there until it expires or is cancelled.

      The reason I won’t be moving to Iceland is a terrible housing crises in Iceland at the moment and it’s only going to get worse next year and it is going to remain bad for the next 20 or 30 years in Iceland.

      I also can’t afford living in Denmark. It’s getting more expensive every year I’ve lived in Denmark.

      Once I’ve moved to Germany I’m going to try and get into Google Adsense program again. If there has been any improvement to that program I can use it with Amazon Advertisement to improve my income from all the work I put into this website.

      1. Perhaps something glitching with the equipment. It’s looking a bit more normal now. (about 200 microsiemens at the moment)

      2. Conductivity continues going like a really slow yo-yo, with sudden skips up and down. It might be actual fast fluctuations, but I don’t understand how conductivity shows negative readings sometimes?

  2. From IMO website:
    New seismometers at Öræfajökul
    See original article in icelandic

    When translated into english (translations into german are a bit confusing sometimes….) the text can be well understood.

    Important to know: Yes, there is an increasing number of eqs under Öræfajökul, but with the new equipment, even more (and smaller in magnitude eqs, 0-1 mag) are shown on the website. All are more accurate.
    GPS, watermeters and gasmeters are to be installed in November 17.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out. Icelandic Met Office seems to be detecting inflation at Öræfajökull volcano. But they are not sure at the moment if that’s due to change in glacier pressure or due to inflow of magma. What is clear is that from 2015 to 2017 there is clear inflation in Öræfajökull volcano (but also in the whole Vatnajökull glacier area).

      The new harmonic tremor stations (SIL stations) around Öræfajökull volcano.

  3. Also from IMO website:

    where the 1326 eruptiom must have been really devastating according to the author
    (….) „lifði engin kvik kind eftir utan ein öldruð kona og kapall“

    ( The greatest destruction occurred in the countryside at the foot of the volcano, which was then called the Little Hague. Built there lay down completely after the eruption, as) “no swift child lived outside of one elderly woman and cable” (Oddverjaannáll).

      1. Maybe Google translate…. it is all about Katla is overdue and it may be a big eruption…..

  4. “The electrical conductivity was measured both at water level at Upptyppinga and Grímsstaðir. Current Validation Values are twice as normal for this season. The values of Clearance have never been as high as now.”

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