Inflation detected in Torfajökull volcano

Icelandic Met Office reported that inflation has been detected in Torfajökull volcano. This inflation started around middle of June. The inflation has now reached around 40mm.

Torfajökull volcano caldera. This image is purple to green from west to east. The centre of the Torfajökull caldera is shown with red colour to show the inflation.
The inflation of Torfajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

How fast this is going to evolve is difficult to know since last eruption took place in 1477 and that was probably an eruption as a result of magma injection from Bárðarbunga volcano. Last eruption in Torfajökull volcano it self might have happened last in the year 1170. Eruptions in Torfajökull volcano are almost always explosive eruptions with an dangerous ash cloud that drifts under the direction of wind.


Increased hydrothermal activity in Askja volcano

This is a short article about Askja volcano. Because I am getting information that are in my view slightly conflicting with each other.

It seems that an there has been a increase in gas and hydrothermal activity in Askja volcano and in nearby area because of inflation that is currently taking place. At the writing of this article the inflation in Askja volcano seems to have reached between 80mm to 100mm. The reports have been slightly difficult to place in a good picture of what is happening. That’s why I am limiting coverage about this until it becomes more clear to me what is going on.

The general advice from Icelandic Met Office is that people should not hike around Askja volcano or nearby area because of risk of gas and sudden eruption. There is no special earthquake activity at the moment and that makes it difficult to know what is going on. This might change without warning, as is sometimes the case with volcanoes.


Strong earthquake 1,4 km east of Keilir mountain

Today (9. July 2023) at 22:22 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw5,2 happened 1,4 km east of Keilir mountain. This earthquake did shake Keilir mountain and resulting a small dust cloud. This earthquake is connected to inflation that is happening just south of Keilir mountain, rather than being connected directly to magma movements in this area.

A lot of green stars close to Keilir and Fagradalsfjall on Reykjanes peninsula map. Time on map is 9th July 2023 at 23:15 UTC.
Strong earthquake activity in Fagradalsfjall mountain and Keilir mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There’s a risk of more strong earthquakes like this in this area until an eruption starts.


Update on the activity in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 7th July 2023 at 14:28 UTC

This is going to be a really short article. Because an eruption might be about to start. Difficult to be sure, but there’s a chance. Eruption has not started at the writing of this article.

  • Largest earthquake in the last 24 hours seems to be a magnitude Mw4,3. I no longer can keep up with all this earthquake activity.
  • Inflation in area close to Keilir has reached 200mm (20cm) in less than 48 hours when this started.
  • Inflow of magma is estimated to be 88m3/s and that is a lot of magma moving and moving fast.
A lot of earthquakes in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Too many earthquakes too count and too many green starts.
Heavy earthquake activity in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is unclear where the eruption is going to happen. But there has been a drop in earthquake activity that strongly suggest that magma is close to finding a path to the surface. According to measurements, the magma is now less than 1 km away from the surface.


Reykjanes peninsula might be one large volcano

It was in the news today (3. July 2023), since inflation has been detected from GPS data on Reykjanes peninsula since start of April. What was told in a interview on Bylgjan (radio channel) and later published on Ví news website (link below, but the whole thing is in Icelandic) is that all of Reykjanes peninsula is inflating. What is also starting to show in the GPS data is that there might not be separate volcanoes on Reykjanes peninsula, this might also have happened in the year 2020 – 2021, before the first eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain. All of Reykjanes peninsula might be one large volcano, extending from Hengill to Eldey or Eldeyjarboða, the south end might have uncertain location. This changes everything as that means that it can erupt at any location on the Reykjanes peninsula without warning and the whole area is now in an eruption cycle.

The current period of inflation started in April and is now at 2,5cm (25mm) and is centered at the last eruption location in Fagradalsfjall mountain. That means the most likely location of next eruption is going to be Fagradalsfjall mountain. This inflation is also going to trigger large earthquakes on Reykjanes peninsula in next few weeks to months until an eruption starts. Along with the normal amount of small earthquakes that have been happening since April on the whole of Reykjanes peninsula.

I don’t know when or how long it is going to take to change the official definition of the Reykjanes peninsula. Because this is going to require more research and data collection for the scientists in Iceland. This also means a lot of new science papers have to be published and peer-reviewed.

Icelandic news

Fólk á suð­vestur­horninu má búa sig undir reglu­lega jarð­skjálfta (Ví

Light sized earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (21. February 2023) at 08:41 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw4,9 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is because of inflation that is now happening in Bárðarbunga volcano and has been going on since end of Holuhraun eruption in 2015. Earthquakes with this type of magnitude are going to happen once or twice a year until Bárðarbunga volcano is ready for next eruption and that can take decades. There are going to be smaller earthquakes between larger earthquakes. According to the news, this earthquake was felt in Akureyri.

Green star and red dots in Bárðarbunga volcano inside Vatnajökull glacier. Few dots in other volcanoes in this part of Iceland.
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Last time this happened it took 112 years between eruptions in Bárðarbunga volcano. With the quiet period between 1902 and until 2014. Shortest time between eruptions seems to be around 40 years, but most eruptions happen between 90 to 112 years from last eruption. Based on the data from Global Volcanism Program on Bárðarbunga volcano. There is a lot of uncertainty in this data, so this might be shorter from what it looks like in the data.

I’ve switched to using standard definition for earthquake magnitudes, as shown here (Wikipedia). This is for clarification and simplification when I am writing about earthquakes.

Magnitude Mw3,8 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (29-November-2022) at 01:09 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,8 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is a normal inflation earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano and more earthquakes like this are going to happen in next few years.

Green star in Vatnajökull glacier in Bárðarbunga volcano. Few dots of different colours.
Green star shows the earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano. Picture is from Icelandic Met Office.

This is just regular earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. After the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano in 2014 and until 2015 it is going to be a while until next eruption happens. Until then, earthquakes like this are going to happen.

Magnitude Mw3,5 earthquake in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano

Today (12-October-2022) at 14:18 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,5 took place in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano. This earthquake was followed by few smaller aftershocks. This earthquake seems to be happening because of a inflation that is taking place in Fagradalsfjall volcano and this strongly suggests that inflation in Fagradalsfjall volcano is slowly reaching critical levels. There is no eruption expected from Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano as is.

Green star with few red dots just west of Kleifarvatn lake, showing increase in activity in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano
Earthquake activity in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity suggests that more stronger earthquake activity is possibly on the way. When it might start is difficult to know for sure. This has been the pattern in recent months. Earthquake activity starts to appears like this and then one day a major earthquake swarm starts. What happens now is a wait and see as before.

Inflation from start of September in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano and in Reykjanes volcano

According to GPS data from Icelandi Met Office that can be viewed here for Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano (Þorbjörn) and here for Reykjanes volcano. It seems that a inflation period, at least in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano started in early September and is ongoing at the writing of this article. Earthquake activity is low at the moment, but the area has already moved a lot in recent earthquake swarms and that might he dropped the crustal stress in the area. It might also explain some of the GPS movements. I have some, but limited understanding of reading GPS data so my assessment might be off, wrong or both.

There also seems to be inflation going on, without many earthquakes in Reykjanes volcano. That seems to be have been going on since start of August. There have not been any eruption in Reykjanes volcano even after repeated inflation and deflation cycles in the volcano. Inflation cycles often have earthquake swarm activity if dyke activity follows an inflation event. That does not seem have happened this time around.

If this inflation continues, in either one or both volcanoes. It is clear a new period of high earthquake activity is about to start on Reykjanes peninsula. When that earthquake activity is going to start is impossible to know. Since recent earthquake and volcano activity has changed how the crust works in the parts of the Reykjanes peninsula where magma has been active. Since hot magma slowly softens the hard rock in the crust at depth and that lowers the earthquake activity. Rather then at the start of an volcano activity, when the crust is cold and brittle, resulting in high earthquake activity before an eruption.


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Increasing pulse activity in the eruption signals end of the eruption

It has been reported in the news today (18-August-2022) at Rúv that more pulse activity has been seen. This results in lava being thrown up high in the air.

This is the same pattern as happened last year in the eruption in Geldingadalir valley. It took a while for that eruption to end and that might also be the case now.

Other than this, there have not been any other news of the eruption. There also has been interesting events out in the lava field, where the new lava is compressing the lava from 2021, resulting it being squeezed out at the edges. Since there is still flowing lava in the lava field from 2021 and that is going to be like that for many decades until this lava field cools through.


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