Update on Sundhnúkagíga activity for 2. January 2024

This update is going to be short. Information here might go outdated quickly and without warning. This article is written at 20:51 UTC on 2. January 2024.

Inflation in Svartsengi volcano has reached its maximum according to GPS stations compared to 18. December 2023. This inflation is not even among the GPS stations on top of Svartsengi volcano. Why that is unclear, but most likely reason is that the sills that are in Svartsengi volcano are not evenly filled this time around. Why that is I don’t know, something must have changed in the internal flow of this volcano when it comes to the sills.

It is difficult to know when next eruption happens, at the writing of this article I am looking at around seven day window at the moment. That an eruption should happen around 9. January 2024. It might happen sooner or it might happen later. It is difficult to know for sure. Where eruption is going to happen is impossible to know. It is expected that an eruption might happen again close to the last eruption took place or at the same location.

If anything happens. I’ll post update soon as possible. Next update for Sundhnúkagíga is going to be when something happens.


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Update on Sundhnúkagíga on 27. December 2023 (includes information on Fagradalsfjall volcano)

This is a short update on the situation in Sundhnúkagíga on 27. December 2023 at 20:40 UTC. Information here can go outdated without warning and quickly.

There’s inflation taking place in Svartsengi volcano. At current rate this inflation is around 10mm a day. This means that earliest an eruption might happen is around 30. December 2023 in my view. But it might happen as late as 10. January 2024. This inflation is really quick, but since last eruption only lowered Svartsengi volcano only around 80mm, the inflow of magma has less space to fill up before a critical point is reached in the crust in Sundhnúkagígaröðin area. This also means it takes shorter time for this to happen.

Earthquake activity along the dyke from 10. November close to Grindavík town and there's also a earthquake swarm activity in a fault line in Fagradalsfjall volcano.
Earthquake activity along the dyke that was created on 10. November 2023 and in Fagradalsfjall volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There’s also activity in Fagradalsfjall volcano. This is along a fault line that I don’t think has been active like this before. Why is unclear, but this might be an early sign that this fault in Fagradalsfjall volcano might erupt in the future. Since Fagradalsfjall volcano is on around ten month eruption cycle, this fault might erupt sometimes between May to September 2024. I am sure that this is going to get more clear as the time goes on if anything is going to happen in Fagradalsfjall volcano. Satellite images from Google Earth do show a clear fault in along the earthquake active area. This is possibly a known fault, but I do not have any information about that as is.

Earthquake activity along the dyke shown in higher resolution along the dyke from 10. November 2023. An earthquake activity in Fagradalsfjalli volcano east of Svartsengi and Sundhnúkagígar on a small faultline there.
Earthquake activity for the last 8 days in Sundhnúkagígaröðin and in Fagradalsfjalli. Image from Skjálfta-Lísa. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
A crack in the ground on satellite image from Google Earth in Fagradalsfjall volcano.
Crack in the ground on Google Earth image of Fagradalsfjall volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Alphabet/Google Earth.

It is impossible to know what happens in Fagradalsfjall volcano and in Svartsengi volcano. This situation can change quickly and without warning. It can change so quickly that I might not be able to update about it quickly enough if this happens at a time when I am outside doing something else.

If anything happens. I’ll update soon as I can do so. Next update should be on 2. January 2024 if this remains quiet.

Update on Sundhnúkagígar activity on 21. December 2023 at 18:47 UTC

This is a short article, written on 21. December 2023 at 18:47 UTC. Information here might go outdated quickly and without warning.

The eruption that started on 18. December 2023 at 22:17 UTC is over, best I can see. This was large eruption, but a short one. Total lava flow covered an area of 3,7 km2 (square kilometre). Most of the eruption happened in the first 24 – 48 hours of the eruption. There are early indicators that inflation has resumed in Svartsengi volcano, if it inflates at the same rate as before this eruption it is only going to take 8 to 10 days until next eruption. This is a big question since there’s a lot of magma in Svartsengi volcano and that magma can move towards the surface, even if the inflation doesn’t happen and can result in a larger eruption. If that happens is a wait and see situation.

Videos from the eruption areas show a lot of degaussing in the eruption fissure. This is interesting and I am not sure why that is. There’s a chance a lot of magma is in the dyke that is just releasing gas into the air without having the energy to erupt. There’s a small chance that a new eruption might happen in the same location. If that happens is impossible to know.

Red dots and yellow dots in the rift zone valley where the eruption just ended. Time on image is 21. Des. 2023 at 19:15 UTC.
Earthquake activity along the rift valley. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity is interesting, it started yesterday (20. December 2023). This follows the same pattern as the earthquake activity before the start of the eruption on 18. December. If that is what is happening remains a wait and see situation for now.

This is the last update unless something happens in this area. Based on current information, that is what is going to happen, the question is just when.

Update for Sundhnúkagígar eruption on 20. December 2023 at 18:29 UTC

This is a short update and information here might go outdated quickly and without warning.

This eruption is a short one and that’s how eruptions in Iceland are normally. This eruption might end by Friday to Monday, depending on what happens.

  • The flow from the craters that are erupting is around 10m3/sec. This is low compared to the start of the eruption on Monday 18. December 2023 and suggest that this eruption is going to end soon.
  • GPS data shows that Svartsengi volcano has only lowered around 80mm since Monday. This means there’s a lot of lava in Svartsengi for new eruptions to happen without much warning.
  • Earthquake activity along the fault valley has resumed, after stopping soon after the main eruption took place. This is interesting and I am unclear what this means at the writing of this article.
  • Icelandic Met Office is reporting that the eruption, even is small, is stable at the writing of this article. This can change without warning.
  • The lava field is now, according to best measurements around 3,7 km2 (square kilometres).
  • According to University of Iceland Earth science department, the chemical makeup of the lava shows that its more evolved in part than the lava in Fagradalsfjall volcano. This can be read here (new link, now in English). This means that this magma stopped on its way to the surface and cooled a little and changed chemical makeup before erupting.
  • This new lava is different than the lava that erupted 2400 years ago at the same location. Why that is I don’t know. It is going to take few years to maybe get an answer to this question when the experts have done their research and published their science papers.
Earthquake activity along the rift valley in Svartsengi volcano shown by a green stars, red and orange dots showing smaller earthquakes.
Earthquake activity along the rift valley. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is interesting to see that Þorbjörn mountain continues to get lower, based on GPS data from today (20. December 2023). Icelandic Met Office has released new danger map and that can be found here in English on Icelandic Met Office website.

This is all the information I know of today (20. December 2023). Next article should be tomorrow (21. December), unless something happens then I’ll try and write article soon as I can.

Update on the eruption in Sundhnúkagígar on 19. December 2023 at 21:46 UTC

This is a short update and information here might go outdated quickly. This article is written on 19. December 2023 at 21:46 UTC.

I am trying to collect and read all the information I can find. I don’t have access to everything my self, so I am depended on news and reports from Icelandic Met Office and others on what is happening in this eruptions. This is not unusual and has always been like this.

  • The eruption is now in 2 to 4 vents. I am little unclear at the writing of this article now many are erupting.
  • The new dyke seems to go into the dyke from 10. November. This can result in reactivation of the dyke from 10. November and result in an eruption along it, all 15 km at random location.
  • Current flow seems be around 50m3/sec at the writing of this article. I’ve been hearing that highest flow yesterday (18. December) was around 800m3/sec, but that number is for me unconfirmed. It dropped to 100 – 500m3/sec soon after the eruption started.
  • Early GPS data from today seems to suggest that Svartsengi volcano has lowered about 50mm since the start of the eruption. I am waiting for new GPS data on Icelandic Met Office website. That data hopefully shows up tomorrow (20. December).

There’s a lot of uncertain things that can happen with this eruption at the moment. Since there’s a lot of lava in Svartsengi volcano that has not erupted so far. New inflow of lava from the deep mantle is also a possibility and those can happen without warning as the pressure drops in Svartsengi volcano sill (or magma chamber).

I’ll post next update tomorrow (20. December 2023) or sooner if anything happens.

Inflation in Svartsengi volcano reaches 10. November levels

This information is unclear, but this is the best information I have at the writing of this article.

It seems that Svartsengi volcano has reached close or the same level as 10. November levels. There has been a slight shift where the inflation has been happening. It seems to have moved slight closer towards Þorbjörn mountain, that also means the main inflation is happening closer to Sundhnúkar and Sundhnúkargígar and Sýrlingafell mountain. This strongly suggest that magma is building up in this area because of the ongoing weakness in the crust in this area. This also strongly suggests that when the magma in this sill goes next on the move, it is going to go up towards Sundhnúkar and Sundhnúkagígar area and into the dyke that formed on 10. November 2023. That dyke has filled up all available space created by the rift valley, next dyke is more likely to start an eruption than the dyke created on 10. November.

There’s no earthquake activity in Svartsengi volcano at the moment, until that happen, the volcano is quiet at the writing of this article. It is more than likely that an strong earthquake swarm is going to start in Svartsengi volcano and close to Sundhnúkar and Sundhnúkagígar once the magma gets moving again. Inflation in a volcano does not always result in increased earthquake activity, since this depends slightly on what has been happening and how the crust is in that volcano at that time when activity is ongoing. It is impossible to know when next activity starts in Svartsengi volcano, but there is a chance that the magma that has flowed into the sill needs a time to change before it moves again. That can take time, how long is difficult to know, but this might be from six months and up to two years at most. This depends on the magma flowing in, gas content and such, so it can happen both slower and faster than earlier inflow of magma into the sill in Svartsengi volcano.

At the writing of this article. Everything is quiet in Svartsengi volcano.

Update for Grindavík on 8. December 2023

This is a short article about the situation in Grindavík. Information here might go outdated quickly without warning.

Sorry for the late update. I was updating my computer and its been more of a problem than I expected. Since I build my own computers, rather than buying already assembled computer.

Overview of the situation in Grindavík

Inflow into the dyke seems to have stopped one to two days ago. This means that it has started to cool down, since no inflow of fresh magma means it starts to form into rock. This is going to take years and in some areas decades cool all the way through. This also means that the rift valley is no longer moving as much as it was doing and in some areas has stopped completely. There is a crust instability in and around Grindavík town because of the rift valley, but this instability is now lower compared to first few days after 10. November. This might continue for years, even after all eruption activity stops few hundred years into the future.

Inflation has now reached almost the same level as 10. November, with only 50mm to go until the same level is reached. This inflation seems to be creating cracks in the ground around Svartsengi power plant. But the news was not clear on exact area of the formation of those cracks in the ground. Svartsengi, Grindavík and the area around the dyke continues to be a danger zone as defined by Icelandic Met Office.

This image shows the four danger zones around Grindavík. With zone 1 being in Svartsengi, Zone two to be north of Grindavík and zone three to be south east of Svartsengi and north of Grindavík. Zone four is Grindavík. Zone three is the most dangerous one.
The danger zones in Grindavík. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The original image can be found here on Icelandic Met Office website.

This is not over and it is impossible to know when next sequence of events starts in Svartsengi and there is going to be little to no warning when it starts next. Icelandic Met Office has sad that at most there is going to be a two hour warning before an eruption starts, but it might even be shorter time. Making staying in Grindavík and nearby area all hours of the day a dangerous thing to do.

This is the last update until something happens in Grindavík.

Update on Grindavík for 4. December 2023

This is a short update and information here can go outdated quickly and without warning.

There has not a lot been happening in last few days. Here is a overview for the last few days.

  • Inflation continues in Svartsengi. Over the 90 day GPS data period. The inflation has reached the zero line. That means the inflation is now at the same level as it was before 25. October 2023. It still has about 100mm to go before it reaches 10. November levels and the sill broke and the magma dyke happened. But it is important that the GPS data from 2020 shows that Svartsengi lowered to 140mm below the January 2020 starting point with the GPS data.
  • The GPS data from January 2020 for Svartsengi show that total inflation in the area is around 230 to 250mm. This information can be viewed here (this is a none https link, so it might require an exception in Google Chrome or just use Mozilla Firefox). There’s a lot of GPS data on this site. Some of it show short term GPS data that are from last 12 hours daily update. Looking for the correct data image might take some time.
  • Inflation might need to reach 10. November levels before anything happens again. The dyke even on 10. November seems to have changed how things happen in Svartsengi so it is impossible to be sure what happens next.
  • While the magma collecting phase is ongoing. Things are going to be quiet with the earthquake activity in this area.
  • The rift valley, best I can see, continues to change and sink and rise. Resulting in ongoing damage to Grindavík town.
  • There’s less news about this at currently. That gives me less information on what is going on.

Next update should be by Friday 8. December, unless something happens.

Update on Grindavík for 30. November 2023

Information here might go outdated quickly and without warning. This article is written on 30. November 2023 at 23:44 UTC.

There isn’t much change happening at the moment. People are now allowed to be in Grindavík between 07:00 to 19:00 I think the time frame is. Earthquake activity is at minimum currently.

Daily update

  • Deepest hole that has been discovered so far is 25,7 meters deep. It is deeper, but at 25 meters the ground water level starts and hides the actual depth of this crack. Rúv news about this found here with pictures and videos in Icelandic.
  • New cracks and the ground continues to sink and move in most of areas of Grindavík. This is resulting in more damage to houses and streets in Grindavík town.
  • The harbour area in Grindavík has lowered 30 cm to 40 cm. That was the news two days ago. I think the harbour area continues to sink. This might be a signs of future problems if the ocean manages to flow into this area.
  • Svartsengi volcano continues to inflate at the rate from 10mm to 40mm a day. The last 24 hour inflation was around 40mm. Earlier the inflation had just been 10mm a day. Suggesting a increased flow of magma into Svartsengi volcano.

Something might start to happen around or after 9. December when the sill in Svartsengi is expected to reach the same pressure it was on 10. November when it broke the first time and emptied and created the dyke that formed under Grindavík and the nearby area.

Update on Grindavík for 28. November 2023

This is a short update for Grindavík and nearby area on 28. November 2023. This article is written at 23:22 UTC. This is a short update and information here can go outdated quickly and without warning.

Last few days have been quiet with little or few earthquakes. There have been earthquake swarm activity at times, suggesting that magma is trying to push at faster rate into the crust at Sundhnúkagígar and Sundhnúkar mountain. I don’t know what the current rate of magma inflow is.

Daily information

  • Magma continues to flow into the dyke. I don’t know how fast that rate is.
  • The dyke is wider than originally thought. This means it cools down more slowly. The dyke is widest around Sundhnúkar and Sundhnúkargígar area.
  • Eruption can start without warning in Sundhnúkar or Sundhnúkargígar and that area.
  • New cracks continue to form in Grindavík, along with sink holes and other issues that is creating.
  • Inflation at Svartsengi is around 10mm/day and up to 40mm/day. Currently, the inflation has slowed down to 10mm/day. This can change without warning.
  • Top of Keilir mountain has moved according to the news. I don’t know how much. But this is a displacement.
  • Rocks with the size of mobile homes have moved and rolled down from mountains.
  • Cracks are forming in a wide area around the dyke according to the news. Making it dangerous to travel in the area around Grindavík because of this new cracks in the ground.

The event in Grindavík and nearby area is not over. It is ongoing, this is just a quiet time period that is currently happening. This quiet time period is going to happen frequently in the Reykjanes volcano system. I don’t know why that is the case, this is the reality of what is going on.

Article updated at 23:56. I forgot to add few things.