Update on the eruption in Sundhnúkagígar on 22. March 2024 at 03:42 UTC

This is a short update on the eruption in Sundhnúkagígar in Svartsengi volcano.

  • The eruption is now the longest eruption in Svartsengi volcano since this eruption cycle started on 18. December 2023.
  • There are five to seven craters erupting at the writing of this article. Bad weather has blocked the view to the eruption site for most of yesterday and today (22. March 2024).
  • The outflow of lava, based on my own estimate (that might be wrong) is that the flow is around 20m3/sec. Its not a lot at the moment and that means the lava flow goes shorter distances.
  • Large lava ponds have formed and those empty regularly, resulting in a fast moving flow of lava going down to any area downhill from the eruption.
  • One person working at the be Blue Lagoon got sick from SO2 poisoning on 20. March 2024. That person did go to a hospital and is now recovering fine, according to the news.
  • A gravel mine got filled with lava yesterday (21. March 2024) when the lava pond broke and emptied it self.
  • Bad weather makes it difficult to monitor the eruption. Next good weather won’t be until Saturday (23. March 2024).
  • Early GPS data however suggest that there is not much of a deflation or inflation happening in Svartsengi volcano. That means the magma is flowing directly to the eruption and making minimal stop on the way to the surface.

This is all for now. Next update is going to be when something new happens. If this eruption is going to last for a long time. I’ll post regular updates on it. But for now, this eruption is just going to continue as is now doing.

Update on the eruption in Sundhnúkagígar (Svartsengi volcano) on 19. March 2024 at 01:21 UTC

This is a short update since there has not been a lot of change in the last twenty four hours.

The eruption is stable at the writing of this article. This might change without warning.

  • Harmonic tremor has been stable in the last 24 hours. With almost no fluctuation.
  • GPS stations around Svartsengi volcano show a deflation around 200 to 300mm at the writing of this article. There’s uncertainty in this data because of bad weather in Iceland.
  • The lava from this eruption has reached 5,85 km2 according to Icelandic Met Office.
  • There is little to no earthquake activity in this area, but measurements might be blocked by bad weather.
  • Crater build up continues in this eruption.
  • The lava is around 350 meters from Suðurstrandarvegi and around 700 meters from reaching out in the ocean.

If there is a change in the eruption. I’ll write about it quickly as I can. Next article should be by 21. March 2024 if the eruption is still ongoing by that date.

Update on the eruption in Sundhnúkagígar (Svartsengi volcano) on 17. March 2024 at 18:28 UTC

This is a short update because I don’t expect a lot to happen in this eruption.

Here are the main details as they are known on 17. March 2024 at 18:28 UTC. This is the best information I have at current time.

  • The eruption has gotten smaller since it started yesterday (16. March 2024 at 20:23 UTC). The fissure is now only erupting in three to four locations.
  • The lava field did reach the barriers that are protecting Grindavík town.
  • This eruption is not slowing down as quickly as earlier eruptions.
  • Harmonic tremor is mostly consistent but is lower than yesterday when the eruption started.
  • The eruption fissure seems to be around 800 meters to 1 km long.
  • There’s a ongoing risk of new fissures opening.
  • Lava flow seems to have slowed down, but that might because it might be collecting in large lava ponds that break and then the lava rushes forward at great speed.
  • Suðurstrandarvegur is at risk of getting buried by a lava flow. If that happens, the risk of the lava reaching the ocean increases, since from the road the distance is only around 500 meters.
  • There’s no signs of this eruption ending on the web cameras.
  • Craters have started forming in the active parts of the fissure.

If anything more happens I’ll post update soon as I can. Normally, an eruption from Svartsengi volcano only last around 1 day. If this eruption goes longer, then next update should be tomorrow or sooner if anything important happens.

Dyke intrusion into Sundhnúkagígar from Svartsengi volcano yesterday (02. March 2024)

Yesterday (02. March 2024) at 15:57 UTC an earthquake swarm started in Sundhnúkagígar, all earthquakes where small in magnitude and around 150 where recorded. This earthquake swarm was as sign of a dyke intrusion that was starting into Sundhnúkagígar. It did not result in a eruption, but might be a sign of where next eruption is going to happen, when it happens. The dyke intrusion ended around 17:57 UTC.

This is a bit early, but it seems that this dyke intrusion moved or changed the rift valley it happened in. This rift valley was created in the dyke intrusion on 10. November 2023 (Icelandic Met Office has a image of it here). It might also have moved the rift valley that was created on 14. January 2024 (image of that rift valley can be found here, its marked with a blue colour). This rift valley situation is making the geology in this area extremely complex and volatile. Since the crust, the top layer is extremely fractured in areas of the rift valley and that makes it easy for the magma to find a path to the surface.

It is impossible to know when next eruption is going to happen. But it is my own estimated that next eruption might happen between 3. March to 5. March. I might be wrong on this, that’s always an possibility.

Increased risk of an eruption in Sundhnúkagígar or nearby area from today (22. February 2024) and until eruption happens

I am sorry for slow updates. All this activity and eruptions keeps me busy with many things. I also needed a little break from writing articles.

According to Icelandic Met Office and what I’ve been seeing on GPS data from around Svartsengi volcano an eruption is expected possibly next week, it might happen earlier or later, there’s no way to be sure on this. But the inflation has reached the same level just before the eruption on 8. February 2024. What is going to happen in next eruption is impossible to know, until the eruption starts. There is ongoing risk that next eruption is going to happen closer to Grindavík town and not in Sundahnúkagígar area as the eruption on 8. February 2024 took place.

At the current rate, there’s going to be an eruption in Sundhnúkagígar area every 30 or so days until something changes. When that happens is impossible to know. This 30 day eruption cycle might go on for a long time, even many years.

Update on the eruption at Sundhnúkagígar at 22:41 UTC on 8. February 2024

This is a short update on the eruption at Sundhnúkagígar.

  • Four hour GPS data shows that inflation has already started in Svartsengi volcano, that is currently erupting. This inflation seems to have started soon as the eruption started to get lower around 13:00 UTC.
  • The lava flow damaged the hot water pipe from Svartsengi power plant and now around 26.000 people on the Reykjanes peninsula are without hot water. There is also some damage to the power infrastructure, but that is minimal and that power has been restored on the power lines that are next to the lava flow. The situation on the cold water is unclear, but it was at risk of damage.
  • This eruption was larger compared to the eruptions on 18. December 2023 and on 14. January 2024.
  • Small ash cloud formed today and the reason for that, according to experts in the news. Was that the eruption in part of the fissured ended so suddenly with a pressure drop that the fissure walls collapsed, allow ground to get in touch with lava and then ground water started to flow on the lava. Resulting in two clouds, one dark and a steam cloud. This was large for an about hour or two. Steam cloud was ongoing at writing of this article, but darkness prevents me from seeing if this has stopped. It is likely though.
  • The eruption is ongoing in two to three craters at the writing of this article.
  • It is expected, based on current rate of how much the eruption is slowing down that it is going to end tomorrow, 9. February or on 10. February.
  • Next eruption is going to be in March around 6th to 18th March if current pattern holds for Svartsengi volcano. There’s nothing to rule out that a new eruption might happen sooner. It is impossible to know what happens next in Svartsengi volcano eruptions.

If anything more happens. I’ll post update soon as I can.

Eruption started in Sundhnúkagígar at 06:02 UTC on 8. February 2024

This morning (08. February 2024) at 06:02 UTC an eruption started close to Sundhnúkagígar, close to the area where the eruption started on 18. December 2023. The eruption fissure is at the writing of this around 3 km long, but the fissure is getting longer, based on views from web cameras.

This eruption is at favourable location. Since its far way at the moment from all buildings and infrastructure. That might change if the fissure stretches more to the south. This eruption started really quickly, according to Rúv, from the start of the earthquake swarm until the eruption started the time was only about 30 minutes. The time this took on 18. December 2023 was 60 minutes.

View of the eruption from Þorbjörn - 2 web camera. The red glow is at the distance.
The eruption at Rúv webcamera from YouTube. Copyright of this image belongs to Rúv ohf.
Red dots and green star along the dyke and the fissure. The earthquake activity goes all the way to the Grindavík town.
Earthquake activity along the fault valley and the dyke. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Earthquake activity in the last 48 hours. Showing increase in small earthquake activity from midnight 00 on Wednesday and until the start of the eruption at 06:00 Thursday.
The earthquake activity over the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I’ll post more information later today when it is clear how this eruption is progressing.

Update on the eruption at Hagafell on 15. January 2024 at 01:14 UTC

This is a short update about ongoing eruption that can change without warning and information here can go out of date quickly.

  • Eruption started close to Hagafell mountain at 07:58 UTC on 14. January 2024. Two fissures opened up.
  • The largest fissure was at its maximum length around 900 meters. The second smaller fissure is around 100 to 200 meters long.
  • The second fissure is almost inside Grindavík town and has lava flowing into the town.
  • Lava flow has destroyed two to three houses at the writing of this article.
  • In the last few hours, the harmonic tremor has dropped. This suggest that the strength of the eruption is getting lower.
  • There’s no power, cold water or hot water in Grindavík town. Lava has destroyed the cold water, hot water and power lines that go into Grindavík town. Repairs are going to take months if Grindavík town is found save to live in after few months.
  • New fissures and displacement happened during the dyke intrusion phase of this eruption. Some areas of Grindavík town moved up to two meters in either direction according to Icelandic Met Office. At this time, accurate measurements have not been done because how unsafe the area is.
  • The eruption is happening alongside the rift valley and not in it. I am not sure why that is.

This is all I have for now. Next update should be on 16. January unless something major happens in this eruption.

Rúv has web cameras on their YouTube channel and same does mbl.is and Vísir news website.

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.