Fewer earthquakes close to Keilir, no eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain for almost one month

Earthquake activity continues close to Keilir mountain. But it remains at depth of 5 to 6 km and doesn’t show any sign that it is about to move to the surface. More than 10000 earthquakes have been recorded and 18 earthquakes have been recorded with magnitude above Mw3,0. This is according to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity close to mountain Keilir marked by a green star close to it of the map on Reykjanes peninsula
Earthquake activity close to Keilir mountain on Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain (more information at Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja website at Global Volcanism Program) has not been active since 19-September-2021 and there are no signs that the eruption is about to restart soon. Global Volcanism Program no longer updates its information for this volcano as an active eruption. Icelandic scientists in eruptions have not declared the eruption over. It should be expected that the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain is over for now, but it can start again at the same location or at new location in few weeks time or maybe even few years from now.

Earthquake swarm in Reykjanes volcano

Yesterday (12-October-2021) an earthquake swarm took place in Reykjanes volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw3,3 and the earthquake swarm was out in the ocean not far from the coastline.

Two green stars out in the ocean shows the location of the earthquake swarm that was happening on Reykjanes ridge in the volcano of Reykjanes. Green star is also close to Keilir volcano that had an activity yesterday also.
Earthquake activity out in the ocean on Reykjanes ridge. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is impossible to know for sure if this earthquake activity is directly connected to magma movements in this area. It is possible, but there have been some sign of magma moving in the crust in this area. The magma is moving but is not erupting or starting an eruption. Earthquake activity seems to be growing in this area of Reykjanes peninsula and Reykjanes ridge after the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain stopped.

Inflation and earthquake activity in Askja volcano

Inflation has been increasing in Askja volcano over the last few weeks. According to latest news that inflation is now at 14 cm, since the inflation was detected at the end of August. On Saturday 9-October-2021 an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,2 was detected in Askja volcano (I’ll try and add the picture later if I remember). This is was the strongest earthquake in Askja volcano in the last 20 years according to the news.

Askja is remote and there are no or limited amounts of web cameras in the area. With winter arriving going there is impossible for most people. If an eruption happens this winter the best view is probably going to be harmonic tremor data until pictures appears from Icelandic Met Office or someone with an air plane (if the weather allows for that).

Ongoing earthquake swarm close to Keilir mountain

The earthquake swarm with Keilir mountain continues today (2-October-2021) and largest earthquake at the writing of this article had a magnitude of Mw4,2. This might change without warning.

Green stars on Reykjanes peninsula close to the mountain Keilir. Shows where the current activity is.
The earthquake activity close to Keilir mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Based on what I am seeing it is my view that magma is the reason why this earthquake activity is happening. The magma seems trapped, based on the earthquake activity and that is interesting. This suggest that the feeder channel, that possibly started at this location has closed up and that is the reason why the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain stopped. At least that is the working idea, if it is true I don’t know.

Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and Icelandic Met Office has warned people against going to Keilir mountain because of risk of volcano eruption or large earthquakes.

It is unclear at the writing of this article if there are changes to hydrothermal activity close to Keilir mountain. There have been reports about it, but they remain unconfirmed at the writing of this article.

There is now a risk of an earthquake with magnitude of Mw6,0 in the area of Keilir mountain. The earthquake activity shows a pattern of high and low activity every few hours. Why this happens is not well understood at the writing of this article.

Update on the Fagradalsfjall mountain eruption on 12-September-2021

This is a late and short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 12-September-2021. Fagradalsfjall mountain is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

Yesterday (11-September-2021) at around 05:00 the harmonic tremor on SIL stations around Fagradalsfjall mountain started to show an increase in harmonic tremor after a break of 8 days. It took few hours for the magma to reach the crater and lava was visible in the crater around 12:00 UTC.

Harmonic tremor chart in purple (lowest frequency), green (mid range frequency) and blue (highest frequency) that shows in the increasing harmonic tremor by rising at the end of the link up to 6000 units (not defined) at 00:38 Icelandic time.
Increasing harmonic tremor at 00:38 UTC on Fagradalsfjall mountain SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There have been possible new vents been opening up yesterday and today in the lava field. Icelandic Met Office says that this is a lava flow under the old colder lava and is now breaking up and looking like new vents. I don’t know yet if this is accurate, but it is my early assessment that this are new vents and are going to build new crater, at least there is a possibly of crater building if the new vents stay active long enough.

If this are new craters as I suspect, then they are going to change the lava flow quickly and increase the output of the lava flow from what it was. It might soon start to flow down into Nátthagi and other locations that are nearby.

It is a big question if the cycle eruption with no activity for hours has stopped for now. If this has turned back into an eruption that goes in 24 hours a day, that is going to allow the lava field to reach a lot more distance then before.

Askja volcano placed on uncertain level and yellow alert for flight

Because if Askja volcano quick inflation, that is now currently at 7 cm, Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared uncertain level and yellow alert for flight.

Green triangles shows most of the volcanoes in Iceland as green. Only Askja and Grímsfjall are yellow. Krýsuvík volcano is orange in colour.
Current status of volcanoes in Iceland as of 9-September-2021. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Inflation is quick in Askja volcano and is now at 7 cm. When or if that is going to result in an eruption is impossible to know. Current Askja volcano is what remains of a mountain that blew up in an large eruption in the year 1875 century. Most eruptions are just lava flows, unless they happen to start in a water, then explosive activity happens while water remains.

Unconfirmed activity in the area of Keilir in Fagradalsfjall mountain eruption

This is unconfirmed so there might be number of other reasons why this is being observed. This also might be wrong reporting but based on web cameras that might not be the case. There has been some visual view of this on web cameras. Here are two pictures that I was able to screen grab from two of those cameras.

Thermal black and white image showing a bright spot on the centre of the image suggesting a strong heat source.
There is a heat source in this image. Where it is located is currently unclear. Copyright of this image belongs to Míla and Securitas.
Black image showing two light dots. With the dot on the left being a car or some human made noise. While the dot on the right might be a small eruption that is unconfirmed.
The light on the right of this image might be the an unconfirmed eruption. Copyright of this image belongs to Míla.

It is unclear what is going on and this might all be wrong. But I am also seeing this new light source on the web camera from mbl.is on YouTube as it peaks a little from behind the large crater in Fagradalsfjall mountain. That crater is not active at the moment.

I don’t know when confirmation is going to appear. If this is an eruption. If this is not an eruption, then there is going to be a confirmation of that too. I’ll post update here is I learn anything more in the next few hours.

Update 03:07 UTC 7-September-2021

The light on the second picture (on the right) is a human made light. I think it is the lighthouse. What is appearing on the thermal camera has not been identified.

Update 13:36 UTC 7-September-2021

This is wrong reporting that happened here. Nothing happened and what was seen on the thermal camera is most likely the heat from the crater. This type of wrong information happens every once in a while. Currently the main crater remains inactive and sulphur colours have started to appear on him from the sulphur outgassing that is now happening.

Article updated at 03:08 UTC on 7-September-2021

Article update at 13:39 UTC on 7-September-2021

Earthquake activity in Esjufjöll volcano

Today (3-September-2021) an small earthquake swarm took place in Esjufjöll volcano. This is the first earthquake activity in a while and suggest that there might be about to start more earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano. Since activity in Esjufjöll volcano seems to result in activity in Öræfajökull volcano. How that works and why is unknown.

Few dots in Vatnajökull galcier close to its border. Showing the earthquake activity in Esjufjöll volcano.
Earthquake activity in Esjufjöll volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Last eruption in Esjufjöll volcano may have happened in the year 1927 but that remains unconfirmed. If that eruption happened, it only lasted for 4 to 5 days at most. This area is covered with a glacier, so any eruption there is going to result in a glacier flood.

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Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 19-August-2021

This is a short update on the five month eruption day in the Fagradalsfjall mountain that is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

  • The eruption continues its strange cycle of not erupting for few hours and erupting for few hours.
  • The consequence of this type of eruption is that the lava doesn’t flow that far from the crater. It just piles up next to the crater making the structure ever higher. I am currently estimating (this is a guess and might be wrong) the crater at 200 meters high (-+ 50 meters).
  • The eruption has now been going on for five months. Holuhraun eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano in 2014 to 2015 lasted for six months.
  • At the writing of this article there are no new craters open but it doesn’t rule out that new crater might have opened but are hidden under the amount of lava that is around the main crater. As there are some extreme large caves in this lava field. Allowing for a lot of space for new crater to form and start erupting unnoticed.

There are no more updates of the eruption at the writing of this article. That might change without warning but I don’t know if that is going to happen.

Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 16-August-2021

This is a short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain that is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

  • New crater has been confirmed in the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain. This crater started to form few days ago. It follows the activity in the largest crater and remains inactive during the time period when there is no activity in the large crater.
  • This new crater is going to change lava flows in the eruption and restart lava flows in the south-Meradalir and Geldingadalir.
  • Current the new crater is building up. It is on the larger crater rim and might be unstable and collapse are likely to happen.
  • Formation of new craters following the formation of this crater is likely. When and where new craters form is impossible to know in advance.
  • It is a question if this is a new phase of the eruption. I currently don’t have an answer.
  • The new crater is visible on all the web cameras.

Fog has been blocking the view of the eruption today and I expect that is going to be the case tomorrow (17-August-2021) and maybe next few days. This fog makes it difficult to see what is going in the eruption.