Today (14. February 2023) at 01:24 UTC an earthquake swarm started around 70 to 90 km north of Kolbeinsey island. It might be in Kolbeinsey island. Largest earthquakes recorded at the writing of this article had a magnitude of Mw3,5 according to Icelandic Met Office. EMSC is reporting two earthquakes with magnitude of mb4,5 at the writing of this article.
Distance from land makes it difficult for the SIL network that Icelandic Met Office runs to detect the smallest earthquakes. This means there can be a lot more going on that appears on earthquake maps. There’s always a chance of stronger earthquakes in this area north of Iceland.
Update Update at 16:50 UTC on 14. February 2023
Icelandic Met Office has finished reviewing the earthquake activity north of Kolbeinsey and around eight earthquakes with magnitude above Mw3,0 took place. Largest earthquake had a magnitude of mb4,6 according to EMSC. Information about that earthquake can be found here.
This earthquake activity appears to be over, but distance from seismic detection networks in Iceland prevents detection of smaller earthquakes that might be happening at this location.
Today (22-November-2022) an earthquake swarm took place in Kolbeinsey island. This is far north of Grímsey island. Largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,1 and total of four of those earthquakes happened. More than dozen smaller earthquakes have happened. Because how far this activity is from Icelandic Met Office SIL network only the largest earthquakes are being measured.
What is going on is unclear. This might just be normal tectonic activity for this area. There is only poor monitoring of this area since its out in the ocean and remote.
This morning (5-March-2022) an earthquake swarm started north of Kolbeinsey island. Three earthquakes with magnitude above Mw3,0 took place in this swarm and there where few smaller earthquakes recorded. Because of distance from the SIL network only the strongest earthquakes have been detected.
The strongest earthquakes with magnitude of Mw3,1 and Mw3,2. There is still a chance of stronger earthquakes in this area. It is unclear what is going on because this area is remote and under the ocean. If an eruption happens at this location there is a chance it won’t be noticed or just noticed on SIL seismometers.
Early morning (14-April-2021) an earthquake swarm took place far north of Kolbeinsey island. Largest recorded earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,5 but it possibly was larger but because of distance from the SIL network the magnitude is underestimated. I did record this earthquake on my only seismometers and it showed a lot of surface wave activity, suggesting a larger magnitude than Mw3,5.
Because of remote location of this earthquake swarm it is not possible to know what is going on there. The area is also under an ocean that is 2 to 4 km deep at this location. If anything happens it is not going to be noticed outside of being detected with seismometers.
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Yesterday (24-January-2021) at 09:16 UTC an earthquake with magnitude Mw3,1 took place in Kolbeinsey island. Two unconfirmed earthquakes with magnitude of Mw2,5 and Mw2,6 took place at 17:37 UTC and 19:06 UTC.
The area is remote and it is difficult to know if there has been any more earthquake activity there. There is also a storm going on and has been going on for last several days and that limits detection of small and remote earthquakes in Iceland.
Yesterday (22-May-2019) at 15:47 UTC a magnitude 3,4 earthquake took place around 12 km north of Kolbeinsey Island. This earthquake was part of a small swarm in this area yesterday. It appears to be over but there is a risk of more activity in this area. Due to distance from the coastline and next populated island this earthquake was not felt.
Earthquake north of Kolbeinsey island (green star north of Iceland). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Earthquake swarms happen in this area frequently. This is not part of the TFZ but borders it just a little south of this earthquake activity.
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I have added a personal note on what is going on with me in the comments. It explains why I changed my mind on moving back to Denmark and other issues that I’ve been dealing with in recent months.
Updated at 13:45 UTC. Added updated information about bank donations. Updated at 14:11 UTC. Added updated information about bank donations.
Yesterday (8-September-2018) there was a strong earthquake swarm 88 to 90 km north of Kolbeinsey Island. Due to distance from the SIL network it is impossible to know how large and strong this earthquake swarm actually was. Largest earthquake reported by Icelandic Met Office had a magnitude of 3,3. Total of ten earthquakes with magnitude 3,0 or larger happened during this earthquake swarm.
Earthquake activity north of Kolbeinsey Island (green stars). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Total around 30 earthquakes were detected but it can be assumed that total number of earthquakes might have been higher. At the distance from the SIL network smaller earthquakes are not detected. It is not possible to know for sure what is happening at this location due to distance from the coast and the SIL network.
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Today (Sunday 08-October-2017) a minor earthquake swarm took place in Kolbeinsey Island. Only three earthquakes where detected, but that does not rule out that more earthquakes happened but where not detected due to distance from land and the SIL network.
The earthquake activity is marked by the green star to the north on this image. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Largest earthquake detected had the magnitude of 3,1 and the second largest earthquake detected had a magnitude of 2,1. Since 10:33 UTC this morning, that lack of activity does not rule out more activity in next few days.
New SIL station
I did see in the news today that Icelandic Met Office has added a new SIL station at Bjarnarey Island. This increases the earthquake resolution for Vestmannaeyjar area along with improving earthquake detection in Katla volcano and making it possible to detect small earthquakes deeper south of Iceland.
Yesterday (24-May-2017) and today (during the night of 25-May-2017) there was an earthquake swarm in Kolbeinsey island. Largest earthquakes had the magnitude of 3,6 (x2) and one magnitude 3,5 earthquake took place. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. No harmonic tremor where detected during this activity, that does not rule out that this activity is due to dyke intrusion taking place in Kolbeinsey island. It just didn’t reach the surface this time. Kolbeinsey island is far away from the SIL network, with the closest station being in Grímsey island (~25 km) with other SIL station at ~60 km distance. If an eruption starts in Kolbeinsey Island, a harmonic tremor signal is going to appear in Grímsey island SIL station.
Green star mark the area where the earthquake swarm took place in Kolbeinsey island. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Last eruption in this area took place in the year 1755, but that eruption might not actually have been in Kolbeinsey Island, but in a other unnamed volcano north of it (where is not known). Last confirmed eruption in Kolbeinsey island took place in the year 1372, it was closer to land somewhere north-west of Grímsey island (suggesting that fissure swarm of Kolbeinsey island comes close to Grímsey island).
At the moment the activity has quieted down and no earthquakes are being detected by the SIL network.
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During the night of 26-March-2017 there was an strong earthquake swarm about 80 km north of Kolbeinsey Island. This is around 250 km from the coast in north Iceland. It is not clear what is happening in this location, since this area has been seeing higher than usual earthquake activity in recent months. This is the largest earthquake swarm so far to take place.
The earthquake swarm as it appears on Icelandic Met Office maps. Green stars are earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Largest earthquakes in this swarm had the following magnitudes. Magnitude 4,6 (EMSC Information here), magnitude 5,0 (EMSC information here), magnitude 4,8 (EMSC information here). The largest earthquakes where not felt due to distance from the coast. It is not possible due to distance to see if there is an eruption taking place at this location. All harmonic tremor get lost due to distance from nearest SIL station. A really large eruption might slightly appear on tremor plot on Icelandic Met Office website, at the moment that has not happened.
The magnitude 5,0 earthquake as it appeared on my geophone in Böðvarshólar. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, please see CC licence for more details.
The magnitude 5,0 earthquake as it appeared on my geophone in Heklubyggð. This image is under Creative Commons Licence, please see CC licence for more details.
It is difficult to know if an earthquake activity is continuing in this area or not. Since the distance from nearest SIL stations does not allow for micro-earthquakes to be detected properly or at all.
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