Earthquake activity in Eyjafjallajökull volcano

In rather unusual activity, there have been earthquakes in Eyjafjallajökull volcano since yesterday (7. June 2023). It started with a small earthquake of magnitude Mw1,1 at 20,5 km depth. Earthquakes are few, so there’s clearly no risk for an eruption at the moment.

Blue, orange and red dot in Eyjafjallajökull volcano that is located west of Katla volcano and Mýrdalsjökull glacier. There are dots and red dots in Katla volcano and over the area in other volcanoes.
Earthquake activity in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It would be highly unusual if Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts now, since it looks like that volcano is on ~200 year cycle when it comes to eruptions and between those cycles it remains quiet with no earthquake activity, or at most few earthquakes each years. This has been true since end of the eruption in 2010 in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. There however is the question is something has changed. I don’t have any answer yet, but this is something to keep an watch for. This might turn out to be nothing, as is the case most times.

Deep earthquakes in root of Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Today (30-June-2016) three earthquakes took place in the root system of Eyjafjallajökull volcano I think. The most depth for those earthquakes was 14,3 km and the most shallow one 1,3 km. The largest magnitude was 1,1 the other two earthquakes had the magnitude of 0,7. Nothing to worry about magnitude wise.

The earthquake activity close to Eyjafjallajökull volcano (three yellow dots). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Eyjafjallajökull volcano extends to this area, however at this area there are no surface craters. If there where they are long lost due to erosion. Unlike many other volcanoes, Eyjafjallajökull volcano does not have an extensive fissure swarm extending outwards for it, that should limit the path the magma can travel in theory. While I am not expecting any type of eruption from Eyjafjallajökull volcano in near future. If this earthquake activity continues I might have to review that outlook. I don’t expect this earthquake activity to continue, since next eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano won’t happen (based on my model) until the year 2199 at the earliest.

It is also question of this earthquake activity belongs to Vestmannaeyjar volcano system. Over the past few years deep earthquakes have been taking place there at regular time. Not many, just one or two at the time.

New study shows that ash cloud in Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsfjall volcanoes eruptions larger then expected

It was reported on Rúv News today about a new study that came out few days ago. In this study according to Rúv News the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull (2010) and Grímsfjall (2011) volcanoes where larger then appeared on satellite images. Meaning the ash could was covering larger area then appeared on images from space. The grain size in this eruptions was also underestimated. The decision to close down the airspace as was done in both eruptions was correct.

More details can be found here.

Rúv News

Viðbrögðin voru hárrétt (Rú, Icelandic, audio in Icelandic)

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Rate of eruptions in Iceland

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There is a common believe that eruptions in Iceland happens in Iceland every 3 to 5 years. According to this believe the next eruption in Iceland should take place around the year 2014 to 2016. The reality of this is far more complex than common believe is in this matters. It is true that eruptions are common in Iceland, but it is not the same to say that eruption happens at regular intervals. For instance the longest break in 20th century since proper documentation of eruptions started was 7 years (Krafla 1984 and then Hekla in 1991). Then there are shorter time periods between eruptions as happened in the year 2011 when no more than three eruptions took place in that year. Two minor ones and one large one. The minor eruptions took place in Grímsfjall volcano (largest eruption in 140 years) and smaller eruptions in Katla volcano (lasted for ~10 hours) and in Hamarinn volcano (~16 hours). Then we had a minor explosion (no eruption) in Kverkfjöll volcano during the summer of 2013 [coverage link on it here and here].

It is not uncommon in Iceland to have several eruption from several volcanoes at the same time or over few month period during the year. It has happened in the history of Iceland and can happen again. It is also not uncommon not to have any eruption in Iceland for a long time and quiet scene last for several years. Currently it is quiet in Iceland but the history has shown that it is not always so. For more details on eruptions in Iceland I reccomend this blog post ( and this overview from Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Blog post updated at 22:10 UTC.
Blog post updated on 10-November-2013 at 23:40 UTC.

Earthquake activity continues in Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Minor earthquake activity has continued since last week in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This earthquake activity is so small that none of the earthquake have had the magnitude of 1,0. This earthquake activity is also shallow, less than 5 km depth. So it’s clearly not magma (at least not new one) that is creating this activity. I am not sure what is creating this activity in Eyjafjallajökull volcano at this point and I might never know.

Minor earthquake activity in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

At current time there is no risk for an eruption from Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Since there is no new magma flowing into the volcano at present time. If you want to watch Eyjafjallajökull volcano you can do so here ( and here ( web cameras.

Earthquake swarm in Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Today (10-October-2013) an minor earthquake swarm took place in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This is the first earthquake swarm in Eyjafjallajökull volcano since the eruption stopped in May-2010 [link, Wikipedia]. This just appears to be an earthquake swarm, currently there are no signs of new magma getting into Eyjafjallajökull volcano. I am uncertain on what is creating this earthquake activity, but this might be old magma starting to move again or just stress changes in the volcano, the reason remains unclear as is. It is also important that this earthquake activity is minor, none of the earthquakes so far has reached the magnitude 2,0. The largest earthquake recorded had the magnitude 1,0 at 4,3 km depth.

Earthquake swarm in Eyjafjallajökull volcano today (10-October-2013). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

There are no signs that any volcano activity is about to take place in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. So far it’s just earthquakes and nothing else. If this is old magma on the move there is a slight chance it might reach the surface via old transport tubes , such events would never be anything more than just minor explosion. It would not be anything like what happened in the year 2010. The only reason why this earthquakes are being detected today is because there is now a dense SIL network around Eyjafjallajökull volcano that measure it’s every earthquake and change that takes place. At the moment I doubt this is going to be anything like what happened in the 19th century eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano [link, wikipedia]. Currently there are no signs of such event is about to take place at current time. There are also no signs that show an imminent or possible eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

I do not expect anything more to happen in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. It might, but I am not expecting anything at this time of writing.

Blog post updated at 23:12 UTC on 10-October-2013.

EasyJet transports one ton of volcano ash from Iceland to UK

The low fair airliner EasyJet has transported one ton of volcano ash from Eyjafjallajökll volcano to UK from Iceland. The propose for doing this is to test jet engines against the volcano ash and too see what type of damage they do, two jets from Airbus are going to be used.

This news was reported by Rúv and can be read here below. It was also reported by ITV in English and that can be found here below.

Tonn af ösku flutt til Bretlands (Rú
Fluttu tonn af ösku frá Íslandi (
Tonne of ash to be used in flight test (ITV News)

More volcano ash in the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull volcano according to a new study

According to an new study into the Eyjafjallajökull volcano ash cloud. It appears that more volcano ash was up in the air then originally estimated. The estimation now is that the amount of volcano ash was around 100 times more then expected during the eruption. This has serious implications to air travel in the future if there is a repeat of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption scenario. But most of Eyjafjallajökull volcano ash was small and fine volcano ash that did stay long time up in the air.

This is the conclusion in a study that was made by Mark Woodhouse (and more people) and is published in Journal of Geophysical Research. Sadly I do not have access to this study (I am too poor to do so). So I an only repeat what the Rúv News is saying about this study.

News and links

Öskufallið var meira en við héldum (Rú, Icelandic)
Journal of Geophysical Research

Picture and video of Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Here is a picture of Eyjafjallajökull volcano that I took in December 2012. This is not a good picture. But that is mostly down to bad weather and strong wind at the time.

Click on the image for full size. This image is released under Creative Commons licence. Please see the CC Licence page for more details on this licence.

Here is a video that I took from this same area. It shows how bad the weather was.

Comparison of volcano eruptions

When there is nothing going on in Iceland. It is good to prepare for the future by checking out what has happened in the past. Here is a comparison of harmonic tremor data from few past eruptions. I only have limited set of data to work with here.

Grímsfjall volcano eruptions 2004 and 2011

Harmonic tremor indicates how strong the eruption is when it is happening. This is clearly visible on the harmonic tremor plots from the Grímsfjall volcano eruptions in the year 2004 and compared to the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano eruption in the year 2011.

Harmonic tremor in Grímsfjall volcano eruption in the year 2004. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

This harmonic tremor plot is from the early start of the eruption. It clearly shows when the eruption starts and how it progressed during it’s first few hours.

Here is the volcano eruption start in Grímsfjall volcano on 23. May 2011. This is the start of the eruption. It clearly shows the difference from the eruption that took place in the year 2004. Both is that starts sharper. But is also a lot more powerful then the eruption in the year 2004. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Eyjafjallajökull volcano and Katla volcano

Sometimes it is useful to compare two eruptions of two different volcanoes. This is useful when you really don’t have anything else to compare with.

Harmonic tremor in Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption back in the year 2010. This is from the second phase of the eruption. But I seems to have misplaced or not saved harmonic tremor data from the first phase of the eruption (at least I cannot find them for the moment). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Harmonic tremor connected to a minor eruption in Katla volcano in July 2011. This eruption was minor. But created a flood that took out a bridge. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Diffrent SIL stations from the same minor eruption in Katla volcano in July 2011. This clearly shows that this minor eruption in Katla volcano was possibly larger then eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano year earlier (2010). But it did not manage to break the ice of Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Past data show and are useful to learn what happens in a volcano. For this reason I now save important information on what is happening in a volcano. So I can compare it with future activity when it takes place.