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.

Askja volcano started inflating in August 2021

Icelandic Met Office published the news today that Askja volcano has started to inflate.  This inflation started in August 2021 and has been measured at 5 cm a month. The inflation is happening just outside the Askja lake in area known as Ólafsgígar (Ólaf craters).

Inflation map of Askja volcano. Triangle in the centre of Askja volcano caldera show the location of the inflation in red to blue colour.
Inflation in Askja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is impossible to know if this is going to result in any eruption. This inflation however seems to have resulted in earthquake activity in Askja volcano. Most of the earthquakes so far have been minor in magnitude.

Inflation map of Askja volcano. It show displacements in north - south and east - west directions and up displacement of 5 cm
Inflation in Askja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Icelandic Met Office announcement

Land rís við Öskju (Icelandic)

Uplift signal detected in Askja volcano

Icelandic News

Grannt fylgst með landrisi við Öskju (Rúv.is)

Landris við Öskju í fyrsta sinn í áratugi (mbl.is)

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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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Minor earthquake swarm in Tjörnes Fracture Zone yesterday (30-August-2021)

Yesterday (30-August-2021) an small earthquake swarm took place east of Grímsey island in Tjörnes Fracture Zone. Two largest earthquakes had a magnitude of Mw3,2.

Earthquake swarm east of Grímsey island. Two green stars on top of each other.
Earthquakes east of Grímsey island. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm seems to have stopped for now. This area has frequent earthquake swarms and activity in this area of Tjörnes Fracture Zone might start again without warning.

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.

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano

Today (14-August-2021) an earthquake with magnitude Mw3,1 took place in Katla volcano. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.

Green star in the Katla volcano caldera along with dots showing smaller earthquakes that are spread in the caldera. Showing location of smaller earthquakes that have happened in last few days.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity appears to be normal late summer activity in Katla volcano. There was a minor increase in conductivity in nearby glacier rivers in last few days, that suggests that cauldrons have been emptying their water this summer. This is normal and happens almost every summer due to glacier melt.

Earthquake activity on the Reykjanes ridge

Yesterday (11-August-2021) there was a earthquake swarm on Reykjanes ridge. This earthquake swarm was not felt because of distance from the coastline.

Few green stars in the far left corner of the Reykjanes ridge along with few red dots. Image is from 11-August-2021
Earthquake activity on Reykjanes ridge. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of mb4,4 according to EMSC. Information about this earthquake can be found here. The distance from the SIL network made it difficult to know when this earthquake swarm started and stopped.

It is unclear if this part of the activity period that Reykjanes peninsula and Reykjanes ridge is now entering and is going to last for few centuries.

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Update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 10-August-2021

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

  • The eruption continues as before with few hours of eruption and few hours of no activity. (This is my personal view of the situation) Each event is an active eruption as it would happen with any other volcano. The time between eruptions now is just shorter than in any volcano in Iceland. Its hours, not decades between eruption. I don’t know why this is happening like this.
  • Cracks have appeared in the viewing area hill closest to the erupting crater. Why this is happening is unclear. There are two explanations for this. The first one is that this are tension cracks because of the eruption and lava flows nearby to this hill . The second explanation is that this is deformation cracks because magma is about to start erupting in this part of the hill. Formation of new cracks was observed early on in the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain few days before an eruption started in that area.
  • There is now slightly less lava flowing from the crater. Current flow is up to 9m3/sec according to latest reports about the lava flow. This studies are done by Earth Science of University of Iceland and Icelandic Metrology Office.

This eruption remains small. Currently it is even smaller than Hekla volcano 2000 eruption that was the smallest eruption in Hekla in recorded history (according to the news). While the eruption remains this small the lava is not going to flow far or is going to do so slowly. Most of the lava is just going to build up next to the crater and next nearby area.

People continue to walk out in the lava and that is extremely dangerous. The lava field, where it is deep enough has large caves full of 1100C hot lava and if the roof breaks and people fall into it there is no saving anyone from this. Just break in the lava field crust allows for lava flows to break out with same deadly consequences.

Unconfirmed report about ash cloud off the coast of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano (Krísuvíkurberg)

This is possible mistaken reporting. There have been reporting of ash clouds or steam clouds off the coast during the evening of 7-August-2021. This would be in the volcano system Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja.

The ash cloud or steam cloud would indicate an activity off the coastline or possible eruption activity in the ocean. Explosive events like that appear a lot more clearly as harmonic tremor on SIL stations and according to news reports nothing has been seen so far in the harmonic tremor data. There have been no earthquake activity in the area where the clouds are supposed to have been seen.

The coast guard has been sent to this area, as they where nearby anyway. I don’t know if anything has been reported so far. The weather is fine in south Iceland and I don’t think there is a lot of ocean waves, but as this is the Atlantic ocean there can be ocean waves even if there is no wind, since the ocean waves can arrive from parts of the ocean with bad weather thousands of kilometres away.

If anything new is reported I am going to update this article or write a new one.