Earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

Sorry for the late article. I’ve been dealing with technical problems in my mobile phone all day and delayed a lot of things for me.

Yesterday (29-April-2021) an earthquake swarm started in Hengill volcano. This earthquake swarm appears to be tectonic in nature. Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw3,8 and was felt in Reykjavík.

Far left on image is a green star that shows the earthquake activity in Hengill volcano
Earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity looks tectonic in nature and there are no signs that the reason for this earthquake swarm is anything but tectonic stress adjustments for now. I always expect more and stronger earthquakes swarm when cold volcanoes (not erupted for a long time) starts to get warm as was the case before the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain when up to 50.000 earthquakes took place from 27th February until 19th March when the eruption started.

Earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

This evening (15-november-2020) an earthquake swarm started in Hengill volcano. It is unclear if this earthquake swarm is because of water injection in this area of just normal earthquake swarm.


The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude Mw3,3 currently. This earthquake swarm might be ongoing even if it seems to have stopped at the writing of this article. The largest earthquake was felt in Reykjavík, Hveragerði, Selfoss and other nearby towns.

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Minor earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

Today (11-September-2019) at 09:42 UTC a magnitude 3,0 earthquake took place in Hengill volcano. The largest earthquake was felt in Hveragerði village. They also felt a minor magnitude Mw1,7 that happened at 05:22 UTC. The reason why that earthquake was felt is because it took place inside the town under some person house (or close to someone house).


The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano today (11-September-2019). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity is a regular feature in this area.

Magnitude 4,4 earthquake in Hengill volcano (tectonic earthquake)

During the night of 30-December-2018 at 02:54 UTC an magnitude 4,4 earthquake took place in Hengill volcano. This earthquake was felt over a wide area. Largest aftershock had a magnitude of 2,2 so far.


The earthquake (green star) in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


The earthquake as it appeared on Heklubyggð geophone station. This image is under Creative commons licence. See CC Licence website for more information.


The earthquake as it appeared in Böðvarshólar geophone station. This image is under Creative commons licence. See CC Licence website for more information.

The earthquake swarm is ongoing as of writing of this article. It is not possible to know what is going to happen in next few hours in this area. Risk of more earthquake is always present. This earthquake activity is tectonic in nature.

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Minor earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano (Raufarhólshellir cave)

Since yesterday (01-Maí-2018) has been a minor earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano in area of Raufarhólshellir cave. Largest earthquake had a magnitude of 2,9 (at 03:46 UTC) and all other earthquakes that happened were smaller in magnitude. Most common magnitude was 0,3 but few magnitude 1,0 earthquake also happened.


The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm seems to be in a location that might had a dike injection in the years 1995 – 1998 (I don’t have older data). Data from 1995 and until today can be viewed here (this website is in Icelandic). Since 2000 SISZ earthquakes this area has been quiet and I guess this area is mostly going to be quiet besides this minor earthquake swarms that are currently happening.

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Article updated at 23:18 UTC. Minor year fixes.

Magnitude 3,2 earthquake in Hengill volcano

Today (22-February-2018) at 09:50 UTC a magnitude 3,2 earthquake took place in Hengill volcano.


The earthquake activity in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity doesn’t suggest anything and appears to be just normal tectonic activity in this area.

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Earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

At 05:36 UTC a earthquake swarm started in Hengill volcano. Several dozen earthquakes took place and the largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,4 and the second largest had a magnitude of 3,0. All other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.


The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm appears to have been tectonic in nature and ended at 05:57 UTC. The largest earthquake was felt in Reykjavík, Hveragerði and Selfoss.

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The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

On the 4th of January 2017 a earthquake swarm took place in Hengill volcano. Largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,7 and the second earthquake had the magnitude of 2,8. The largest earthquakes where felt in Reykjavík, Hveragerði and Selfoss towns (mostly). In total of 150 earthquakes took place in this earthquake swarm.


The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano from 4th of January 2017. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm was due to a process called rifting, this means that where the earthquake swarm is happening the ground is dropping and cracking at the same time. This over time forms a rift valley (like Þingvellir). The area from Hveravellir and south into the ocean of the Reykjanes ridge is all just one big rift valley. Far as I know a period of high earthquake activity can happen in this area, last time this happened sometimes around the middle of 19th century with possible activity sometimes in the 20th (early) century. Since then it has been mostly quiet.

In the year 1789 (source in Icelandic, 1973) the area around Þingvallavatn lake dropped around 63 cm (that estimate is not accurate and it is estimated that it was far more) in a earthquake swarm. When this is going to happen next time is impossible to know.

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The earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

For the past two days swarm of earthquakes have been taking place in Hengill volcano. Looking at the earthquake swarm it might look like something was about to happen in this volcano. The fact is however that nothing is happening in the volcano, this earthquake swarm is entirely human made. Largest earthquakes so far have had the magnitude of 3,0 (x2), 3,2 (x1), 3,6 (x1). Over 300 earthquakes in total have happened so far, most less than magnitude 1,0 few dozen above magnitude 2,0.

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The earthquake swarm as it was at 19:20 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Source of this activity is water pumping into the ground. The hydro-thermal electric plant (it also serves hot water to Reykjavík area and other towns nearby) does that with unwanted waste water, since that water is full of toxic chemicals. The hot water used in hot taps and showers in Reykjavík now is warmed up cold water (they use thermal exchangers to do this, some houses have this unit installed inside the house).

This earthquake swarm is currently on-going and if anything major happens I will update this article.

Weather warning for Thursday 22-September-2016

It appears that a strong low pressure system is on its way to Iceland and is going to at the south coast on 22-September-2016. I don’t have a exact time at the moment. This might the first real storm in Iceland this fall. More weather details are going to appear tomorrow as the forecast gets better.

Warning of man made earthquakes in Hengill volcano

Almannavarnir put out a warning yesterday (19-May-2015) about increased risk of man made earthquakes in Hengill volcano. This happens when a water is pumped down into the ground it changes the pressure in the rock and creating earthquakes as a consequence. There is a risk of earthquakes with magnitudes up to 4,5 or larger. The first pumping down of this leftover water is expected to end by 19-June-2015.

Icelandic News about this

Vara við jarðskjálftum á Hengilssvæðinu (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Niðurdæling vegna hitamengunar að hefjast (Rúv.is, Icelandic)