Strong earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

During the night of 13-February 2021 an earthquake with magnitude of Mw4,0 took place at 02:30 UTC. This earthquake is normal and is because of inflation in Bárðarbunga volcano after the eruption ended in 2015.

Green star shows the location of the magnitude 4,0 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano that is located in north-west part of Vatnajökull glacier.
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There is one of this earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano every few months and last earthquake with magnitude Mw3,9 took place on 21-December-2020 in Bárðarbunga volcano. This type of earthquake activity is going to continue in Bárðarbunga volcano for decades until next eruption happens in 20 to 100 years.

Strong earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (21-December-2020) at 11:38 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,9 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano.


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

This earthquake had two earlier earthquakes with magnitude of Mw2,4 and Mw2,8. Smaller earthquake activity seems to have stopped or happening at slow rate at the writing of this article. Currently Bárðarbunga volcano has an earthquake with magnitude Mw3,0 to Mw5,0 every few weeks since end of the eruption in 2015. This pattern doesn’t seems to be changing.

Increasing hydrothermal activity and ground heat in Bárðarbunga volcano

It was reported in the news in Iceland few days ago that ground heat and hydrothermal activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is increasing and has been doing so for at least few months. Steam has been observed according to the news coming from one of the cauldron that is now in the rim of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera rim. It has also been observed that few areas that have been active for a long time are now expanding in size.

Current risk is large glacier floods from Bárðarbunga volcano as the heat is melting large amounts of glacier in this area and possible damage and danger from those glacier floods. This increase in ground heat suggests that magma is slowly pushing its way up in the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga volcano. It is not possible to know if this is the case in the caldera since that is full of glacier that is ~600 meters thick at the most deepest end. If it wasn’t for Vatnajökull glacier and the pressure it puts in Bárðarbunga volcano there would already be an eruption going on there today. It is only when the magma gets above the pressure of the glacier an eruption can happen and in the eruption of 2014 and 2015 that didn’t happen as the magma found a easier way out by forming a dyke that travelled ~46 km away from the main volcano before an eruption started. This option for the magma might be closed now since dyke like the that formed in 2014 and 2015 eruption normally only erupt once after the magma flow stops.

Icelandic News

Jarðhiti í Bárðarbungu sífellt að aukast (Rúv.is)

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Hard drive problems

I am currently dealing with failing hard drives in my main computer and that makes it really slow. This might slow down my response until Friday when I finally get replacement hard drives. I also had hard drive problems with my main earthquake computer but that issue has been resolved with new hard drives.

Strong earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (27-September-2020) at 00:06 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw4,8 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake is the strongest earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano since April 2020 according to Icelandic Met Office.


Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office. Used with permission.

This earthquake activity suggests that magma might be pushing up at this location but no data for now confirms this. This might just be the caldera pushing up after it dropped 60 meters in 2014 to 2015 eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano. There are no signs of possible eruption and after this earthquake took place there has only been minor earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano and nearby areas.

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Earthquake activity in Hamarinn volcano (Loki-Fögrufjöll)

During the night (15-September-2020) an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,1 took place in Hamarinn volcano (Loki-Fögrufjöll) (part of Bárðarbunga volcano). This earthquake is part of an activity that has been happening in this location for more than a week. It’s unclear what this activity means but it has been recorded that in 2011 few weeks before a minor eruption in volcano there was an increase in earthquake activity before the eruption took place. This earthquake activity is ongoing at the writing of this article.


The earthquake activity in Hamarinn volcano. Green star shows the main active area. Image used with permission and copyright belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

When this earthquake took place there was no change in harmonic tremor on nearby SIL stations. An eruption in Hamarinn volcano don’t seem to require a lot of earthquake activity before it starts. I don’t know why that is but that was the experience in the minor eruption in July 2011.

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Two strong earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano yesterday (14-July-2020)

This article is a bit late because I didn’t have the energy to write it yesterday (14-July-2020).

Two earthquakes with magnitude 3,0 (at 23:41 UTC on 13-Jyly-2020) and a magnitude Mw3,6 (at 00:56 UTC on 14-July-2020). This earthquakes are because Bárðarbunga volcano continue to inflate as it has been doing since the end of the eruption in Holuhraun in February 2015.


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

There were two aftershocks with magnitude of Mw2,5. Other earthquakes that happened were smaller in magnitude. This activity is normal now for Bárðarbunga volcano and no eruption is expected and would require a lot more earthquake activity as was seen during the 2014 August and September start of the eruption from Bárðarbunga volcano.

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (14-June-2020) an earthquake with a magnitude of Mw3,4 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is now the regular and usual earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano and is connected to inflation in the volcano after the 2014 – 2015 eruption in Holuhraun.


Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity is located normally either in the south-east part of the caldera or in the north-east part of the caldera. This earthquake was located in the south-east part of the caldera. More earthquake activity is going to happen in Bárðarbunga volcano in next few months to years and should not be a surprise to anyone.

Magnitude Mw3,5 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano during the night (30-May-2020)

A single earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano at 01:20 UTC. This earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,5 and no other earthquakes took place following this earthquake. This type of earthquake has been followed by stronger earthquake activity later but this is not always the case. This earthquake activity is due to inflation of Bárðarbunga volcano after the eruption in Holuhraun in August 2014 to February 2015. This earthquake was in its normal place in north-east part of Bárðarbunga volcano.


The green star shows the Mw3,5 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This activity is normal and does not signal any eruption risk because after the eruption of 2014 and 2015 it is going to be a while until next eruption happens in Bárðarbunga volcano, probably.

Strong earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano during the night

During the night of 20-April 2020 a magnitude Mw4,8 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This activity is normal and this is the strongest earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano since January 2020 when a magnitude Mw4,8 earthquake took place. Article on that earthquake can be found here.


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

This is how the earthquake was recorded on my geophones.


The earthquake on my first Hvammstangi geophone station.


The earthquake on my second Hvammstangi geophone station.

The traces show that there was a lot of ground displacement in this earthquake. This is due to the inflation taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano and the fact Bárðarbunga volcano collapsed during the 2014 – 2015 eruption in Holuhraun.

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Earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano 15. February 2020

Today (15. February 2020) a magnitude Mw3,6 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. There has not been any earthquake activity in this area since this earthquake took place.


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

This earthquake shows that Bárðarbunga volcano is slowly inflating again after the eruption in Holuhraun 2014 to 2015.

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