Massive lava cave opens up, results in lava flood down to Nátthagi

Yesterday (15-September-2021) around 11:10 UTC a large lava cave just south of the crater in Geldingadalir had a roof collapse in a small area or a lava breakup in the surface. This resulted in the lava flow down Geldingadalir into Nátthagi. The flow covered Geldingadalir in less than 20 minutes. After that it did reach the barrier that stops it from going into Nátthagakriki, if that happens both walking path A and B are going to get closed forever or having to be redrawn from their current locations. Lava down that path also allows the lava flow to go in the direction of Grindavík town and nearby roads.

The lava flow yesterday did go down into Nátthagi but didn’t get far into there compared with the older lava it was flowing on top of. This sudden lava flow did put people in danger and shows that the lava field is full of dangerous caves that can collapse or burst open at any time without any warning. The lava flow that started yesterday is ongoing best to my knowledge. But the view has been limited due to fog and bad weather in Fagradalsfjall mountain this evening.

One or two idiots where seen walking on the crater rim yesterday and I think this are the same people that Icelandic coast guard had to transport from Gónhóll since they where unable to get back because of the new lava flow that had happened when they where there.

The crater is now ~334 meters above sea level high. Currently the crater is now growing in height but that can change without warning.

Pictures of this new lava flow are on social media. I can’t use them because of copyright but if searched they can be found and viewed. There are also some amount of videos of this lava flow on YouTube.

Fagradalsfjall mountain is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

Update on the Fagradalsfjall mountain eruption on 12-September-2021

This is a late and short update on the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain on 12-September-2021. Fagradalsfjall mountain is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system.

Yesterday (11-September-2021) at around 05:00 the harmonic tremor on SIL stations around Fagradalsfjall mountain started to show an increase in harmonic tremor after a break of 8 days. It took few hours for the magma to reach the crater and lava was visible in the crater around 12:00 UTC.

Harmonic tremor chart in purple (lowest frequency), green (mid range frequency) and blue (highest frequency) that shows in the increasing harmonic tremor by rising at the end of the link up to 6000 units (not defined) at 00:38 Icelandic time.
Increasing harmonic tremor at 00:38 UTC on Fagradalsfjall mountain SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There have been possible new vents been opening up yesterday and today in the lava field. Icelandic Met Office says that this is a lava flow under the old colder lava and is now breaking up and looking like new vents. I don’t know yet if this is accurate, but it is my early assessment that this are new vents and are going to build new crater, at least there is a possibly of crater building if the new vents stay active long enough.

If this are new craters as I suspect, then they are going to change the lava flow quickly and increase the output of the lava flow from what it was. It might soon start to flow down into Nátthagi and other locations that are nearby.

It is a big question if the cycle eruption with no activity for hours has stopped for now. If this has turned back into an eruption that goes in 24 hours a day, that is going to allow the lava field to reach a lot more distance then before.

Askja volcano placed on uncertain level and yellow alert for flight

Because if Askja volcano quick inflation, that is now currently at 7 cm, Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared uncertain level and yellow alert for flight.

Green triangles shows most of the volcanoes in Iceland as green. Only Askja and Grímsfjall are yellow. Krýsuvík volcano is orange in colour.
Current status of volcanoes in Iceland as of 9-September-2021. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Inflation is quick in Askja volcano and is now at 7 cm. When or if that is going to result in an eruption is impossible to know. Current Askja volcano is what remains of a mountain that blew up in an large eruption in the year 1875 century. Most eruptions are just lava flows, unless they happen to start in a water, then explosive activity happens while water remains.

Unconfirmed activity in the area of Keilir in Fagradalsfjall mountain eruption

This is unconfirmed so there might be number of other reasons why this is being observed. This also might be wrong reporting but based on web cameras that might not be the case. There has been some visual view of this on web cameras. Here are two pictures that I was able to screen grab from two of those cameras.

Thermal black and white image showing a bright spot on the centre of the image suggesting a strong heat source.
There is a heat source in this image. Where it is located is currently unclear. Copyright of this image belongs to Míla and Securitas.
Black image showing two light dots. With the dot on the left being a car or some human made noise. While the dot on the right might be a small eruption that is unconfirmed.
The light on the right of this image might be the an unconfirmed eruption. Copyright of this image belongs to Míla.

It is unclear what is going on and this might all be wrong. But I am also seeing this new light source on the web camera from mbl.is on YouTube as it peaks a little from behind the large crater in Fagradalsfjall mountain. That crater is not active at the moment.

I don’t know when confirmation is going to appear. If this is an eruption. If this is not an eruption, then there is going to be a confirmation of that too. I’ll post update here is I learn anything more in the next few hours.

Update 03:07 UTC 7-September-2021

The light on the second picture (on the right) is a human made light. I think it is the lighthouse. What is appearing on the thermal camera has not been identified.

Update 13:36 UTC 7-September-2021

This is wrong reporting that happened here. Nothing happened and what was seen on the thermal camera is most likely the heat from the crater. This type of wrong information happens every once in a while. Currently the main crater remains inactive and sulphur colours have started to appear on him from the sulphur outgassing that is now happening.

Article updated at 03:08 UTC on 7-September-2021

Article update at 13:39 UTC on 7-September-2021

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.