Everything has gone quiet again in Iceland

After the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano last week everything has gone quiet again in Iceland. Earthquake activity is currently low and all earthquake activity in volcanoes remains low at current time.

Because of that I am going to take me an little break until I move to Iceland. Unless something of interest happens in Iceland. Part of this time I am going to in the sun here in Denmark and check out the beautiful ladies that populate Denmark (if you are offended by this, then I am sorry for you). 🙂

For those how want to know about my money status. June is going to be rather broke-ish. So all supported is welcomed. But I am not going to request it specially as I have done before. Thanks for the support all. 🙂

116 Replies to “Everything has gone quiet again in Iceland”

  1. I was just looking at the Grimsvotn webcam again 12:32 local time and it bouncing around like it set on springs. Surely thus can’t be just wind, I know it can very windy but it is a sunny day and the clouds don;t appear to be moving fast. I will look at tremor plots over the next hour to see if any EQ activity might also explain the jumping around of the camera. Its either that or the camera is on loose mountings. Perhaps the Mila staff should be looking at it and giving a better setup and shelter.

    Still looking for a screen grab from this camera of the recent eruption, so if anyone has one to share, will be most appreciated.

      1. Current weather report says only about 6 m/s for this area, I think the camera must be loose as I can see no recent eq activity and it was really bouncing around about 12:30 today, not just a regular shudder.

  2. Be careful with statements like this. Last you did this, Grímsvötn erupted shortly after 🙂

  3. The camera in Grimsvötn looks to be jumping more and more. So (most likely) it is loose or there is something else going on. The tremor plot of Grimsfjall doesn’t help a lot…

    One thing i have been wondering: The tremor in Krisuvik. It was very “sharp” movement before Grimsfjall eruption and again after it. Does this has something to do with the background noise and the seismographs or what? And what is going on in Krisuvik?

  4. Did somebody pick up the tremor measurement equipment in Vatnajokull? A median filtered tremor of 27000000 nm/s!!

    1. Hey….

      Yeah saw the charts… what on earth is going on over there.. it looks on paper as if someone has been having a bit of a nightmare and is about to throw off the bedcovers again …. That chart doesnt indicate that it is all over and there is nothing to see ??

    2. I think that somebody did pick up the seismometer at Grímsfjall volcano. It might have gotten damaged after the eruption. At least that is an possibility.

  5. Since there’s nothing to talk about right now, I’d like to ask if anyone has any good detailed maps of the Yellowstone area.
    For my final profile research for highschool I’m going to make a 3D maquette of this area, along with a paper and some dynamic models of geological features in this area (such as geysers).

    I’m primarely in need for a good detailed map of this area, but I’m also very interested in any good information/ideas about dynamic models and maquette-building.
    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. From my experience, if we start talking about Yellowstone, the risk of it erupting climbs steadily. Actually, its been proven that if you start looking at the map of a caldera and watching the various data points, the volcano gods sense this and beging to stimulate the volcano. Next thing you know, purple pickles start showing up on the sides of the volcano and all hell breaks loose.

      1. The volcano has been deflating for a year now, so the recent unrest that has been going on since 2006 seems to be false alarm for now.

    2. Not what you are looking for… but you might find this handy.


      It’s a cross sectional plot of Yellowstone quakes less than 5 km deep, looking north.

      Why is it interesting? Notice the disproportionately large number of quakes occurring around 2 to 2.5 km down. This is the region where the hydrostatic pressure of the water crosses the critical point. Below this level, water and steam are indistinguishable no matter what temperature it is.

      I can’t prove it… but what you see in the plot is likely related to that transition in pressure as the water flashes to steam. The rest of them are normal Yellowstone quakes.

      And a plot of the same data, plan view, different color coding in order to emphasize deep vs shallow quakes.


      If I remember correctly, the magma chamber lies between 8 to 12 km deep.

    3. Also… just because a quake happens below 8 km, it probably isn’t in the actual mush zone (magma chamber). In that area, it is highly likely that the crust is too plastic to generate a quake. That’s why the deep quakes tend to skirt the periphery of the actual magma chamber. The rock is hard enough to actually fracture and generate a quake.

      In those plots.. just remember that that is 1973 to 2011 data.

      1. Thanks for the beautiful plots and info! Surely going to use them! 🙂

      2. BTW…. if you want me to cut a cross section at a specific latitude or longitude somewhere in that area, let me know.

  6. Like this part of your blog Jon: “I am going to in the sun here in Denmark and check out the beautiful ladies that populate Denmark (if you are offended by this, then I am sorry for you). 🙂 ” There’s nothing wrong in checking out beautiful Scandinavian ladies, you’ve more than earnt it! 🙂

  7. You are better off in Iceland Jon, it is where the action is after all. The world needs you there in my opinion.
    In my experience the very nicest looking girls are not necessarily the nicest people, be careful whilst having fun lol
    Good luck with the move.

    1. “In my experience the very nicest looking girls are not necessarily the nicest people” Very true Rustynailer.

    2. It does not matter where I am in regards to the volcanoes. But I currently highly doubt that I am going to live my life out in Iceland, even if I am going to move there currently.

      I plan to move back to Denmark (then to Copenhagen) when I have the income to support it. But I hope to have that in about two to three years time or so. Or no later when I am done with school in Iceland.

      Looks are not an good measurement on how people are. There behaviour is, however.

  8. Saturday
    04.06.2011 16:28:22 64.388 -17.234 14.8 km 1.1 43.76 2.6 km SE of Grímsfjall
    04.06.2011 16:28:20 64.262 -17.048 3.5 km 1.8 99.0 19.2 km SE of Grímsfjall

    1. I find this highly unusual location for earthquakes. Since this did start soon after the large eruption in Grímsfjall volcano.

      1. I just heard on the news that the eruption was classified as VEI 6! That is about the same size as the Pinatubo eruption. Can anyone confirm this?

      2. The latest news I heard is about a 10km high plume, that is by far not large enough for a VEI6, that’s even hardly a VEI4, I’d rather say it’s VEI3 so far, but that’s just a guess as this eruption is developping.

      3. It’s probably going to go in the record books as a VEI-4


        This is a plot of the running total DRE based off of the VAAC reported plume heights.

        The formula (from “A multidisciplinary effort to assign realistic source parameters to models of volcanic ash-cloud transport and dispersion during eruptions” L.G. Mastin et al) has an accuracy of about four, either high or low. 1 x 10^8 cubic meters would put it in VEI-4 territory.

  9. Has anyone noticed the slight increase in earthquakes beneath Theistareykjarbunga? They all seem to be located at approximately 4-5km depth which would be strange if it’s purely tectonic. (also, all earthquakes happen at exactly the same spot, at the top of the volcano)

  10. Pieter,
    I agree, it seems to be a large eruption but at the moment I can’t see any reason for a VEI 6.

    The ash cloud is currently reaching FL450 (ok, that’s more than 10.000 meters) and extends to an area 700 NM away from the summit.

    I believe that some journalists mixed up the alert level and the VEI. Because a few hours ago the alert level was raised to 6. But this mainly effects the evacuation radius and such things.

  11. Seems VEI3, like Eyjafjallajokull eruption at the beginning. If this goes for a couple of weeks, the amount of material released could make it to VEI4. But so far the Chilean eruption has a plume well lower than that of Grimsvotn two weeks ago.

  12. There is some enhanced tectonic activity in South Iceland, all the way from Selfoss to Hekla. Also a minor earthquake swarm at Katla, but most quakes there have been very small.

  13. check out webcam of katla..its a weird cloud..looks almost like steam? and the quakes are in the same area.

    1. I see what you mean JEC. I’ve been watching this for the last 5-10 minutes and it does look like steam coming up. I think it’s a case of keep watching.

    2. JEC:
      It does look like a steam plume and you can also see some ash falling! But it could be ashes from Eyjaf-Grimsvötn being remobilized by winds. I don’t think an eruption is likely at this point.

      1. OK. Whatever it was, it is no longer there. But I could clearly see some ash particles flying horizontally respect to the cam, which means that there is still some ash from Grimsvötn bringing trouble to the southern regions.

      2. Wind at the moment NorthNorthEasterly 12 meters pr sec so this is “travelling old ash”

  14. Lurking (and residents of Calif). There were 2 back to back 3.1 quakes on the San Andreas at the Big Bend early Sunday AM. I haven’t seen anything around a 3 along the sourthern portion of the SAF in quite some time. There have been a noticable increase in quakes near the Big Bend in the last several weeks.

    UPDATE: they removed one of the 3.1

  15. So far, no increase in tremors on the graph at Katla. That’s good.

    1. Believe me, a few magnitude >1 earthquakes is not going to start an eruption. It is an interesting development though.

      1. Yeah, I believe you. I just thought it was bit of an interesting swarm, though.

      2. That’s for sure, this is the second ‘swarm’ in this area I’ve seen since the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010. The other one was about 2 weeks ago (?). Certainly interesting, as I believe hydrothermal features or ice movements are unable to cause these swarms, especially considering the depth.

      3. Wait until the IMO reviews them, and then we’ll talk about a swarm or not.

  16. Sunday
    05.06.2011 17:44:03 66.572 -17.830 13.1 km 3.1 90.02 8.6 km ENE of Grímsey

    where is that? anything to be worried about?

    1. Fiona:
      That’s at Tjörnes fracture Zone in Northern Iceland. It can get very busy there and these magnitudes are common in all that region.

  17. i agree about katla i saw it also and it has been showing a lot of tremors in this region. Lets just watch and see over the next while

  18. I am sorry for lack of updates. I have now moved back to Iceland (for the next 4 to 5 years at maximum) and that has kept me busy.

    1. Monday
      06.06.2011 13:46:50 63.629 -19.196 2.2 km 2.1 99.0 2.9 km ESE of Goðabunga

      Another Katla EQ,

    2. I’m not exactly sure, but it looks like tremors are starting to slowly increase at the GRF station.

    3. The inflation rate is about 50-60 cm/year which is very fast.

    1. That is so cool!!! Great photo. Would that fill in or will the heat stop that from happening?

    1 minute ago – Ban – Delete http://www.ustream.tv/channel/c5n

    Hornopirén is a stratovolcano located in the Andes, in Los Lagos Region of Chile, south of Yate Volcano and east of Apagado or Hualiaque pyroclastic cone. Hornopirén lies on the major regional Liquine-Ofqui Fault. The volcano is said to have erupted in 1835, although no details are known. The name of the volcano derives from the Spanish word for oven, horno and the native Mapudungun word for snow pirén, thus Hornopirén means snow oven.

    Anyone knows about this? How can we confirm if this volcano is erupting?

  20. Monday
    06.06.2011 20:47:20 64.481 -17.261 1.1 km 2.0 90.01 8.5 km N of Grímsfjall
    06.06.2011 17:47:28 64.297 -17.159 7.2 km 1.5 45.67 13.1 km SSE of Grímsfjall
    Is there anything going on with Grímsfjall or just normal “recovery”?

    1. Normally after an eruption in Grímsfjall volcano the earthquakes stop. This has not been the case now and I do not know why.

      What is going on at the moment is something that I do not fully understand.

  21. i’ve got a question:

    i’m wondering if somebody else is wondering about these small but recurring quakes on the southern flank of Katla. is there some kind of human influence in this? or is there some kind of a hidden fault? i’m just curious, because i haven’t seen quakes in this area last year – it just came to my eyes that during the last few weeks there very a few of those events. sometimes pretty weak, but well localised. also, what do you think about this cluster in the western half of the katla caldera? could that be related to some kind of geothermal activity or maybe some heating up (the last two swarms east of godabunga)`?

    1. @Stefan:
      My only explanation as for why they have not been there before is the fact that the monitoring system was largely improved in Iceland with the aid of British Gov (ash concerns).
      But there might as well be something cooking in there…

      1. Give that man a cee gar.

        Good call Renato. I had forgotten about that.

      2. Is it really that simple to point to that one variable?

        Could these have been picked up by the legacy system?

        Also, since and despite the UK install, I have anecdotally seen a very noticable increase in quakes both in their numbers, their depth and their magnitude. Of course, some buy like Lurking will come along and plot the data and prove me wrong…what the hell do I know

      3. Add > (grin) which the web server took out of my comment above. Dont enclose comments in left or right caret as they get removed.

      4. Actually… that would be pretty easy to determine with enough data. I’ve explored this when looking for “technology skew.”

        The way it is done is to plot the number of quakes over time and look for pronounced slope changes. I hadn’t thought that there was enough time (samples) for it to show up.

      5. That makes sense, but what i find even more interesting is, that since the new monitoring equipment is in place, the quality of the monitored events is often much faster improved. (90%+)

        Could it be that the new equipment at first hand improves the localisation of those events and as a byproduct the magnitude can be calucalted better.

        so before the new equipment was in place, the events were detected, but not well localised and the quality often was pretty low. or do i remember things wrongly, that since a few months, the quality of the detected events has significantly improved?

  22. Alright, Google Adsense did not let me change the country from Denmark to something else (I have Danish bank account, so that is not an problem). So I did just resubmit my application to it. This means that Google Adsense ads are going start appearing if my application gets approved by Google Adsense.

  23. There is an earthquake swarm Southwest of Langjökull. This has been the case some time in the winter (I don´t remember the exact time). Maybe Jon remembers it and might know if it´s just tectonic or somehow volcano-related.

  24. @Renato Rio,

    have you seen any reports which states the volume of ash output coming out of the Puyehue Volcano. As far as I can tell it has been spewing out continuously for three days now at a rapid rate.

  25. I guess these swarms are at the Prestahnukur volcano?

    Jon do you think they are magmatic in origin and are there any other indications of this volcano coming to life?

  26. The earthquake swarm in Langjökull volcano looks tectonic in nature at current time. This area is known for a lot of earthquake activity.

  27. Is the Krysuvik swarm just a coincidence? Or could these areas be related through the Hengill fault system?

  28. Please note that the paypal buttons are gone since I am going to close down my current Paypal account.

    I am going to open up an new paypal account soon.

    The reason I do this is because the credit card system here in Iceland has gotten so complex and strange that I don’t understand it. That is just odd, since I am really good with really complex systems. But this is just way over my top and the credit card system here in Iceland has gone too strange for my taste.

    My new Paypal account is going to be connected with my danish bank card. That is going to be less of an problem for me.

    I am going to write about the earthquake swarm soon. I am just an bit too tired to do so now.

    1. Thanks for the photos. Very interesting. BTW: My second name is really written with an “ae” 🙂

    2. Great pictures! I recall you explained it before, but I forgot; how do you have acces to this SEM? Do you work in some kind of research facility?

  29. Sounds cool those swarms in West Iceland!
    Who knows the next volcano is going to be here!

    Earthquakes in Iceland are caused by tectonic plates drifting apart, along different fault systems. When this happens, the magma pushes upwards to fill the void left. Therefore, all earthquake activity in Iceland has a possibility of being linked to a risk of a magma pushing upwards closer to surface, to fill those voids, either in a dike intrusion, or a volcanic eruption.

    If you see, every fault in Iceland where plates are drifting apart, is associated to a central volcano, and often also to fissures opening along that fault. The whole West volcanic zone in Iceland has not erupted already for many centuries, when back then, was erupting quite often.

    So, this activity at both Krisuvík and Langjokull, while tectonic at the moment, might be linked with an increase probability of a eruption occurring there. Since both volcanoes do not erupt for a long time, this can have the potential for a somewhat large eruption.

    Last eruption of Prestahnukur was 5000 years ago (close to where the swarms are happening), but Langjokull to the northeast, erupted about 1100 years ago, spreading a big lava field.

    I would say that the next activity in West Iceland is going probably to be located in Krisuvik or Prestahnukur, rather than Hengill or Bláfjoll.

    1. Faulting doesn’t necessarily lead to a volcanic eruption. As is happening at Thingvellir, it can also create a basin. What is also possible that instead of rifting, the faults could be transform faults in which no extra space is created. Also, the link between extra earthquakes at a spreading center and volcanic activity is on our timescale almost none. Earthquakes happen in many rift zones such as the Eifel, and no eruption occures for over thousands of years.

      I do agree that the renewed uplift near Krysuvik is interesting. But remember that the earthquakes are pretty common here. (yes, even the M4+ we saw earlier this year) Also, the total uplift at Krysuvikremains relatively small (only 4-6cm since 2007) compared to Grimsfjall for example (45cm in since 2004).

    1. As far as I know there are no GPS stations near Prestahnukur, unfortunately. 🙁

  30. For anyone who hasn’t checked in at Eruptions recently, Erik says he’s getting married in July….

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