Deep earthquakes starting again under Eyjafjallajökull

Over the past weeks there have been deep earthquakes happening under Eyjafjallajökull. The deepest earthquake so far that has happened was on 21 km depth. The latest earthquake that happened was on close to 15 km depth. Currently it is impossible to know if there is new magma pushing up.

If it is, then the amount of magma that is rising up trough Eyjafjallajökull is not great and is unlikely to start a new eruption any time soon. It is however worth noticing that this might change with a short notice. But the eruption in March to May 2010 did show that magma can rise fast up trough Eyjafjallajökull and appears to be followed by earthquake activity.

11 Replies to “Deep earthquakes starting again under Eyjafjallajökull”

  1. What I find interesting was the really shallow M-2.9 at about 1 km depth. Ice? Something breaking loose? (It’s the star in the plot).

    Another interesting thing is the general trend of the quakes moving down to the Eyjafjallajökull from the Reykjanes Area. Any ideas?

    1. Well, it is interesting that the increase in quake depth may be mirroring the increase in crustal thickness: … depending on the north-south location of the quakes.

      Do you have any magical graphing tricks to convert the crustal thickness contour map into a 3-D image? The crustal contour map shows that Iceland’s crust is like a giant upsidedown volcano! That would be great to see in 3-D. And with snapshots at a dozen or so different angles, it could be animated in rotation. But, I suspect some sophistcated software would be required to convert the contour map into a #D image.

  2. Actually, I’ve had that data set for a while. I don’t like using it very much since I have never had a lot of confidence in it’s accuracy. Different researchers come up with different depths, and the depth to lat-lon pair doesn’t exist as hard data… or at least doesn’t exist somewhere that I can get at it. My version had to be made by scarfing an image that represented the depths, editing out all the annotations and then smoothing out the contour lines. After it was analyzed by the program, I then had to scale it to the depths from the annotations on the original, and then hope for the best. Recently I re-did this to get a tighter spacing on the data points.

    That still leaves me with the problem of how to show it with out having a cluttered mess of dots. Usually the spatial significance of it has no visual meaning unless it’s in a perspective view. So.. here ya go. First, the same plot as above with the Moho added.

    And now a perspective view.

  3. Hi Jon,

    great website. I have an idea I’d like to put to you.. perhaps you could send me an email.
    brucestout at

  4. How about this?
    29.09.2010 17:42:22 64.436 -17.203 1.1 km 2.7 84.55 4.9 km NE of Grímsfjall
    29.09.2010 16:56:44 63.731 -19.470 6.9 km 2.1 31.5 6.0 km N of Básar

  5. @Renato Rio, There are always going to be many earthquakes. Even when a volcano is a quite. Not all earthquakes means that a eruption is imminent. But often they give clues on what might be coming.

    Patience is something is required in the field of volcanoes and earthquakes.


    I know this blog is strictly for Icelandic events, but I think it is worth mentioning some very interesting developments happening in the last 6 months in Southern California, USA. There was a 7.2 EQ about 100 miles south of So. Calif in April 2010 and since then there has been an unusually high frequency and duration of after shocks that have been migrating NW up to the 3 major faults in So. Calif – San Andreas-SAF, San Jacinto-SJF and Elsinore-EF. Scientists are scrambling to put data together to understand how this build up of stress is likely to play out. Right now, the smaller/newer faults, SJF/EF are grinding away and unable to hold much stress and are having a hundreds of small EQ, a dozen or so medium EQ ranging from low 2’s, many 3’s and a 5.4 on the SJF in July.

    Just like in Iceland, all this comes after a decade of subdued activity on the precipice of increasing activity. In the last 3 days, EF has had 3 EQ in the low 3’s all along the fault. My concern is that the EF, which is very overdue per scientists, is receiving the brunt of this stress and perhaps is getting close to having a large snap. If this snap rippled upward into Los Angeles to the connected Whittier fault, this could have serious implications. The SJF has also been very active in April 2010 and it is a candidate for a large break. There is a body of sceismologits that are concerned that the SJF, which is connected to the mother fault, SAF (capable of 8.0 or larger and predicted to yeild the “big one” of 7.8 or greater), could produce a large enough quake to trigger the SAF which is also very overdue and has build up considerable stress without a break in the last 160 years. Also, there is concern that the SAF could also trigger the Barstow fault. If the SAF were to break, the impact would be catastropic for So. Calif. The scenarios based on scientific reseasch are frightening. So. Calif, especially if the Barstow broke as well, would be isolated. Major Rail/Transpotation corridors, Nat Gas piplines, Petroleum, Power and Water grids bottle neck right into the heart of the worst part of the SAF and Barstow. Studies show the death toll estimated to be around 1,500 to 5,000 with 200 billion in damage and a long protracted recovery period due to infrastructure damage. Ya, like the fragile Calif economy can handle that. The So. Calif economy, which currently is much worse than Greece and about 14% of the U.S. economy, would likely be all thats needed to drag down the fragile U.S. economy into a recession/depression, then trickling down to world economies depending on the coupling (watch out Chinese bubble makers). All what if’s, of course.

    Scientist have now put the percentage likelihood of a major SAF quake at 99.9% in the next 25-30 years. It is considered to be at the end of its loading period storing up over 33 ft of movment without breaking.

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