Good chance of Krísuvík volcano eruption in immanent future

I have been viewing data on Krísuvík volcano and what has been happening recently. Out of this checking I have come to a conclusion that a eruption in Krísuvík volcano is going to place in immanent future. When that might happen is impossible to know for sure.

Far as I know there is no written history on the last eruption at Krísuvík volcano that took place in 14th century. Because of this lack of historic witness of the last eruption in Krísuvík volcano it is impossible to know how the Krísuvík volcano is going to behave before it starts erupting.

It is my un-professional opinion that when a eruption starts in Krísuvík volcano we are going to see something like that took place in Krafla volcano when it erupts. Not exactly like Krafla volcano but something along those lines in eruption style. But Krísuvík volcano is going to have Hawaiian type eruption style when it starts erupting. Unless the eruption takes place under water. Then a Surtseyjan style eruption takes place while a water can get into the crater.

Please note that this is a theory that I am working on. It might work out in part or in full. But then again it might be completely wrong and not work at all. If the second option is true, then I am going to start again and make a new idea on what is going on at Krísuvík volcano.

110 Replies to “Good chance of Krísuvík volcano eruption in immanent future”

  1. I totally agree with you, I do not know if it is going to erupt right now, but I know one thing.
    I have been keaping close track of the low-level band (red 0,5Hz) tremor-spikes that has been showing clearly before the last 5 quake-swarms that have occured. There might have been spikes like this before, but was hidden in the background noise. But this time these spikes are 10 times more powerfull and are spilling into higher frequencies too.
    And the last quake swarm was comparatively much lower than normal with none over 7,3km and down to 9,5km (with the crust at as little as 12km here if I have the correct data).

    My guess is that we will have an eruption or one whale of a quake-swarm happening.

    1. Something less then 20 years in the longest. But given the fact that there have already been 15 or so years since this started this might be less then 5 years until a eruption takes place. But this is in fact all just a speculation. It is hard to impossible to know when a volcano might start erupting.

      1. Hard to predict.
        If it is Hawaiian the tourism would go up.
        If it is phreatic due to water it would be ashy.
        But one thing that would be in trouble definitly is the Séltun Geothermal Powerplant. Remember that one if its old boreholes exploded a few years ago with a rather nasty boom. They would at least have to shut it down for safety reasons. But Iceland has a lot of energy, so not as big a loss as it would be for other countries.
        Problem is that this is a little understood volcano.

      2. There is no geothermal powerplant in Seltún. The old borehole was brought down for heating purposes as far as I know. There are two geothermal powerplants in the greater Reykjavik area: Hellisheidivirkjun and Reykjanesvirkjun. Both are at leat 30km away from Krýsuvík.

      3. @Carl: Yes, there is this correction home – but don’t imagine this as a prison. As far as I know, they are also treating alcohol addicts there. This home is pretty in the middle of no-where (although Reykjavik is not so far away) and sometimes they can’t get away in the winter due to too much snow.

      4. I wonder if the place Chris is talking about is what the author Per Olov Enqvist writes about in his autobiography “Ett annat liv” – “A different life” in English. Well worth reading! Not much about earthquakes and volcanos, but a few pages is about his stay at this place in a desolate part of Iceland trying to sort out his drinking habits.

    2. Just remember that in imanent we normally mean in geological terms.
      So when we say will erupt soon we mean anywhere within the next years, with the exception of 2012. No volcanos will erupt then. 🙂

      1. Hey, I’m planning my next trip to Iceland for 2012 and I want to see some show 😉

      2. Haha, sorry, Plan another year, we had a vote on this blog against that year and forbade any eruptions during that year. The other alternative was to remove the dang year and go straight for 2013 🙂

      3. You can see the movie here. It is good.

        Yes, this is a sale plot by me since I know my movies too. As no danger a super-flare is not going to happen in 2013.

        It could happen tomorrow for that matter. But then we would just to back to stone age in terms of lack of internet, mobile phones, electricity and so on. Last large solar flare was in 1989 and it did knock the power off in Canada.

        But you can read about large solar flares here,

      4. Actually, if the 1989 flare-up had happened in europe nothing would have happened. Thing is that the electric grids in the US are poorely maintaned, under capacity and foremost, not interconnected. This leads to it not being able to disipate the spikes wide enough, and the grid not being able to sustain it. And after it has collapsed there is no onsite spare-parts which is mandatory in europe. Vattenfall made a stress test for its grid, it would require something spectacular compared to the small one in 89 to take out the european grid.

        Sorry, but it is a US problem.

      5. I beg to differ.

        I don’t think anyone is geared up to handle anything like the Carrington event.

        And.. it could very well happen in 2012… or tomorrow… or in 3096.

        The fact is that the Sun is rapidly on track to yield one of the most phenomenally lackluster maximums since we have been keeping records.

        Can it still have a it have a gargantuan flare? Sure. Is one coming? We won’t really know until it’s on it’s way. At least we now have the ability to blink. (shut key systems down before the fry… provided someone is minding the switch.)

        As for the US having an antiquated system… yeah. And that also make it pretty hard to target for nefarious activity. To hard to pick where the weak link is so you get optimal damage with the least amount of effort or explosive material. The US is in effect, a living museum of power transmission technology.

        As for system robustness… when we had our last big outage my lights never blinked. I attribute it to the fact that usually, some segment of the grid in the Southeast gets rebuilt after every hurricane season.

        There’s a plus side to everything. 😀

      6. You are correct, it will happen sooner or later. My guess is that it will happen sooner than later.
        And the same event spiked pretty close to as hard where I live (Van Allen-belt makes it almost equally spread this far north, and nothing happened here.
        Worst case that could happen here would be a couple of hours of down-time, not weeks or months. The difference is the amount of storaged transformers. Here they are allready onsite at the transformer-stations, in the US there are just a few in the hands of the electricity companies and manufacturers. And the US cannot use the european due to your grid using much lower voltages.
        After our stress-test we went on a field trip to Pacific Gas & Electricity to compare the figures, and we couldn’t even compare. For instance, I learned a new word there, brownout. That is when the production-rate is to low and they drop the voltage on the entire grid with 10 percent (which increases the risk of fires). I also learnt that the average US figure is that 80 percent of the electricity disapears between production and consumer due to effect losses in the low-voltage system. So US citizens pay for 4 watts the do not ever get for every watt they use.
        I hope that someone will regulate the hell out of your power-companies before it is to late for you guys. Just changing into minimum 700KV main feeder-trunks and 345 volt capacity into every house would cut the inefficiency into half, Ie. double the amount of US available electricity.

        Sorry for ranting, but being an environment nut and boarding one of the larger electricity companies makes me a bit crazy about things like this.

        Guess you live in Florida, the grid there is actually pretty good.

      7. So that’s what a brownout is! I always thought (based on experience) it’s the situation where one or two phases on the HV side of a transformer pops.

      8. In Finland only 5% of the electricity produced “disappears” due to transmission losses.

      9. Snicker…

        “And the US cannot use the european due to your grid using much lower voltages.”

        It’s not just the voltage. It’s also the frequency. The hysteresis response in the transformers change with frequency. Sure, going from 50hz to 60hz isn’t as bad as pumping 400hz though a 60hz transformer… but there is an effect.

        ..yes, I live in Florida. But I’ve lived in the Southeast for 45+ years. (*not counting the California, Illinois or New Jersey time) The only time I have seen extended outages is when the lines are literally taken out… as in off the pole or physically destroyed towers.

        I am a bit of a Luddite in my opinion. IMO the massive outage that we had was not due to old technology.

        It was over reliance on automated technology that was old. No one actually minding the switch or knowing what they were looking at as it occurred.

  2. The EQs are deeper now – 6 to 8km – than a couple of weeks ago. More magma rising? Another cycle starting?

    1. 7,3 – 9,5km actually.
      I would guess a conduit has opened up from the MOHO into whatever kind of magma reservoir the volcano has.
      It would fit a pattern, tremor-spikes at 0,5Hz when magma starts to push up, then quake-swarm to widen the conduit, and then the process starts again with more magma moving up… and so on.

      1. Moho
        Also called the Mohorovicic discontinuity. The surface or discontinuity that separates the crust from the mantle. The Moho is at a depth of 5-10 km beneath the ocean floor and about 35 km below the continents (but down to 60 km below mountains). Named for Andrija Mohorovicic, a Croatian seismologist.
        (Oregon State University Definition)

        Remember that the Moho is higher up in Iceland, between 12km where Reykjaness Ridge hits land and about 35-40 under Vatnajökull.

  3. I doubt an eruption is going to take place in the area within our lifetimes. Sure, it is possible, but these earthquake swarms are so frequent in Iceland without incident.

    1. Yes and no, it normally takes more then earth-quake swarms. You also need inflation, changes in tremor-patterns. magmatic movement… Oh… We do have that at Krisuvik…

      Yes, quakes happen all the time in Iceland, but the important and hard thing to understand is where and why it happens. Is it tectonic or is magmatic?

      Or did you mean in Iceland as a whole? Well, that will happen with a certainty of 98 percent for the next 10 years (except at 2012 where there will not even be a quake).

    2. True.. they do happen a lot. But there are signatures of either magmatic movement or tectonic processes that can be detected by people with that skill set. Those of us (me) who don’t have that skill have to look at other things such as linear features or trends in the quakes.

      If it were purely tectonic, I wouldn’t expect the quake plot to show up as a lump. Granted, it’s not very scientific… but I’m not a scientist so I can get away with it.

      1. It’s all too long ago since my days as a geology student… is the distinction between magmatic & tectonic really clear and meaningful? Is magma fracturing brittle rock as it opens a path through the crust significantly different from brittle rock fracturing with no magmatic cause?

      2. I … in a nutshell can’t really say.

        I can state that that “tornillo” phenomena that is present in the other volcanoes is a pretty good indicator of fracturing rock making way for magma.

        I believe what Jón Frímann and the seismo savy do is to look at the frequency components of these quakes and get a feel for what the ground is doing. Again, I have no training in that area, but I would imagine that a tectonic signature would have higher frequency components in the quake. That’s just what it seems like to me.

        What I would look for, given what I know, is a trending of quakes from lower to higher. Where this method falls flat is in pre-faulted terrain. I have no clue how that would respond. And Iceland… it’s faulted, quite a bit.

      3. Magma have a lower frequency (depending of course of the width of the tube it is travelling through, the larger the tube, the deeper the tremor) than brittle rock.
        The difference (wildly exagerated) is like between a bell and a sloshing waterskin. Perhaps a better analogy for those of you who are american would be the gurgling and banging in heating pipes leading to radiators in apartment houses (at least if you live in New York with the insane Con Ed steam-heat system).

      4. Lurking, I think actually you are becoming pretty good at it.
        A question, the difference is very large from this graph and the other, on the other we can see 2 clear stacks of quakes that form straight “tubes” leading from a bit above the moho to almost the surface. But that doesn’t show on the second one. Is it the scale that makes it clearer?
        Second of all, on the first graph the Vatna quakes (guess it is Grims and Askja quakes, they are not near as well arranged as the 2 to the left. Would you say this is correct interpretation?

      5. If I remember correctly, the my original Krýsuvík plot took in several months worth of data. The most recent one is only about 6 to 8 weeks of data.

        As for the Askja/Grims plot, again, it’s only November and December. Plus it’s just a slice of the data from 64° to 65° N, and is only 2D. The idea was to provide a rough reference of where the Moho was at in relation to the quakes.

      6. I think it was a really good presentation, but is it the leftmost “chimney” or the second chimney that is Krysuvik?
        And there looks like som odd conduit in between them to at 4 – 6 kilometres. Weird…

      7. On the Moho plot, I don’t even thing Krysuvik made it in there. The cut off was 64°N to 65°N.

        Krysuvik as presented on the MET site shows a northern extent of 63.9° in the quake reports.

      8. I went back in and filtered for that area… North of 64, south of 65, East of -22 and west of -20, these are some of the names that pop out of the spreadsheet.

        Geldinganes, Seljadalur, Hrómundartindi,
        Bláfjallaskáli, Þingvellir

        (these are the reference names that MET uses… ## miles NW of {name})


        Litla Kaffistofan


  4. My comment on the previous story (pictures) became subject to moderation (no links). What’s up, Jon?

    1. The spam protection servers have been having connection issues over the past few days. So when that happens comments get hold up automatically in the system. They normally clear in few moments or when the servers for the spam protection start to work normally again.

  5. 15.12.2010 19:50:21 63.747 -19.382 11.3 km 3.0 35.35 9.2 km NNE of Básar

    Will look foreward to this quake has been checked by IMO.

    1. Probably a mistake. Quake is not to be seen on Jon’s helicorder, and neither on any tremor plots

  6. Tiny pic is gonna be mad at me. (snicker)

    So is this forum software, so I’ll split it into two posts. As noted previously (beats me where, but I said it somewhere), I had been looking for a way to get archival data from the SIL quakes. Failing back in April to find anything that was publicly available, I had to work around that… mainly by grabbing the data as it came across the MET website and dropping it into a spreadsheet. I still do that, but it’s no longer a single point of failure. (I had a missing 12 hour chuck about 4 months ago).

    So.. using an alternate data source… Krysuvik, the 2 year data plots.

    View North

    View East

    Plan View

    … see next post.

    1. Okay, I am stumped from the graphs. Mostly because I saw something I never understood before. This due to me not having seen the old data.
      What we are seeing now is not what I thought we was seeing. I thought we where seeing a conduit opening up, but we are not at all. What we are seeing is the opening of the conduit back in january 2009 with quakes running straight into the Moho. After that the conduit remains open with an inflation phase running from mid 2008 untill september 2009 quake swarms (which probably was a conduit expansion and magma filling quake event into the open conduit). After that phase came a deflation phase where magma was flowing out of the conduits/chamber/reservoir untill a very weak swarm came in january 2010 where the inflation phase restarted and have been running untill now.

      This raises 1 question and one big warning.
      1. Is this swarm the end of an inflation cycle? Will there be a deflation after these swarms? Or is it something else?
      2. The conduit is wide open with magma flowing freely in both directions. We need not see any upwards trend like Lurking is normally looking for. The upward trend that would be scary is from 3 km up to 0 km.
      2b. The reservoir is probably pretty shallow. If so, and if we get an eruption, and that ejects a lot of magma, we might perhaps get a caldera event due to the reservoir being so shallow.

  7. Lurking, your plots really are a great aid when it comes to visualising what is going on! Again, and humbly, thank you!

  8. I would guess that is about 10000 m3 of magma or more (hard to tell from the data). But the earthquakes happen where friction is taking place. So there might be a lot of magma down there.

      1. I was trying to estimate size of the friction area and the estimation on the possibly of how much magma might be down there. But I do not have a good formula for that, so I might be really wrong about the amount of magma down there.

      2. I do that in my head. But I try to use what I know. But the formula looks something like this.

        V = (C * Sq) + M = Volume M3

        V = Size of area in question.
        C = Density of element in question.
        Sq = number of square miles in question.
        M = Estimated mass.

        This is still a work in process and in all chances is deeply flawed formula.

      3. I think I have an incling of where it went wrong. I will think about it tomorrow and see if I can create a fix. But I am stuck at board-meetings untill ten in the evening so I will talk to you about it on friday.
        Would be fun to help you with your formula, if you wish of course? Forgot to ask, Sheldon Cooper-moment… 🙂

        But my general idea would be to use volume instead of area as a start.
        Then go for the density/mass as a damper, it is after all harder for the magma to inject the heavier it is, and then come up with a fractionality (fancy word for part of) index to decide how much a given volume is fractured (ability to receive injected material). That would probably be something like FRACTIONALITY = UPLIFT(RELATION)DENSITY

        Or simplified:
        Then we have to decide the relation, since density probably is a damper we can deduce that it is either minus or divided by. It should be testable which it is. If the numbers look credible for one, the other one should be incredible.

        Let’s try this one.
        V*F=Mass of magma
        Or in numbers
        32000000*25=800 000 000 kg of magma, or 166667 M3 of magma. Seems quite close to upliftfigures now.

        Will see if I can come up with something better tomorrow. Remember that the figures I used are not exact.

      4. My example formulation above is still just a shorthand.
        Thing is that formulations like this quickly get hellishly complicated. We never talked about the brittlenes for instance, to get that you need tensile values, p-modulus, breaking point and a few others for the material in question. And the problem here is that we do now really know the materials down there. And also the materials failure values varies with pressure and heat…

        So the unknowns would be enormous.

        But unknowns can normally be changed into average operators in the equation. I think what I am trying to say is that you have your ph.d. thesis cut out for you if you decide to create that formulation. Hope you love math Jón! 🙂

  9. If I have calculated it correctly from Sigrún Hreinsdottirs figures the area affected of the inflations is 2 by 2 square kilometres. and the uplift is 30mm. That would give 120000 M3 of magma down there.

  10. The spike on the Hekla webicorder is in fact a earthquake. Not a noise. It was a small earthquake somewhere close to the Hekla station. I do not know where as it did not appear on the IMO automatic map.

    1. I’ve had my suspicions on the IMO map this evening. 4 quakes in 7 hours is a bit to little, and the 3.0 quake was blatantly off… I noticed a few tremors on the trmor-plots I think was small quakes that didn’t register.

      1. It is the same bug that scared the living herring out of me a couple of weeks ago.
        It seems to happen when there is a small quake or a large tremor at the same time as they at the new 24 hours to the 48 hour plot. Becuse the tremorplot showed that wild strain, but the strain showed up 12 hours to late… Bug…

  11. I going to Iceland in January, this seems PROMISING!

    Krisuvík showing big signs, and who knows Hekla/Grimsvotn as alternative.
    Big northern lights, as we approach solar maximum.
    And delighting in very cold weather and dark nights for star gazing… (in a hot tub)

    Oh amazing Iceland I will be so glad to visit you again 🙂

  12. Great plots Lurking, can I ask what program / software you use for the 3D plots ?

    irpsit, imagine being at the Blue Lagoon (why be cold), nighttime, Aurora Borealis & stars, what more can you ask for ? Enjoy your stay in January

    1. Dplot –

      The developer stays well involved with it and it quick to answer or address any issues that come up.

      I have the full version, and I don’t remember paying that much for it… either it went up some time after I bought it or I was so ticked off at Excel that I didn’t care at the time.

      1. Sorry to wax tangential…again, but So Calif is a buzz with EQ’s and that ongoing cluster in Brawley and in general there has been an increase in magnitude across the board.

        I am wondering if the cracks in the dam are starting to leak?

    1. Katla is the most dangerous volcano in Iceland if you are looking into large-scale events… But it is not the most active.
      It probably have something inbetween itself and eyja… Wait a minute! The Godabunga cryptodome!
      Writing about a connection running between them without even mention Godabunga does not impress really.

      1. Godabunga is part of the Eyjafjalla volcanic system. Let’s assume that Professor Einarsson is correct that there is a magmatic connection between the two. Now, isn’t it true that flank eruptions always outnumber eruptions at the main vent, in which case he must have misrepresented the Eyjafjallajökull – Katla system as Eyjafjallajökull is the main vent and Katla but a flank vent of Eyjafjallajökull.

      2. Ehm…
        Nah, it is Hekla that is the flank vent of Eyjafjallajökull and Grimsvötn is the flank vent of Katla 🙂

        Seriously, the magmas are chemically pretty different between Eyja and Katla. And (insert favourity deity) only knows what kind of magma Godabunga would erupt.

        Actually I have a problem with the connection idea between them. Regardless of which volcano Godabunga belongs to, it would still explain all the connection people are seeing, without there being any physical piping between them.
        Chemistry tells a different story than the “connection-scientists” spreads. And since chemistry has physical proof I go with them.

      3. As you may have gathered, I too am not impressed with Professor Einarsson and his insistence that Eyjafjallajökull is a trigger for Katla as the only “evidence” is two, or possibly three, coincidental eruptions over the past 1100 years. The scientific proof available only supports a conclusion that the summits of E & K are no more than 25 km apart.

      4. Well, if you’re speaking of a real physical pipe/conduit between the two, I too do not believe it exists.

        However, I find the other possibility very intriguing and IMHO very probable. The pressure changes after an eruption in the Eyja system may speed up Katla inflation, or trigger the chain of events leading to Katla eruption.

        This latter “connection” is not physically connected (no pipe), yet is has a physical connection (via e.g. pressure changes). Due to this is will be very difficult to proof at the experimental level, but with modeling it should be testable. However, I’m afraid the current data available on other variables linked to this situation is not adequate for the test.

  13. Silly calculations on Iceland waiting for my flight…
    Every year (on average) Iceland grows with 7792,625 square, thusly Iceland needs to eject 8571887,5 cubic metres of magma to account for the spread rate of the MAR, otherwhise Iceland would be cloven in half.

    1. And where do we see that on the surface? I take it that your figure of 7,792.625 refers to just under 8 square kilometres, which would translate to a rift 200 m wide going on for some 39 km? Or is is square metres in which case the rift would be 2 m wide running on for just under four kilometres?

  14. I meant it in square metres, the word “metres” got lost. And the calculation was made on the height (length from south to north of Iceland) of the rift and a spread rate of 25mm per year on average.
    I was just curious to see how much magma it takes to keap Iceland as MAR spreads. The figures was not that large.

  15. Jón Frímann, where is your new helicorder Þorgrímsstaðir located (coordinates), is it in Mosfellsbær ? Have you taken a look at it this morning ?

    I’m guessing we have some sort of problem / missing reports at the Veðurstofa for the last 24 hours, might be trouble with the internet connections at the local telephone company.

    1. It is close to where he lives.
      I think Jón is out fixing the problems with his new helicorder since it stoped work an hour ago.
      The bangs you see on it is from him working on it earlier today.

      But something is wrong with Weatherstuffs in Iceland, there are quite a few smaller quakes that are just missing on their plots.

    1. That what I noticed at my last visit as well: From the flood marks on the beaches I would say the water level is around 1m lower than usual.

      1. The water level is 2.6 meters lower than last spring, mostly due to little rainfall last two summers & light snow last winter. For the last months it lowers 50 mm a day.

        The water level lowered 4 meters in 2000 when a rift opened due to an 6R earthquake. 2 years ago the water level had risen to former level.

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