Earthquake swarm in Tungnafellsjökull volcano

On Thursday 9-July-2015 an earthquake swarm started in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. So far around 50 earthquakes have been recorded in Tungnafellsjökull volcano, the earthquake swarm is currently ongoing. None of the earthquakes that have happened so far have reached magnitude 2,0 or stronger.

Earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. The yellow dots show older earthquakes. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

It is my view that Tungnafellsjökull volcano is now preparing for eruption regardless of what Bárðarbunga volcano is going to do (it’s not over there, even if it is on a break at the moment). There is also problem with amount of time when this all started. It is clear that earthquake activity started to increase in Tungnafellsjökull volcano in the year 2012 and it has been increasing since that year. It is clear that with the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano it seems to have given Tungnafellsjökull volcano more energy and increased it’s activity, why and what the connection between the volcanoes remains unclear at the moment.

Current earthquake activity suggest that this is going to develop in similar way the weeks before the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull volcano. It is not going to be exactly the same, it is going to be close and a lot of earthquakes are going to take place once Tungnafellsjökull volcano starts to heat up for real. When that happens I do not know, this might be take several more years at the longest. There is also a good chance that nothing is going to happen at all.

Please remember to support my work here so that I can write more and monitor the volcanoes in Iceland (this takes a lot of time and doing a summer job now makes this so much more harder. Due to lack of income for me from this website). Thanks for the support. 🙂

Twitch: When I am not writing about volcanoes or just writing I spend my time playing computer games. Now I have set-up my own Twitch channel that can be viewed here. I plan on doing some test broadcast this weekend.

14 Replies to “Earthquake swarm in Tungnafellsjökull volcano”

  1. There are no known (known knowns) eruptions of tungnafellsjökull volcano in the past 10.000 years.
    – Liguistically, if a speaker talks about unknown unknowns, what he really trying to say is ”we’re not in control and we don’t know what’s going on and we’re not going to be held responsible.”

    Jon, in your Twitch channel you use Flash, are you aware that it has a serious security flaw?
    I have set it on ‘click to activate’.

    1. Yes, I know Twitch uses flash. It is pain for my computer too. That is however Twitch fault and there isn’t a lot I can do about it.

      As for Tungnafellsjökull volcano lack of eruption. Far as I know nothing has been documented (at least large scale) for the last 12.000 years.

      1. Yes tungsnafellsjokul is logical, vonaskard sil recorded the highest consistent tremors for a long time with dyn coming in close second. That brings me back to the hreppar microplate which is right in the middle of the veidvotn system and I believe more involved than many credit it for.

      2. I am well acquainted with this article. Bearing in mind that article was written in 2008 before recent events, there are two quotes below from it.

        “This block appears to fulfill the criteria of
        a microplate and has been termed the Hreppar Microplate.
        The southern boundary of the Hreppar Microplate
        is marked by the South Iceland Seismic Zone
        where large, strike-slip earthquakes occur. The northern
        boundary is marked by diffuse volcanism of the
        Central Iceland Volcanic Zone (CIVZ) and the relative
        movement across it seems to be slow.”

        “Recent modeling studies of GPS data, however, appear
        to support rotational movements of the Hreppar Microplate
        (La Femina et al., 2005), which is in favour
        of the propagating rift hypothesis. The model results
        indicate that near the Hengill triple junction as much
        as 35% of the plate movements is taken up by the
        WVZ. This proportion dies out towards the NE and
        is less than 10% in the Langjökull region. This must
        indicate a counter-clockwise rotation of the Hreppar
        Microplate, considering the lack of evidence for significant
        irreversible internal deformation of that plate.”

        The more recent articles referred to discussed multiplanar rotation of the microplate. This article (which also involved the above author) also refers to the microplate –
        “The average azimuth of fissures and fractures in the area deviates significantly from the azimuth perpendicular to the direction of plate velocity. As this deviation decreases gradually northward, we suggest that the effect of the triple junction of the North American, Eurasian and the Hreppar microplate is a likely cause for this deviation. ”

        This diagram from the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research –

        I still think, with all due respect for your opinion, that the microplate is right in the middle of the division of the MAR causal to the southern ‘leg’ of the fault, and therefore an influential factor in Veidvotn activity.

        Just my opinion. Time will tell.

  2. Barring unforeseen developments, I’ll be passing less than five miles from Tungafellsjökull two weeks from now on Route F26 / Sprengisandsleið across the highlands to Lake Myvatn. I noticed the route finally opened up within the last few days. Lucky to be able to be make a second trip to Iceland after being glued to this site around the clock during the Eyjafjallajökull and Bárðarbunga eruptions. What an experience to meet the Þorvaldseyri family face-to-face at their visitors center. I was tongue tied and couldn’t really express their familiarity to me after the many hours I spent watching it all unfold in real time on the webcams. Thanks to Jon and this community for years of valuable background info. I am in love with Iceland.

  3. A minor EQ swarm has occured in the vicinity of Katla earlier today.
    The quakes were very shallow, too (at 0,1-1,3 km depth).

  4. I was wondering about that, are those ice quakes perhaps? How thick is the glacier over Katla? I’ve been waiting for Jon to comment, there has been no updates to this blog for days, I hope he’s OK

    1. Just shallow earthquake swarm in Katla volcano. Happens all the time, might be related to hydrothermal changes in the volcano.

      I’m fine, the work is just leaving me tiered after the day (I start at 08:00 and I am working until 16:00, with breaks). I won’t start posting normally until start of November when I finish working in Iceland (I can’t work any more than that due to welfare income limits).

      There hasn’t been a lot of activity in Iceland in the past few days. So I haven’t had a lot to write about.

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