Something is going on in Hamarinn (Bárðarbunga) and Tungnafellsjökull volcanoes

Today (11-September-2015) an earthquake swarm started in Hamarinn volcano (no GVP profile, see Bárðarbunga volcano). This is a volcano that is inside Bárðarbunga volcano fissure swarm and might be connected to it, that connection is unclear, but historical data suggests that once Bárðarbunga volcano gets erupting sometimes Hamarinn volcano does too. There is a similar pattern in Grímsfjall volcano and Þórðarhyrna volcano (no GVP profile) as an another example.

Current sequence of earthquakes in Hamarinn volcano started with a small earthquake at 22,5 km depth. Few shallower earthquakes happened before that event, those earthquakes however might be connected to changes in hydrothermal systems in the volcano, rather then something else. The deep earthquake that took place started a series of smaller earthquakes at shallower depth, suggesting that pressure is already high inside the volcano, how close it might be to erupting is impossible to know, but the clues that I’m not seeing do not look good. This might die out, but I think the chance of that are small. Last eruption in Hamarinn volcano took place in July-2011, I wrote about it here, here and here.

Current area of activity in Hamarinn volcano. This area is covered with a thick glacier up to 300 – 400 meters. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
Harmonic tremor data is showing that current earthquake activity are low and long period earthquakes (green and red spikes). I also noted that on this image a harmonic tremor spike can be seen on the green band. It does not appear visible on the red and blue bands. I’m unclear on why this is. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.
The harmonic tremor spike does not appear on the SIL station Skrokkalda. I don’t know why that is. Earthquake activity appears clearly on it (spikes). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano

There has been interesting earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano today. Today earthquake swarm started with the depth of 12,3 km and it mostly stayed there. Suggesting that magma dyke injections are taking place in the volcano at the moment. If and when this might lead to an eruption is impossible to know. Magma might be at shallower depth already due to high activity during the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano.

The earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano, it’s located north of both Bárðarbunga and Hamarinn volcano (NE of Hamarinn). Current activity is a small cluster of earthquakes in north-east part of Tungafellsjökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Largest earthquake in this swarm so far had the magnitude of 1,9. It was also the shallowest earthquake in this swarm. So far no change on the surface of Tungnafellsjökull volcano, meaning that no hydrothermal vents have appeared so far. That might not happen since formation of hydrothermal vents does not always happen before an eruption.

32 Replies to “Something is going on in Hamarinn (Bárðarbunga) and Tungnafellsjökull volcanoes”

  1. Thanks for this post, Jón. I’d been wondering about both these sets of activity.

    Do you happen to know whether it was the 2011 activity in Hamarrin that caused the change of course of the Sveðjá which resulted in Leynidalur now being dry?

  2. Yes, looking at today’s stats, we could be in for another cycle. I’m sticking with my original first choice of tungsnafellsjokul, second choice Hekla – strange second choice given the data, I just feel this time bomb has had a lot of tickling recently.

  3. So what kind of explosion would we expect to see at Tungnafellsjökull and what type of lava would likely to come out ?. If it does happen then I would probably expect to see rhyolite but as usual I will probably be wrong.
    I think we saw this volcano coming to life with a large earthquake last year at the same time as the Bardabunga rifting event.

    1. Could be, what would like to know is if the gases released from Holuhraun played any part in the summer the UK got this year!

      1. No doubt it was influenced to some degree, but when you couple that with a prediction of a super El nino, then winter is a daunting prospect! Then if bard does decide to light up ….

        I’m a cheery b hehe!

      2. Read about the chance of a winter (don’t get many of them in the Westcountry), with a view to Icelands volcanoes the coming years could get interesting!

  4. I’ve been looking at the GPS movements, and the continued subsidence, along with the continued western movement of the land on the west side of the rift that formed, really do betray another event in the coming months. The small quakes (mini swarms) evidence this as well.

    You can’t have land move like this without something giving way at some point, and allowing magma to make its way back to the surface. This is my humble opinion.

  5. Magnitude 2,8 earthquake south of Grímsfjall volcano. Strongest earthquake in this area so far. I don’t know what is going on there at the moment, it clearly is something for sure.

    Other news. I have decided to move back to Denmark next year, early as February. That’s my final decision on this, the reason is that I’m not happy with anything else as it stands. I don’t know how I’m going to buy a gaming computer due to this, since I might not have money for this. I do plan to get a job in Denmark for a short while or a permanent job (unlikely). I don’t know if I get a job due to how the job market works in Denmark.

    If anyone wants to support my move back to Denmark that is welcomed by me.

    Currently I’m working at a slaughterhouse from 07:00 – When they finish. This means I wake up at 05:40 (UTC) when I’m not in school (learning Spanish) , those days I get to wake up at 07:00. This means I don’t have a lot of time to write on this website at the moment. It is a full time job writing on this website, the income from just isn’t enough to support me properly. This is why I have to work at times in order to keep my budget in order. The good news is that social welfare is going to increase next year in Iceland, giving me a better chance of having decent live in Denmark.

    The reason for that is it’s cheaper for me to live there and rent an apartment. Since I can’t get an apartment in Iceland at the moment due to extremely bad system and the private rental market is crazy (understatement).

  6. Deep 2.0 near Bardarbunga.
    15.09.2015 22:02:47 64.622 -17.376 12.3 km 2.0 99.0 7.5 km ESE of Bárðarbunga

  7. @wurzeldave
    Dartmoor is the place for snow in the winter. We go sledging most winters – not much volcanic activity there though…
    2010 was a good year for snow in Devon

    1. 2010 was a decent year for snow in Somerset also (our tidal river partly froze)… but it wasn’t a patch on the snow of 1978!
      Anyhoo, anyone fancy speculating (sensibly) on the the something going on & could happen?

    1. Thank you so much for publishing your video, Jón. Having seen those sorting pens out of season, it’s so interesting to see how it all works at the Réttir. It’s chaotic! Plus, all those Lopapeysa sweaters. 🙂

  8. 8.3 magnitude in Chile a few hours ago. Small tsunami possible in both parts of coastal California ( between LA and San Luis Obispo) and Hawaii.

  9. Apparently, an EQ swarm took place very close to Herðubreið around midnight, local time. None of the registered quakes are manually checked so far, so one can’t e entirely sure of the exact location.
    What to make of this?

  10. An increase in eq activity is to expected in and around Grimsjall area should be expected in the coming years

  11. Tungnafellsjokull is very lively in the past hours, with some bigger ones, M2+, but with unknown depth for now.
    Clearly visible on VON station. Also visible are some low amp HT signals from yesterday. Jon can you confirm these are HT signals? They appear to be, tho lower amplitude.

  12. Well, it seem like things is heating up. Am I interpreting the tremor plots right, as of something has been going on since the 19th ?

  13. I’m back from work (started 07:00 this morning). The Iceland Met Office website is off-line at the moment due to some electronic changes at IMO. Far as I can tell from my geophones there is a lot of earthquake activity taking place, since I only see magnitude 2,0 and larger on my geophone. I just don’t have a location. I’ll have a new post up soon as I got any maps and idea what is going on.

    I also need to take a little nap before I start writing complex articles.

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