Increased activity in Öræfajökull volcano noticed

It has been noticed that earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano is slowly increasing. At the moment this increase is just in the form of minor earthquakes taking place in the volcano at 5 – 10 km depth (at the moment). This was covered in a Icelandic news two days ago (when this is written), the volcanologist in the news (Páll Einarsson) says this is nothing to worry about at the moment, that I agree with, mostly, he also put forward that idea this process, if it evolves into an eruption might take up to 18 years from start to finish, as was the case with Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This is where I disagree with the professor Páll Einarsson, the reason being that this process already started good 10 years ago, I also suspect that Öræfajökull volcano to be a volcano that erupts suddenly and with a lot of force once it does erupt.

The eruption in the year 1362 had the VEI of 5 and the eruption in 1727 had the explosive force of VEI=4. Both eruptions lasted several months. Öræfajökull volcano only makes ash rich, explosive eruptions, based on latest historical data and studies into the volcano history. The processes that power Öræfajökull volcano might also be different, since there is an slab of old continental crust (study: Continental crust beneath southeast Iceland) under Öræfajökull volcano, that is slowly melting due the nearby hotspot. This means the magma is mostly silica, not far from the magma found in volcanoes found at subduction zones around the world.

There is also a second volcano this same area that has been showing sign of increased activity. That volcano is called Esjufjöll, it has even less understood activity (if any) since people moved to Iceland ~1300 years ago. There is a chance of an unconfirmed eruption in the year 1927, but it didn’t last long, maybe up to five days, it was mostly noted due a glacier flood from the area this volcano is located (small according to historical documents).

16 Replies to “Increased activity in Öræfajökull volcano noticed”

  1. Nice update Jon, though the list of volcanoes in Iceland that might erupt in the next 10 to 20 years or so seems to be ever increasing! Interesting times ahead.

  2. High silica magma ,most likely rhyolite,now where have I heard that before 😉

    1. Öræfajökull volcano is different than Bárðarbunga volcano. The reason being different processes powering the eruption in Öræfajökull volcano. Bárðarbunga volcano is a volcano located on the rift, meaning a lot of basalt magma.

      That is not the case with Öræfajökull volcano, that is not in a rift zone, while basalt eruptions cannot be ruled out in Öræfajökull volcano, the data so far suggest they might not have happened for a long time.

      Here is a study by Iceland Met Office on Öræfajökull volcano, magma types and where last eruption took place the caldera of Öræfajökull volcano.

      Study on the 1362 eruption in Öræfajökull volcano,

    2. Well they drilled into a pocket of rhyolite at Krafla – is that what you’re thinking of? That’s the only recent Icelandic rhyolite encounter I know of.

  3. There is a summer storm coming in Iceland. Nothing major, but enough to increase the wave noise from the ocean, that is mostly on 0.1 – 1Hz on the SIL stations.

  4. At 15:52 hours there was a quake SSE of Bardarbunga at a depth of 8.2 kilometers with a magnitude of 1.7. Just 59 seconds later it resulted in another quake with the same magnitude, but at 12.2 kilometers (4 kms lower).
    I Find that quite remarkable!

    Kind regards,

    Henk Weijerstrass

  5. It’s interesting how the Icelandic volcanoes have “historical” activity so far back in time, and the very long repose intervals, and the years-long volcanic cycles.
    Nice page, Jon.
    Greetings from Chile.

    1. Later corrected to M3.0, but still. This is nothing but amateurish speculation on my behalf, but I reckon the activity at Katla has picked up somewhat over the last days. There was a M2.6 yesterday, also.

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