Increased activity in Askja volcano

After more than a month of no noticeable earthquake activity in Iceland there is finally something new to report. It remains quiet in Iceland and most earthquake activity today is just small earthquakes in the magnitude range of 0,0 – 2,8.

This is only my view and might not be the same as views of professional scientists that monitor volcanoes as their job.

Askja volcano has started showing clear signs that an eruption might happen in near future. When that might happen is impossible to know, but given recent history this might happen in 18 to 48 months time from writing of this article. It might also be a considerable longer time until a eruption happens. Current sequence of activity started in 2011 so its already been ongoing for a considerable long period of time.

The activity in Askja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

In recent months Askja volcano has been showing signs of increased earthquake activity. This is mostly small earthquakes with magnitude from 0,0 to 3,0 in magnitude. Located in small swarms that appear at random location within the volcano. There are quiet time period in this earthquake activity as is normal.

An eruption in Askja volcano is not a major risk to flight in Iceland or Europe. Since if an eruption happens it is going to be lava fissure eruption similar to what erupted in Bárðarbunga volcano in Holuhraun 2014 to 2015. That eruption might also have increased the speed of when Askja volcano is going to erupt. Since the dike intrusion from Bárðarbunga volcano almost started an eruption in Askja volcano, it was only two to three days from happening but stopped in its track before it happened. That might have put Askja volcano on a path of unsuitability that might now be starting to show in increased earthquake activity.


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