Update two on the Askja volcano earthquake swarm

The earthquake activity in Askja volcano continues with no clear signs that it is about to stop. Since midnight around 200 earthquakes have happened at the writing of this article. Icelandic Met Office is currently holding a meeting about this earthquake swarm in Askja volcano.


The earthquake swarm in Askja volcano as of 12-November-2019 at 11:55 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There seems to be a pulse activity in this earthquake swarm. Activity drops for several hours before increasing again and then slows down again. That is possible clue that this earthquake swarm has its origins in magma activity that has not yet reached shallow levels of the crust. There is no deep earthquake activity in this swarm and that might not happen. What exactly is going on in Askja volcano remains unclear at the writing for this article.

There are now two possibles of what might happen next

  1. Earthquake activity continues until an eruption happens. This would be a lava eruption with no or limited amount of volcano ash happening in the process.
  2. This earthquake swarm continues until it just stops and no eruption happens.

What happens is impossible to know for sure since this earthquake activity is a mystery as of the writing of this article.

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Update on Askja volcano earthquake swarm

Since I wrote the article yesterday (09-November-2019) on the earthquake swarm in Askja volcano there has been increase in the earthquake activity. One magnitude Mw3,4 earthquake has happened and one magnitude Mw3,2 earthquake also happened. The active earthquake area seems to have expanded a little to both north and south. This earthquake swarm continues to appear to be only tectonic in nature and there are no signs of magma movement in the shallow levels of the crust on nearby SIL stations. It is not possible to know for sure what is happening in deeper levels of the crust.


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

There is a chance this earthquake swarm is going to increase before this activity slows down. What happens next depends on the built up stress levels in the crust in Askja volcano. In the last 48 hours over 300 earthquakes have taken place in Askja volcano.

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Ongoing earthquake swarm in Askja volcano

Since earlier this week (Week 45) there has been a ongoing earthquake swarm in Askja volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm so far had a magnitude Mw2,8 while other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude. This earthquake activity is happening on a fault that is North – South directions. The earthquake activity is happening just inside or just outside (this is unclear) in the main Askja volcano. This might be dyke injection into Askja volcano at this location but that remains unclear since there are no clear signs of what is happening. This might just be a tectonic activity in Askja volcano as often happens in rift zones.


Askja volcano earthquake swarm. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

What makes this earthquake swarm something to monitor is how long it has been going on. Its been going on at least five days and maybe even six days at the writing of this article. In most cases this type of earthquake swarm activity stops without anything more happening in Askja volcano. I suspect that is also going to be the case with this earthquake swarm.

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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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Earthquake swarm in Askja volcano

Yesterday (14-March-2018) a earthquake swarm started in Askja volcano. The area the earthquake swarm is happening in has been having smaller earthquakes for several weeks already. Currently this earthquake activity is ongoing.


Earthquake activity in Askja volcano (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This is the strongest earthquake in Askja volcano since August-2014 when a magnitude 4,5 earthquake happened in this area due to activity in Bárðarbunga volcano and the connected dyke intrusion. That also resulted in a deformation in Askja volcano that later did go back to normal. At the moment there is no harmonic tremor being detected and that means no magma movement and no eruption.

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My move to Iceland by the end of May is going to change this to the better. Specially after I finish paying the debts I have in Denmark (that is going to take until November).

Magma movement in Askja volcano (Dyngjufjöll)

For the past few days there has been a earthquake activity in Askja volcano. All of the earthquakes so far have been small in magnitude and only few have reached magnitude above 1,0. This earthquake activity is due to magma movements and its the first time I have seen it reported at this shallow depth (above 10 km depth).


Earthquake activity in Askja volcano. North of Vatnajökull glacier. There is also activity in HerĂ°ubreiĂ° to the east, but that’s an unrelated activity and is due to tectonic forces in the area. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There are no clear signs that an eruption is about to happen in Askja volcano or in Dyngjufjöll as this area is also called. If an eruption starts in this area outside of any major water area its only going to erupt lava with minimal risk. Explosive eruption due to water is also a possibility but those are impossible to predict.

Deep earthquake activity in Askja volcano

Yesterday (06-April-2016) a swarm of deep earthquakes took place in Askja volcano. None of the earthquakes that took place where large in magnitude, with the largest one having a magnitude of 1,6.

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Earthquake activity in Askja volcano, close to Dreka (dragon). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Main depth of this earthquake swarm was around 21 km. It did not go up in the crust and nothing suggests that it is going to do so at this point in time. No change in harmonic tremor took place during this earthquake swarm.

Thanks for donations

I want to thank everyone that has donated to support me during April and other months of the year. Once I’m back in Denmark I am going to get me a job so that I have higher income and can live in Denmark for good (and stop being broke all the time). Details about my current status can be found here.

Deep earthquakes in Askja volcano (15-March-2016)

Yesterday (15-March-2016) an earthquake swarm took place in Askja volcano. This was an deep earthquake swarm, with deepest earthquake having the depth of 18,7 km and the shallowest earthquake with the depth of 14,9 km. The earthquake swarm took place inside the volcano and there are clues that suggest it has it’s origin. This has been happening regularly since 2010 and after the BárĂ°arbunga volcano dyke getting close to the main magma chamber in Askja volcano the activity has slowly been increasing. This activity is not above background levels and nothing suggests that an eruption is about to happen any time soon.

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Askja volcano is located to the north-east of Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

For the moment the progress and the change in Askja volcano is slow, but that might change if the magma inside the system finds a pathway to the surface. If an eruption does happen I’m not expecting anything big, just a lava eruption that is going to go on for few days to weeks. Unless the magma gets into contact with water, creating a short term explosions. This is only a speculation, but Askja volcano is an active system and as such anything should be expected from it.

Short overview of earthquake activity in Iceland

This is a short update of earthquake activity in Iceland on 28-February-2016.

Bárðarbunga volcano

Over the past 48 hours there has been earthquake activity and dyke activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Some of this earthquake activity has been on around 15km depth. Suggesting magma movements within Bárðarbunga volcano system. Earthquake activity always seems to increase few hours to days after a swarm of deep earthquakes appear in Bárðarbunga volcano.

A dyke activity has appeared on the edge of Bárðarbunga volcano, it is located south-east in the volcano. In a area that has seen this type of dyke activity before. It is interesting that this activity seems to persist at this location.

Tungnafellsjökull volcano

Over the past few days few earthquakes have appeared in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. Some of those earthquakes have had the depth around 15 km. This suggest some type of magma movements inside the volcano, but nothing that suggests that its going to reach the surface any time soon.

Askja volcano

Earlier this week (Week 08) an deep earthquake swarm took place in Askja volcano. With earthquakes having the depth down to around 22 km. Suggesting that magma is flowing into Askja volcano magma chamber at depth. This has been happening at regular basis since 2010. At the moment there is nothing suggesting that eruption is going to happen any time soon in Askja volcano.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga, Tungnafellsjökull and Askja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Katla volcano

There was some minor earthquake activity in GoĂ°abunga in Katla volcano. This appears to be normal activity for this region of Katla volcano. No other interesting activity took place this week (Week 08) in Katla volcano.

Hekla volcano

Two earthquake where detected in Hekla volcano. Nothing else happened following this earthquake activity. Why this earthquake activity happens remains unclear.

Torfajökull volcano

A minor earthquake activity took place in Torfajökull volcano during the weekend. This activity is possibly due to changes in hyrdrothermal areas in Torfajökull volcano.

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Earthquake activity in Katla, Torfajökull and Hekla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Other than this activity things remain quiet in Iceland. There are few minor earthquake swarms on Reykjanes peninsula and Tjörnes Fracture Zone. But they are too small at the moment to write about.

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Move to Denmark

It is now official. I’m moving back to Denmark on 14. April, with just few minor details left to work out (getting a loan for the apartment insurance and few other things). I’ll move into my new apartment on the 15th April. More details later next weeks when I know about the apartment loan.

Deep earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga and Askja volcano

Today (18-February-2016) and yesterday (17-February-2016) there has been deep earthquake activity in Askja volcano and in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Askja volcano

Since March 2010 Askja volcano has been having period activity taking deep inside Askja volcano. This suggests that both deep dyke intrusions are taking place in the volcano system, yesterday and today (close to Dreka area and Herðubreiðartögl volcano). None of those dyke intrusions is going to reach the surface. They are going to remain at depth. This does show that since 2010 magma activity at depth is possibly increasing in Askja volcano. When a eruption might take place is impossible to know, but it might be a really long time until it happens. Unless Bárðarbunga volcano enters the mixture and speeds things up. Earthquake activity close to Herðurbreið are normal tectonic earthquakes at shallow depth >10km.

Bárðarbunga volcano

Most of this week BárĂ°arbunga volcano has been quiet. That might be about to change, since today few deep earthquake appeared in the northern part of the volcano. This suggests that fresh magma from deep magma chamber is pushing up now. The resulting earthquakes are due to pressure change inside the volcano that fractures the rock in the process. Earthquake activity has also been in the dyke (Holuhraun eruption) at the edge of the glacier. I don’t know why that is. A clear dyke intrusion took place in Hamarinn volcano on 17-February-2016, with earthquakes at the depth of 12 – 13 km. This is the first dyke activity in this volcano for a while now. Magma is shallow in Hamarinn volcano, making it sensitive to pressure changes and possible eruptions.

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Earthquake activity in Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes. Along with earthquake activity close to Herðurbreið area. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Maps of Iceland

For people who want to know what I’m often taking about there is a map that can be bought. This is a geological map of Iceland, it shows all the volcanoes, both active and extinct ones in Iceland. Along with fault zones and fissure swarms. It can be bought from here. Please note that I don’t get anything from this, it’s just so that people can have access to information about Iceland. The prise of this map is €13,80 without shipping, or 15,31 USD without shipping today.

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