Update on Grindavík 17. November 2023

This is a short update on the situation in Grindavík on 17. November 2023. Information here can go outdated quickly and without warning.

Daily updates

  • Grindavík town continues to sink as the rift valley continues to move. The speed of sinking has slowed a little according to the news today.
  • Earthquake activity has slowed down in last few hours (this is written around 22:51 UTC). What that means is unclear.
  • Some houses in Grindavík town have been completely destroyed. Iceland has a natural disaster fund for this type of situation and that is going to cover the owners loss according to the news.

General update

It took me a week. But it seems that this dyke intrusion under Grindavík town is because of the magma sill (dyke) under Svartsengi. That area has inflated around 110mm in a week. That is a inflation of 15mm/day based on my best calculations. That is a lot of inflation, since before 10. November the inflow of magma into Svartsengi was at most 8m3/sec according to measurements of Icelandic Met Office.

The sill in Svartsengi created a lateral dyke in Sundhnúkar and nearby areas. When the pressure in the sill is high enough again it is going to push the magma into the dyke at Sundhnúkar again with the same force as it did before. How long that takes I don’t know. Last time this was from 25. October to 10. November. That’s seventeen days, but there was a lot of deeper sills in Svartsengi and its impossible to know much, if anything flowed form them into the dyke. This is my personal view, it might be wrong. But this is what I am reading from the data.

Risk of the eruption remains high because there’s a ongoing inflation at Svartsengi. When a eruption starts is impossible to know.

If anything happens. I’ll post update soon as I can.

Update on the situation in Grindavík on 13. November 2023

This is a short update. Information here can go outdated quickly and without warning. I am sorry for the Google Adsense popup ads. They turned them on without telling me and I can’t turn it off. I never run this type of ads because this is just annoying pop-up and I don’t allow that on my website. Google Adsense ads are going to be gone by the end of this month anyway (regardless of anything else).

The situation is similar to yesterday. Earthquake activity continues to drop for now. But that might be a short quiet because the dyke and the rift valley continues to grow. Inflow of the magma continues, at slightly slower rate than on Friday 10. November 2023.

  • The inflow of magma on Friday 10. November 2023 was 1000 cubic meters per second according to Icelandic Met Office and experts.
  • The rift zone that is lowering is on the western side of the Grindavík town. The east side is rising up to almost the same amount. Parts of Grindavík have lowered around 1 to 2 meters. Some of the cracks in the grounds are up to 20 meters deep or deeper.
  • There is a lot of damage in Grindavík to many houses. If not from earthquakes, then from the formation of the rift valley.
  • Eruption risk remains high and the dyke seems to holds its length at 15 km. This can change without warning.
  • The rift valley is now around 2 km wide according to the news. The rift valley continues to get wider according to measurements.
  • There has not been any drop in harmonic tremor on SIL stations next to the dyke, even if earthquake activity has lowered. This is because of the ongoing inflow of magma into the dyke.
A line of red dots shows the dyke formation that goes under Grindavík town and goes north-east of the town.
The earthquake activity in the dyke appears clearly. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is not possible to know what happens next. It is my view that an eruption is going to start in this area. This is a start of a activity that is going to last for a while until it quiets down.

This dyke activity might also upset the volcanoes Fagradalsfjall and Reykjanes and what is happening in them. Anything can happen in them without warning. If not eruption, then earthquake activity.

I’ll post update when I have some new information about this situation.

Update on the situation on Grindavík dyke intrusion

This is a short update, since the situation is changing quickly and without much warning. This just looks like it is quiet, it is not.

  • Grindavík town is sinking and parts of the town have lowered by as much 1 meter when this article is written. This is a large area, large enough to be called rift valley. This was reported by mbl.is here in Icelandic. This was just discovered today when some measurements where taken.
  • Magma might be as shallow as few dozen meters under the surface where it is the most shallow. This has been reported by mbl.is here in Icelandic. This is a live link and the news item in question might be removed or gone in few hours.
  • This is a event that was not expected. Most of the inflation until Friday 10. November 2023 had happened in Svartsengi (Reykjanes volcano) and in Fagradalsfjall volcano. There had nothing been happening at Sundhnúksgígar to the north-east of Grindavík. Until Friday 10. November at around 08:00 when a earthquake swarm started in that location. Originally it was though those where just tension related earthquakes, but that view (according to reports) changed early in the morning at Icelandic Met Office. Everything did go crazy in earthquakes between 16:00 until 19:00 on Friday. This earthquake swarm was really dense and many earthquakes with magnitude Mw4,0 took place inside Grindavík town.
  • There is damage in Grindavík, both roads and houses because of the displacement. Damages to pipes, electricity wires and other infrastructure.
  • The dyke seems to be few dozen meters wide and up to 1 meters deep. It might be different wide and deep at its 15 km length. I have not found any useful information about this. Just information on its length that was last time I checked, 15 km long.

This is not a small volcano event. What I don’t know and this doesn’t seems to be known. What volcano is causing this. This might be Fagradalsfjall volcano or this might be Reykjanes volcano.

String of earthquakes reaching from the ocean and under Grindavík town and to the north-east. This is the dyke that is causing a lot of problems in Grindavík. A lot of earthquakes to the west of this location. That is also having magma inflow. This is a map over seven day time period.
The earthquake activity over the last seven days. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I’ll post more information about this when I know more or if anything more happens if I can.

Dyke has formed or is forming under Grindavík town, mandatory evacuation ordered

This is a short article. Its going to outdated quickly.

  • Dyke has or is forming under Grindavík town. This dyke starts at Sundahnjúkar in north-east of Grindavík town and is going to down to Grindavík. This is at the moment around 4 to 7 km long dyke. It might get longer and reach the ocean.
  • There’s a mandatory evacuation order in place. Everyone in Grindavík town has two hours (from around 23:00 UTC) to leave the town. Many people had already left because of the heavy earthquake activity today (10. November 2023).
  • Earthquake activity remains heavy, but is lower than it was at around 17:00 to 19:00 UTC. This might change again without warning.
  • GPS data suggests this is more magma than in all of last three eruptions combined.
  • This magma might be from Fagradalsfjall volcano. This is currently only an idea. That means the magma in Reykjanes volcano has not started to move to the surface. That might also happen without warning at any time, since that inflation continues.

I’ll post more information when I got them. The situation is unclear and there’s a lot of wrong information out there so check your sources.

Update on Reykjanes volcano activity

This is a short update and this information can go out of date quickly and without warning.

  • Earthquake activity continues in Svartsengi and close to Þorbjörn mountain. This earthquake activity is either tension earthquakes because of the dyke on either side (north-east and south-west) or in the dyke it self.
  • Inflation in Svartsengi and nearby area is extremely high and has been increasing much as 10mm a day in last few days.
  • There has been magma building up in the crust in the Reykjanes volcano since at least year 2020. It might have started few years earlier at more depth, but that is unclear.
  • There’s a risk of large eruption in this area, that might go on for few months in the worst case.
  • Largest earthquakes so far have had the magnitude of Mw4,7. Larger earthquakes remain a possibility.
  • It is impossible to know when a eruption starts or if it starts. But the likelihood of an eruption is extremely high.
  • Morgunblaðið reported that ground heat has been seen on thermal cameras. The news can be found about this here in Icelandic. There’s a YouTube video of this in both Icelandic and English (with more footage).

I’ll post new information about what is going on when it happens. As is, the situation does not change a lot from one day to another so I don’t have a lot to report on.

Magma movement close to Þorbjörn mountain this morning

Today (31. October 2023) at around 08:00 UTC an magma movement was detected by Icelandic Met Office. This started an earthquake swarm that had a largest earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,7. The magma seems to be at depth of 1,5 km where it is the shallowest. Few days ago, that magma was at depth of 5 to 8 km. This change is rather quick movement of magma, that suggests higher pressure compared the magma that erupted in Fagradalsfjall volcano. This might result in a larger eruption when it happens. The inflation at Fagradalsfjall volcano, south part of it has not lowered. The only thing that has happened there is that earthquake activity has dropped to almost nothing. Earthquake activity has moved to western part of Fagradalsfjall volcano. Eruption also happening in Fagradalsfjall volcano should not be ruled out, but the events close to Þorbjörn mountain might delay the progress of that magma.

Red dots and green stars north of Grindavík town, close to Þorbjörn mountain. There's also red dots west of Þorbjörn mountain and Grindavík town. Blue dots close to Reykjanestá on this map. Time on map is 31. Okt. 23 at 16:55 UTC.
Earthquake activity because of magma movements in Reykjanes volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is difficult to know what is going to happen next. But an eruption is highly likely, when and where is almost impossible to know even if GPS data gives good clues on where it might happen. This situation is complex and it is uncertain what is going to happen next with this activity in Reykjanes volcano and Fagradalsfjall volcano.

I’ll post information soon as I know something. A list of web cameras of Icelandic volcanoes can be found on the YouTube page that I set up a while ago.

Reykjanes volcano placed on Yellow warning level

The Reykjanes volcano has been placed on yellow warning level. This is because of sudden inflation that is now taking place north-west of Þorbjörn mountain. In slightly less than 24 hours the inflation did reach 30mm. This is the fifth time (as reported by Morgunblaðið) that inflation has happened in this area since the year 2020. This inflation now is a lot faster than earlier when this has happened.

Yellow triangle on the Reykjanes volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula. Other triangles, showing other volcanoes in Iceland are green.
The alert status for Reykjanes volcano is now yellow. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This inflation in the Reykjanes volcano has the risk of creating stronger earthquakes in new locations on the Reykjanes peninsula and on the Reykjanes ridge in next few days to weeks. There is a ongoing inflation in Fagradalsfjall volcano and that has not stopped or slowed down since it started on 25. October 2023. It is not possible to know when or if an eruption in going to start in Reykjanes volcano, but how quickly this inflation is happening suggests that might happen. The location is not that good, if it erupts where the inflation is happening. The blue lagoon is nearby along with power plant and hot water energy plant in this area. Eruption in this location can result in major damage to infrastructure in this area.

Only thing that can be done now is to wait and monitor what is happening in this area.

Ongoing earthquake swarm north of Grindavík town wakes up people

Today (22-May-2022) at 09:53 and 09:57 UTC earthquakes with magnitude of Mw3,5 and Mw3,6 took place north-west of Grindavík town. This earthquake was felt and did wake up people according to the news.

Two green stars north-west of Grindavík town along with a green star north of Grindavík. A lot of orange and red dots around the area showing smaller earthquakes
Earthquake activity close to Grindavík town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There is no signs that this earthquake activity is slowing down. It does come in waves according to Icelandic Met Office. This means that there are period of high activity with low activity between. Currently, at the writing of this article, there is a low activity period ongoing.


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Increased earthquake activity off the coast of Reykjanestá

Today (20-May-2022) around 18:00 UTC the earthquake activity off the coast of Reykjanestá, that is part of Reykjanes volcano, increased again after few days of little earthquake activity. The earthquake swarm is ongoing and always changing so this article is going to be short because of that.

Green stars out in the ocean where the main earthquake swarm is taking place just off the coastline of Reykjanestá. This is in south-west direction
Earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes ridge, close to Reykjanestá. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake so far had a magnitude of Mw3,8 and the second largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,5. The Mw3,8 earthquake was felt in Grindavík and on nearby towns on Reykjanes peninsula. A Mw3,0 earthquake took place just north of Grindavík and was felt in the town.

Earthquake swarm north of Grindavík (ongoing activity)

Yesterday (18-May-2022) I forgot to write about the earthquake activity that is ongoing north of Grindavík town. This earthquake activity is either in the new dyke that has formed or ongoing path of the dyke in Svartsengi that has now reached north of Grindavík town. I don’t know what applies here. Skjálftalísa map that Icelandic Met Office has strongly suggests a second dyke, but the results are bit unclear. In the area east of Þorbjörn is a older eruption fissure, I don’t know when it erupted, but it might have been as early as 12th to 13th century.

Six green stars north of Grindavík town, Few red dots show smaller earthquaeks.
Six green stars north of Grindavík town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Yesterday (18-May-2022) total of five earthquakes happened with magnitude larger than Mw3,0. Largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,5. Today (19-May-2022) at the writing of this article, only one earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,0 has happened. Earthquake activity seems to be slowing down. I am not sure why that is.


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