Light sized earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (21. February 2023) at 08:41 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw4,9 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is because of inflation that is now happening in Bárðarbunga volcano and has been going on since end of Holuhraun eruption in 2015. Earthquakes with this type of magnitude are going to happen once or twice a year until Bárðarbunga volcano is ready for next eruption and that can take decades. There are going to be smaller earthquakes between larger earthquakes. According to the news, this earthquake was felt in Akureyri.

Green star and red dots in Bárðarbunga volcano inside Vatnajökull glacier. Few dots in other volcanoes in this part of Iceland.
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Last time this happened it took 112 years between eruptions in Bárðarbunga volcano. With the quiet period between 1902 and until 2014. Shortest time between eruptions seems to be around 40 years, but most eruptions happen between 90 to 112 years from last eruption. Based on the data from Global Volcanism Program on Bárðarbunga volcano. There is a lot of uncertainty in this data, so this might be shorter from what it looks like in the data.

I’ve switched to using standard definition for earthquake magnitudes, as shown here (Wikipedia). This is for clarification and simplification when I am writing about earthquakes.

Magnitude Mw3,8 earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano

Today (29-November-2022) at 01:09 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,8 took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is a normal inflation earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano and more earthquakes like this are going to happen in next few years.

Green star in Vatnajökull glacier in Bárðarbunga volcano. Few dots of different colours.
Green star shows the earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano. Picture is from Icelandic Met Office.

This is just regular earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. After the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano in 2014 and until 2015 it is going to be a while until next eruption happens. Until then, earthquakes like this are going to happen.

Magnitude Mw3,5 earthquake in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano

Today (12-October-2022) at 14:18 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,5 took place in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano. This earthquake was followed by few smaller aftershocks. This earthquake seems to be happening because of a inflation that is taking place in Fagradalsfjall volcano and this strongly suggests that inflation in Fagradalsfjall volcano is slowly reaching critical levels. There is no eruption expected from Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano as is.

Green star with few red dots just west of Kleifarvatn lake, showing increase in activity in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano
Earthquake activity in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity suggests that more stronger earthquake activity is possibly on the way. When it might start is difficult to know for sure. This has been the pattern in recent months. Earthquake activity starts to appears like this and then one day a major earthquake swarm starts. What happens now is a wait and see as before.

Inflation from start of September in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano and in Reykjanes volcano

According to GPS data from Icelandi Met Office that can be viewed here for Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano (Þorbjörn) and here for Reykjanes volcano. It seems that a inflation period, at least in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano started in early September and is ongoing at the writing of this article. Earthquake activity is low at the moment, but the area has already moved a lot in recent earthquake swarms and that might he dropped the crustal stress in the area. It might also explain some of the GPS movements. I have some, but limited understanding of reading GPS data so my assessment might be off, wrong or both.

There also seems to be inflation going on, without many earthquakes in Reykjanes volcano. That seems to be have been going on since start of August. There have not been any eruption in Reykjanes volcano even after repeated inflation and deflation cycles in the volcano. Inflation cycles often have earthquake swarm activity if dyke activity follows an inflation event. That does not seem have happened this time around.

If this inflation continues, in either one or both volcanoes. It is clear a new period of high earthquake activity is about to start on Reykjanes peninsula. When that earthquake activity is going to start is impossible to know. Since recent earthquake and volcano activity has changed how the crust works in the parts of the Reykjanes peninsula where magma has been active. Since hot magma slowly softens the hard rock in the crust at depth and that lowers the earthquake activity. Rather then at the start of an volcano activity, when the crust is cold and brittle, resulting in high earthquake activity before an eruption.


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Increasing pulse activity in the eruption signals end of the eruption

It has been reported in the news today (18-August-2022) at Rúv that more pulse activity has been seen. This results in lava being thrown up high in the air.

This is the same pattern as happened last year in the eruption in Geldingadalir valley. It took a while for that eruption to end and that might also be the case now.

Other than this, there have not been any other news of the eruption. There also has been interesting events out in the lava field, where the new lava is compressing the lava from 2021, resulting it being squeezed out at the edges. Since there is still flowing lava in the lava field from 2021 and that is going to be like that for many decades until this lava field cools through.


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Strong earthquake this morning north-east of Grindavík town

Today (23-May-2022) at 07:14 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,5 took place north-east of Grindavík town. This earthquake was felt in Grindavík and in Reykjavík. The earthquake was located in a area that is either inflating or on the edge of area that is inflating.

Green stars both north-east and north-west of Grindavík town along with several orange dots that show smaller earthquakes in the area
Earthquake activity on the Reykjanes peninsula close to Grindavík. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

According to Icelandic Met Office news, the inflation around Þorbjörn mountain since the start of this earthquake activity is currently at 45mm. I don’t know how much inflation the crust can take in this area before an eruption starts in this area. Any eruption in this area is probably going to start with few craters that shut down with time and then there is just one crater that erupts until the eruption ends.


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Earthquake swarm north of Grindavík town

Around 14:00 UTC an earthquake swarm started north of Grindavík town. This look like a tension breaking earthquake swarm and that suggests an inflation is happening again in Fagradalsfjall volcano (mountain). Largest earthquake so far had a magnitude of Mw3,3 and second largest earthquake so far had a magnitude of Mw3,0.

Green star on the map north of Grindavík town shows the main earthquake swarm
Earthquake activity north of Grindavík town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Red dots north of Grindavík town showing the main area of earthquake activity
Area of earthquake activity. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm is ongoing, but like with all earthquakes swarms in this area it shows a sign of slowing down for few hours before continuing. There is a chance this earthquake swarm might be over. But I am not yet sure if that is the case.


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Deep inflation detected in Fagradalsfjall mountain

According to a news report today (16-November-2021) inflation has been detected deep under Fagradalsfjall mountain, that is part of Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano system. This inflation suggests that an eruption might start again in Fagradalsfjall mountain, it remains impossible to know when such an eruption might start. Since there is a lot that suggest this inflation is because of magma collecting at depth under Fagradalsfjall mountain. When or if that results in a eruption in the future is impossible to know.

This inflation is now large enough to be seen on satellite images that monitors deformation in the upper crust. In the upper crust this deformation appears small, but that is not all the story in this.

Icelandic News (in Icelandic)

Gosið enn í dvala – Mæla litlar hreyfingar á miklu dýpi (Rú


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Inflation and earthquake activity in Askja volcano

Inflation has been increasing in Askja volcano over the last few weeks. According to latest news that inflation is now at 14 cm, since the inflation was detected at the end of August. On Saturday 9-October-2021 an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,2 was detected in Askja volcano (I’ll try and add the picture later if I remember). This is was the strongest earthquake in Askja volcano in the last 20 years according to the news.

Askja is remote and there are no or limited amounts of web cameras in the area. With winter arriving going there is impossible for most people. If an eruption happens this winter the best view is probably going to be harmonic tremor data until pictures appears from Icelandic Met Office or someone with an air plane (if the weather allows for that).

Askja volcano placed on uncertain level and yellow alert for flight

Because if Askja volcano quick inflation, that is now currently at 7 cm, Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared uncertain level and yellow alert for flight.

Green triangles shows most of the volcanoes in Iceland as green. Only Askja and Grímsfjall are yellow. Krýsuvík volcano is orange in colour.
Current status of volcanoes in Iceland as of 9-September-2021. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Inflation is quick in Askja volcano and is now at 7 cm. When or if that is going to result in an eruption is impossible to know. Current Askja volcano is what remains of a mountain that blew up in an large eruption in the year 1875 century. Most eruptions are just lava flows, unless they happen to start in a water, then explosive activity happens while water remains.