Update on Hekla volcano status

Here is an update on Hekla volcano. First of, for the moment the inflation in Hekla volcano is deflating at the moment. This is following the same pattern as before last time this did happen. But that does not mean this might not happen again soon. For the moment, nobody knows what exactly is going on inside Hekla volcano as there are no earthquakes following this inflation period. The magma that is on the move down there is most likely moving deep down in the crust also, as Hekla volcano does not have shallow magma system that I know of (or is known of anyway).

What did happen inside Hekla volcano was most likely an dike intrusion somewhere in the volcano system. This dike intrusion did not create any earthquakes, that suggests to me that it was travelling trough an old dike system already in place inside Hekla volcano system. This is most likely to happen again in Hekla volcano, if that starts an eruption is hard to know for sure.

In regards to possible ash cloud from eruption in Hekla volcano is impossible of know for sure now what happens in next eruption. There might be an ash cloud, but then again there might not be. All that can be done is to wait and see what happens in the next days, weeks or years.


The GPS movement of Hekla volcano. The inflation and the deflation can clearly be marked here. There is an inflation spike around 2011.45 on this plot. But this did also happen in April/May I think (but it might be wrong). Daily updated chart can be found here. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is also important to notice that Civil Emergency Authority (Almannavarnir) in Iceland advice against it travelling up to Hekla volcano at current time. Since an eruption can start in Hekla volcano without any warning at all and the maximum time that people have evacuate the mountain is from 1 hour and up to 1 hour and 30 min. No more then that. Being on top of Hekla volcano when an eruption starts is deadly to everyone. If you want to go up to Hekla volcano. Please let somebody know about and have an fully charged mobile phone with you at all times. As the Civil Emergency Authority send out an SMS message to all mobile phones in the area around Hekla volcano if an eruption is starting (I think they do that).

Icelandic News.

Almannavarnir: Hekla tilbúin í gos (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Almannavarnir vara fólk við Heklu (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

Magma movements under Hekla volcano have been confirmed

According to the news on Rúv the GPS movements that many have been seeing around Hekla volcano in the past few days are real. At the moment the civil disaster authorities have been notified and also local emergency authorities. Nobody seems to know what is going on with this magma moments for the moment. But they can be tracked with the GPS network to some extent. What is more interesting is that this does not seems to have started until few days ago. But first signals of this happening did take place in April and May, but at lot smaller scale. What is interesting is that fact that no earthquakes appear during this magma movements, there is also no harmonic tremor when the magma is moving around in the crust close to Hekla volcano. But if there is any earthquakes, noise or whatever coming from Hekla volcano it is going to appear on my geophone that is located about 16 km away from peak of Hekla volcano. The distance is even less from the actual edge of the Hekla volcano system it self.

Normally, there are no changes in the GPS network before an eruption in Hekla volcano. So this is highly unusual event in Hekla volcano since instrumental monitoring started few decades ago.

It is an question if this means an fissure style of eruption is going to take place in Hekla volcano. But that does sometimes happen, as with any volcano in Iceland. For the moment however the only thing that can be done is wait and speculate (within reason).

No eruption has started in Hekla volcano. But it can be assured that it might start without any warning and I might not be around the computer when that start, since I am working during the day and feeling tiered during the evening. But I am getting slightly better on that front, thankfully.

I am going to post more on this when I do know more, or if anything happens in Hekla volcano related to this.

Icelandic News about this.

Hræringar í Heklu (Rúv.is, Icelandic)

New harmonic tremor spike in Katla volcano

Today around 16:00 UTC there was an new harmonic tremor in Katla volcano. This harmonic tremor has two sources. Hyrdothermal activity under the glacier, or magma moving deep inside Katla volcano (without creating many earthquakes in Katla volcano). It is unclear what is the case at the moment.

This spikes are so far not related to glacier floods from Katla volcano. But that sometimes also happen without an eruption being involved.


The harmonic spike can be seen here. Close the end of the chart. It is different then the background noise as it is more powerful then the background noise. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is impossible to know what happens next. But it is also important to be aware of the fact that earthquake season is starting in Katla volcano. But that is normally from end of June to beginning of October (or when it starts to snow again in Iceland). So more earthquakes are going to be seen this summer also because of more SIL seismometers around Katla volcano.

So there is no reason to panic about Katla volcano at current time. But it is worth to keep watch on it anyway.

Notice: Updates might be an little few due the fact that I am now working all day during the week and I am tired in the end of the day with no energy to write new blog posts. But I am going to do my best anyway.

Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Around 17:10 UTC an earthquake swarm did start in Katla volcano. This earthquake swarm is focused inside the Katla caldera at small point. The one earthquake that I have so far been able to record was an long period earthquake, but that suggests that this earthquake was created by magma movement. At current time I am not sure from where this earthquake did originate from. But from Goðabunga area in Katla volcano this types of earthquakes are common and no surprise at all.

At current time I do not know what this means for Katla volcano. But so far no increase in harmonic tremor has been detected on the seismometers around Katla volcano. But that might not start at current time, as harmonic tremor is only going to increase when magma starts to move inside the Katla volcano, like did happen in Grímsfjall volcano few weeks ago.

The location of this earthquake swarm strongly suggests that what is going on in Katla volcano is an dike intrusion in the Katla caldera. If that is powerful enough to start an eruption is an question remained unanswered at current time.


Area of activity is marked by the earthquakes. Looks like an dike intrusion into Katla caldera. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am going to update or post new blog posts as this continues to develop. I do not think that this events are over. But it is hard to know for sure, since volcanoes are impossible to predict.

Post post updated at 18:39 UTC.

Harmonic tremor pulse in Katla volcano

There appears to be an harmonic tremor pulse going on in Katla volcano. While I currently do not think that this is going to start an eruption. It is worth watching this harmonic tremor pulse in Katla. But in the year 1999 this type of activity did result in minor eruption in Katla volcano on the 17. July that year (it is believed).


Harmonic tremor pulse can be seen on the SIL station Lágu Hvolar. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Harmonic tremor pulse can be seen on this SIL station Álftagröf. But it is hard too see it then on Lágu Hvolar. But that suggests that this tremor pulse is in fact quote weak one. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Harmonic tremor pulse can be seen on this SIL Rjúpnafell. It is more stronger signal then on Álftagröf, so it suggest that the source of this tremor pulse is closer to this station then on Álftagröf. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

All pictures are from 16:28 UTC on 12. June 2011.

On other station around Katla volcano I do not see this harmonic tremor pulse on the Icelandic Met Office on-line tremor chart. But that does not mean that it this tremor pulse is not being detected on other SIL stations around Katla volcano.

The source of this tremor pulse is most likely an dike intrusion at great depth inside Katla volcano that is taking place without any earthquake activity. This has happened before without resulting in an eruption from Katla volcano (besides the event in the year 1999). I do not think that this means an eruption is going to happen soon. But this might signal that Katla volcano is about enter an more activity phase then in last few decades. But if that is going to turn out that way is something that only time can answer.

Eruption in Grímsvötn appears to be over (hopefully correct this time around)

It appears that the eruption in Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall volcano is over or is about to end, but authorities in Iceland might not declare the eruption over until after next weekend. No ash plume has been observed for over 24 hours now from Grímsfjall volcano. Harmonic tremor pulses are still taking place in Grímsfjall volcano and it is still dangerous to get close to the eruption site. As explosion still take place in the eruption area and that makes going there dangerous. It is not only the area where the water is that is having explosions. There are also gas and explosions taking place in the crater rims and nearby area. According to news today Icelandic Met Office did stop recoding the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano around 07:00 UTC this morning (28. May 2011). But harmonic tremor pluses might still be taking place in Grímsfjall volcano. But the SIL stations around Grímsfjall volcano have now started to record background noise again, including the SIL station at Grímsfjall volcano.

Earthquake activity has continued at similar levels as before the eruption took place. I am not sure why that is. But this might indicate that Grímsfjall volcano has already started to prepare it’s next eruption. But when that might happen is a question that only time is going to answer. The main earthquake activity is currently taking place NW of Grímsfjall volcano, and SW of Grímsfjall volcano.

According to automatic GPS data it appears that Grímsfjall volcano has started to inflate again. This inflation appears to be rather rapid at current moment. But it appears to be close to 1mm/day inflation to the south and east. This means that new magma has already started to flow into Grímsfjall volcano magma chamber and magma system from greater depth. So far Grímsfjall volcano has not started to inflate upwards and it might be an while until that happens, as there might be enough space for the magma to move into inside Grímsfjall volcano.

Measurements of the volcano tephra that did fall, along with measurement of the volcano ash that did fall have recorded the depth up to 170 cm in some areas of Vatnajökull glacier even at distance of 8 km from the eruption site. This is going to create problem in the summer when it is dry and the wind blows this volcano ash around Iceland. But mostly in the areas that where closest to the main ash fall areas.

Update 1: According to news on Vísir.is the Icelandic Coast Guard did see an plume with the hight of 1,5 km yesterday. This plume was however mostly made out of steam rather then volcano ash. The news about this can be found here, along with an picture of the plume. Here is an second news of this steam plume that was seen yesterday.

Update 2: According to news on Rúv there is small harmonic tremor being recorded. But most of the time, no harmonic tremors are being detected from Grímsfjall volcano. The Rúv news can be found here (Icelandic, Picture). It also has an new picture of the eruption crater. But this picture was taken around 10:00 UTC today (28. May 2011).

Icelandic News about this. Use Google translate on this for an risky translation.

Eldgosið mælist ekki lengur á jarðskjálftamælum (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Enginn gosmökkur í dag (From 27. May 2011, Rúv.is, Icelandic)

Blog post updated at 19:11 UTC.
Blog post updated at 20:15 UTC.

Explosions are still taking place in Grímsvötn crater

While the activity has almost stopped in Grímsfjall volcano, but there are still explosions taking place in Grímsvötn lake where the eruption took place due to magma going up, explosions take place all over the fissure at random times. That makes travelling to this area really dangerous thing to do. Ash fall is still taking place in Grímsfjall volcano when explosions take place. But the ash fall is limited to the local area in Grímsfjall volcano. Because of this, the official word is that the eruption is not yet over. Even if it just an small eruption at the moment. So far there is no data that suggests that new magma is currently flowing into Grímsfjall volcano. This is according to news in Icelandic media.

An new caldera (correct word?) has formed in the glacier close to the eruption site. But that suggests that a lot of heat is below in the glacier and is creating strong melt where this taking place. This is according to news on Rúv. But they don’t say where this glacier melt is taking place. But it can be assumed that this formation is somewhere close to the current eruption site. But when I know more about this location. I am going to update this post when I can.

Harmonic tremors pulses are still being detected from Grímsfjall volcano up to 200 km away from the volcano. Why they are still taking place while there is no eruption taking place is unknown to me. It is important to notice that currently the harmonic tremor is slowly dropping for now. But it might increase again without any warning. For now there is no way to know what this tremor means for Grímsfjall volcano.

Automatic GPS data from Icelandic Met Office tells an interesting story. According to this data (it might not be 100% accurate due to nature of GPS) Grímsfjall volcano has moved close to 320mm to the west, close to 350mm to the north, it has also lowered down about 250mm. This is major movement in Grímfjall volcano. To compare it with something, Eyjafjallajökull volcano only inflated about 60mm before it did erupt. This is many times more deflation that took place in Grímsfjall volcano then in Eyjafjallajökull volcano for example.

Earthquakes are still taking place SE and SSE of Grímsfjall volcano. There is no volcano at this location. So I am assuming that this are tectonic earthquakes taking place due to stress changes in the crust around Grímsfjall volcano. All earthquakes so far have been small but with the depth from 15 and up to 5 km.

Extra: According to new news (while I was writing this blog post). The Civil Emergency Authority in Iceland has lowered the alert level from danger level to alert level. News about that can be read here (Icelandic, mbl.is)

Icelandic News about this. Google Translate in an maze. It might work or maybe not.

Enn sprengivirkni í Grímsvötnum (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Jarðeðlisfræðingur: Orðum ofaukið að gosinu sé lokið (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

The eruption in Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall volcano most likely not over

Here is a interesting paradox. While the eruption it self has currently stopped in Grímsfjall volcano. The tremor chart around Grímsfjall volcano is still acting like there is a eruption ongoing. I do not know why this is like this. But because of that I don’t think that geologist that monitor Grímsvötn eruption in Iceland are not ready to call off this eruption at current time. At least that is what the news did say at 12:20 UTC on Rúv.

They are also issuing warning to people not going to close to the volcano. As explosions due happen and they can throw up rocks that weight up to 1 ton. If anyone gets hit by that rock, that person does not have to worry about what happens next. The save distance for viewing the crater is estimated to be 2 km or more.

I have no idea what happens next. But I am guessing that this eruption might resume soon and without an any warning at all.

The tremor plot at 15:00 UTC. Pictures are from Icelandic Met Office.

This pattern of tremor is interesting. I am yet unsure what it means. But my guess is that this eruption is not over. Even if it has just stopped for now. I normally consider eruption over when the tremor has gone back into background noise (wind, ice, ocean etc..). That has not yet happened with Grímsfjall volcano eruption at this moment.

Update 1: Here is an tremor plot that Icelandic Met Office has released. The article where this picture is from Icelandic Met Office can be read here, it is in english.


Click on the picture for full size. I must point out that this picture is big. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Blog post updated at 20:46 UTC.

Grímsvöt eruption appears to be over

Given the current tremor plot on Icelandic Met Office and with reports it seems that the eruption in Grímsvötn (Grímsfjall volcano) is about to be over for now. It is impossible to know if the eruption is going to resume soon or not. But at the moment this eruption seems to be over as it looks now. If it remains like that has to be seen however.

This drop in the eruption has been confirmed by Icelandic Met Office tremor plots.

Tremor plots as of 07:00 UTC. This tremor plots are from Icelandic Met Office web site. Copyright of this pictures belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Early news this morning in Iceland reported that steam was only coming from the main crater of Grímsvötn.

Other interesting development is that an earthquakes have started to appear SSE of Grímsfjall volcano (Grímsvötn). It is unclear why earthquake are happening at this location. But dike intrusion at this location is not impossible.

The reason for flight problems in Europe is because of the volcano ash that was ejected into atmosphere in the first days of the eruption. It is going take few days for that volcano ash to disappear from the air. Until that happens, it is going to create problems for air traffic.

Update 1: Even if the eruption appears to be over the tremor is still high. I do not know why that is. It is a question why that is or if this is just break in the eruption or not. Only time is going to tell what happens next.

Update 2: There was an news report this morning that before 02:00 UTC there was an spike in activity in Grímsvötn that did shoot the ash cloud up to 8 km. But that spike did only last for few moments before it was over. Rúv has released video here (Windows Media Player) of the eruption site.

Updated at 07:37 UTC.
Updated at 07:50 UTC.
Updated at 08:33 UTC. Blog post title updated.
Updated at 11:42 UTC.
Updated at 12:23 UTC.

Less powerful eruption in Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall volcano

It has been reported in the news that the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano (also known as Grímsvötn) is getting less powerful as the time passes. This is perfectly normal for an eruption in Grímsfjall volcano.

This can also be seen on tremor plots around Grímsfjall volcano. They clearly show the eruption getting less powerful over time. It has also been reported in the news that the material that is being erupted is now estimated to be 100 tons/second at the moment. But just yesterday it was 1000 tons/second and up to 2000 tons/second. The eruption is currently stable, even if it smaller then it was in the first few days. It is also not certain if this eruption is going to turn into lava eruption. As there seems to be enough water to continue ash phase of the eruption for the next few days.

Grímsfjall SIL station. It clearly shows the eruption getting less powerful over time.

Kálfafell SIL station. It shows the same pattern as Grímsfjall SIL station. Copyright of both pictures belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

In the news it has also been suggested that there might be less or no influx of new magma from great depth. But I do not know for sure if that is just speculation or not.

The ash plume has only got up to 3 to 5 km according to news reports. This means that has dropped a good distance in the last 24 hours. But yesterday it did reach up to 5 to 9 km. So ash is not spreading far away as it did earlier in this eruption. What is creating flight disruption in Europe and over Iceland is the volcano ash that was ejected in the first few days of the eruption. It has also been an big problem in Iceland is the volcano ash that is getting air blown on the ground. The ground is dry so the volcano ash moves easily because of that. Update 1: It has also been reported that the ash that did was ejected on the first day of Grímsvötn eruption was like all the ash ejected in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in the year 2010. They also say that this eruption was about the size of normal Katla eruption in there own estimate. News about this can be found here (Icelandic, picture)

Scientists did go today up to Vatnajökull glacier in an attempt to get close the eruption site. Flight over the Grísmfjall volcano is also taking place in an attempt to see the eruption site and take measurements of the eruption.

Update 2: There has been an minor spike in the tremor plot in the last hour or so. I do not know why that is. But this suggest that the eruption is growing in power again.

Icelandic News about it. Use Google Translate if you want some funny reporting.

Dregur úr gosvirkni (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Dregið hefur úr eldsgosinu – umtalsvert minni gosefnaframleiðsla (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Dregur úr gjóskuframleiðslu (mbl.is, Icelandic)

Please note that information here might get outdated really fast and with no warning at all!

Post updated at 17:57 UTC.