Change in the earthquake activity in close to Herðubreið mountain

Sometime yesterday (24-October-2022) a change happened in the earthquake swarm close to Herðubreið mountain. I am not sure when that change happened and it probably took few hours to happen before I detected it. But the change seems to be that now the earthquake swarm is at two locations and not just one. The second change is that the earthquake swarm is now getting more intense. The earthquakes at the writing of this article are minor, only magnitude Mw0,0 to Mw2,7 at the strongest. Nothing above Mw3,0 so far, but that might change without warning. Depth of this earthquake swarm is around 2 to 3 km at the writing of this article.

Two swarms of red dots show the location of the earthquake swarm east of Askja volcano and south of Herðurbreiðartögl volcano. The earthquake swarm is now west and north of Herðubreið mountain
Earthquake activity close to Herðubreið mountain. Picture from Icelandic Met Office.

What is going to happen next is impossible to know. An eruption in this area has not happened for at least 12.000 years or even longer. I don’t know if stronger earthquake activity is required for this area for an eruption to happen. It already is rather fractured from older earthquake activity and rift activity, that makes it possible for magma to have easier paths to the surface without much earthquake activity. That is at least one idea on the situation in this area. I might be wrong on this, since I don’t have information on the finer details of the crust around Herðubreið mountain.

Earthquake swarm north of Herðubreið mountain

During the night of 23-October-2022 an earthquake swarm started north of Herðubreið mountain. This looks like a tectonic earthquake swarm, rather then a magma related activity. At the writing of this article, over 500 earthquakes have been recorded.

Earthquake swarm north of Herðubreið mountain, a lot of red dots and green stars on the map. Located east of Askja volcano and south of Herðubreiðartögl volcano
Earthquake activity north of Herðubreið mountain. Picture is from Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake at the writing of this article had a magnitude Mw4,0 and one magnitude Mw3,1 earthquake took place. Second largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw3,3. This earthquake swarm is ongoing at the writing of this article and there’s still a risk of larger earthquakes happening north of Herðubreið mountain. The largest earthquake was felt in Akureyri according to news reports.