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.

Small earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano

Today (20-May-2022) at 15:45 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,1 took place in Hengill volcano. I don’t know if this earthquake was felt.

Green star in Hengill volcano, just north-west of Hveragerði town. Few red dots around the green star shwoing smaller earthquakes
Earthquake activity in Hengill volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

At the the writing of this article there has not been any more activity in this area. That might change without warning.

Earthquake activity in Hofsjökull volcano

Today (20-May-2022) at 15:24 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,2 took place in Hofsjökull volcano. Two smaller earthquakes had happened before the larger earthquake.

Green star in Hofsjökull glacier and volcano caldera rim on Icelandic Met Office map that shows the caldera rim on he map
Earthquake activity in Hofsjökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There is no other earthquake activity following this. Earthquakes are rare in Hofsjökull volcano but they do happen every few years. There are no signs of any other activity in Hofsjökull volcano.

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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Magma dyke has formed between Þorbjörn mountain and Eldvörp on Reykjanes peninsula

According to news today (18-May-2022) and based on recent measurements, a magma dyke has formed between Þorbjörn mountain and Eldvörp on Reykjanes peninsula. Eldvörp on Reykjanes peninsula where formed during last eruption cycle in the volcano of Reykjanes during 12th and early 13th century, exact times are poorly known. This is in a volcano named Reykjanes and is not connected to Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano that erupted in 2021 (Fagradalsfjall mountain).

The dyke is shallow and narrow according the news that quote scientists from University of Iceland, Earth science department and Icelandic Met Office. The length of dyke is 7 to 9 km and depth is down to 4 to 8 km (?). This also shows up in the GPS data and other data that Icelandic Met Office has access to (I don’t have this level of access).

Red dots north of Grindavík town and a green star showing the main centre of earthquake activity in Reykjanes volcano
Earthquake activity north of Grindavík town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is not possible to know when a eruption start or in what area. The main risk areas now are Blue Lagoon, HS hydrothermal energy thermal plant. The town of Grindavík is slightly south of this and is possibly in danger. How this goes depends on where the eruption starts and how large it is going to be. Smaller eruption is less of a problem than a big eruption in this area. All that can be done now is to continue to monitor the situation.

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Magnitude Mw4,3 earthquake in Eldvörp (Reykjanes volcano)

This is a short article about ongoing activity in Reykjanes volcano.

At 17:38 UTC an magnitude Mw4,3 earthquake took place in Eldvörp crater row. This earthquake was felt over a wide area of south Iceland and on Reykjanes peninsula.

A lot of earthquake activity west of Grindavík town in Eldvörp. A lot of green stars in this area along with new red dots showing smaller earthquakes.
Strong earthquake activity west of Grindavík town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

As it currently is, the earthquake activity in this area is going to continue to increase until an eruption starts. When that might happen is not something I can predict.

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Updated at 20:52. Icelandic Met Office downgraded this earthquake when it was reviewed again. This article has been updated in accordance with the new information.

Strong earthquake swarm in Eldvörpum (Reykjanes volcano)

Today (15-May-2022) a strong earthquake activity started in Eldvörp crater crow west of Grindavík town. Largest earthquake at the writing of this article had a magnitude of Mw4,1. Stronger earthquakes are a possibility. Total of five earthquakes with magnitude stronger than Mw3,0 have taken place since 11:00 UTC this morning. More than 100 earthquakes that are smaller in magnitude have happened since then.

Five green stars on top of each other west of Grindavík town on Reykjanes peninsula. The area is swarmed with smaller earthquakes and older earthquakes from recent days, few green stars out in the ocean from older earthquake swarm
Earthquakes in Reykjanes volcano in Eldvörp crater row. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am not seeing any clear signs that this earthquake activity is because of tectonic activity. This earthquake activity is in my personal view because of magma trying to find a path to the surface, something that it seems to struggle with. A process that was also seen just before the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain. The difference now is that an eruption in this area might be a magnitude or two larger than an eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain, until an eruption starts, this is just a speculation. It is impossible to know when an eruption is going to start at this location, or if it is going to start. That is the most likely outcome of all this, but volcanoes remain unpredictable.

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Strong earthquake in Brennisteinsfjöll volcano

Today (14-May-2022) at 16:56 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw4,8 took place in Brennisteinsfjöll volcano. This earthquake was clearly felt in Reykjavík, Selfoss and large parts of south and south-west Iceland. Depth of this earthquake seems to be 7,8 km.

Green star on the east part of Reykjanes peninsula in a area called Þrensli. With several red dots around showing smaller earthquakes. To the west there is a dense swarm of earthquakes in Reykjanes volcano and green stars to west of that
Earthquake activity in Þrensli, just south of Reykjavík city. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is unclear in my personal view if this is just a normal fault earthquake that might be possibly connected to SISZ or if this is because of stress changes from all the inflation of Krýsuvík and Fagradalsfjall volcanoes. There is a chance of larger earthquake in this area following this earthquake. When that earthquake might happen is impossible to know.

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Article updated at 04:56 UTC on 15-05-2022.

Ongoing earthquake swarm in Reykjanes volcano

There is a an ongoing earthquake swarm in Reykjanes volcano and it has been going on for more than a week now. Location of this swarm has moved a little and the main earthquake activity is now at Reykjanestá area out in the ocean. There have been five earthquakes with magnitude above Mw3,0 today (13-May-2022) and the largest so far had a magnitude of Mw3,5.

Five green stars on top of each other out in the ocean at Reykjanestá. A green star north of it from a unverified earthquake. Swarm of small earthquakes close to Grindavík town
Earthquake activity on Reykjanes ridge and on Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity suggests two things. Either the magma has not been able to find a path to the surface close to Grindavík town. The second option is that there are two dyke intrusions happening in Reykjanes volcano. This earthquake activity slows down but never fully stops it seems. It is unclear why that happens. I am expecting earthquake activity to get stronger until an eruption starts somewhere in Reykjanes volcano.

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Earthquake activity in new location in Reykjanes volcano

Today (10-May-2022) during the night an earthquake swarm started in a new location in the volcano Reykjanes. This location is about 11 km south of Keflavík International Airport, it is also close to a village named Hafnir. Largest earthquakes in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw3,0 and Mw3,2. The second earthquake was felt in the area. A lot of smaller earthquakes also took place at this location.

Two green stars on top of each other on the most west Reykjanes peninsula in Reykjanes volcano
Green stars in Reykjanes volcano where the activity took place. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity suggests that a new magma injection is taking place in this location. The chance of an eruption is in my view high for this location, when it might happen is impossible to know. There is a old lava field in this area and some say it might be from last ice age. I am not sure on the exact age of this lava field, the crater that created this old lava field has eroded away by the ocean centuries ago.

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