Bárðarbunga volcano earthquake swarm (Week 01 2016)

Current earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to be a regular feature until next eruption. Due to that I won’t write about all the earthquakes that happens, just when a magnitude 3,0 or larger earthquakes take place. The situation in Bárðarbunga volcano and nearby areas is getting more complex due to increasing magma activity at depth and surprising high number of them are creating pathways to the shallow crust. Since the eruption in Holuhraun ended there has been increase in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano, this is best seen by almost weekly magnitude 3,0 or stronger earthquakes. What has also been appearing over the past few weeks is deep activity in Trölladyngja, activity that started on 28 km depth and up to 20 km depth currently. That process only took around 1,5 – 2,5 months to happen (short amount of time). The activity in Trölladyngja is troubling in my view, since it’s my opinion that if the magma manages to create a pathway to the surface it is going to start an eruption in that area. Magma below Trölladyngja might also stop in it’s track, if it gets close enough to the surface without eruption it might create a new hill or new hydrothermal area while it’s cooling down. Whatever happens in the end is going to be interesting.

Latest earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

The second issue that is now starting to show it self is Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano, also known as Hamarinn. Today a magnitude 3,2 earthquake took place in it, not far from Skaftárkötlum cauldrons, the depth was 0,7 km. The earthquake today in Bárðarbunga volcano also had the magnitude of 3,2 with the depth of 0,1 km. Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano is a complex volcano with shallow magma chambers. After the last glacier flood it was clear that hydrothermal activity in Skaftárkatlar cauldrons is increasing the hydrothermal areas are growing in size. This means there is more energy flowing into the hydrothermal systems and the only way that happens if new hotter magma into the volcano. This development is troubling, both in short term and long term. This increases the risk of minor eruption in Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano considerable in my view. Risk of larger eruption in Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano has also gone up. Last eruption in Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano that was large took place in the year 1910 and lasted from June to October that year. Last minor eruption in my view took place in July 2011, lasting for few hours. That eruption has not been confirmed by geologists yet, I don’t know why that is. A glacier flood followed that eruption.

Other complexities in all of this are random fissures that might open up under unknown dykes, starting a eruption in areas that might not have seen a eruption in a long time. Along with new magma dykes going somewhere new. Whatever happens it is going to be interesting and this is going to take a long time. It takes Bárðarbunga volcano, since it starts it eruption cycle up to 20 years to finish once it’s started. The eruption cycle that started in 1862 did not end until 1910. A new eruption cycle started in 2014 and it’s ongoing. The longest eruption cycle I see in GVP data is a eruption cycle that started in 1697, it didn’t end until the year 1797.

Hekla volcano

A single earthquake with the magnitude of 1,7 took place in Hekla volcano today. Nothing else happened following this earthquake. This means Hekla volcano remains quiet.

Frost quakes

It’s cold now in Iceland. This means frost quakes have been appearing on Iceland Met Office SIL stations. This has also been increasing the noise levels on some SIL stations (the blue band when seeing harmonic tremor levels).

History of eruptions in Iceland

I’ve added a short link to a post that a made back in 2011 and I continue to update. This post has all of the eruptions in Iceland since the year ~900. This is good for people that want to check for historical eruptions in Iceland.

Article updated at 00:25 UTC on 11-January-2016. Updated for slight increase in clarity of wording.

Frost quakes in Iceland highland

At the moment there is a lot of frost quake activity in the Icelandic highlands. This happens because of the cold weather that is in Iceland at the moment.

Some of the frost quakes have decent quality in the SIL data. But this also creates the problem that it makes harder to see real earthquakes in this if they have also poor quality in the SIL data on the Icelandic Met Office web site. This frost quake activity is going to continue until the ground and the lakes are completely frozen over in the Icelandic highland. Frost quake activity might start elsewhere in Iceland also, if it gets cold enough for this to happen and if the ground supports it also.

Something odd is going on at Krýsuvík volcano [speculation]

Please note! What goes below here are speculations based on what I am observing. Nothing might happen, but then again something might happen. We just have to wait and see what happens when it comes down to it.

I have been observing a slight change in the lower frequency band (0.5 – 1 Hz) at Krýsuvík SIL station. This change reminds me of a harmonic tremor of short. But it is not strong enough to appear clearly on Krýsuvík SIL station. But that SIL station is directly on top of Krýsuvík volcano. There have not been a lot of earthquake following this change in the lower frequency bands at Krýsuvík SIL station.

Picture from Icelandic Met Office web site. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office. This plot was saved at 02:11 UTC on the 05.03.2011. The changes can be seen on 0.5 – 1Hz close to the end.

I am not sure what is going on. But there might be a small chance that this is a magma that is on the move. The second option might also be that a new hydrothermal area did appear close to the Krýsuvík SIL station. If this is magma, then a volcano eruption in the area is not far off (days, weeks, months?). But only time is going to tell for sure what is happening.

Other note: The activity in north Iceland and in the highlands are frost quakes. But it is extremely cold in this area of Iceland at the moment. More frost quakes can appear on IMO maps in the next few hours.

Frost earthquakes around Eyjafjallajökull volcano and Mýrdalsjökull

Over the last few hours it has been getting cold. The frost has been getting down to -10C and even colder in the higher areas. This has started a interesting events that takes place in Iceland (this might happen elsewhere too). But the events that take place here are frost earthquakes. This are not real earthquakes, but a event that the frost creates and are in fact false earthquakes. Most of them are too small and too poor in terms of quality to be located by the SIL network that Icelandic Met Office has. But when there is a sudden drop in temperature the frost earthquakes can appear on the SIL network, but with a extremely low quality. The driving force behind this earthquakes is water that is freezing in the ground and in rocks (cracks).

During the next 24 hours or so there is going to be a cold snap in Iceland with temperature going down to -20C in some areas, and even lower at glacier and higher areas. So we can expect a lot of frost earthquakes (false earthquakes) in that time. So the Icelandic Met Office maps might start to look interesting and with a lot of earthquakes in the next 24 hours.

Picture: Icelandic Met Office Picture saved: 6th January 2011 at 20:39 UTC.

Frost earthquakes on Fagurholsmyri SIL station close to Öræfajökull volcano and Esjufjöll volcano. This frost earthquakes are not located by the automatic SIL system.

The weather forecast in Iceland: Temperature

Iceland news about this. Use Google translate at own risk.

Frostbrestir í Eyjafjallajökli (Vísir.is)

Text is updated at 22:46 UTC on 6th of January 2011. News link is added.