Earthquake with magnitude Mw3,6 in Grímsfjall volcano, no eruption yet

I’ve been trying to wait for information about the activity in Grímsfjall volcano. A new cauldron was discovered yesterday (05-December-2021). It is possible that an small eruption took place in the side of Grímsfjall volcano and didn’t break the glacier. It might have been a short eruption if that is what happened. Harmonic tremor data is unclear on this so I can’t give any good answer. At 06:16 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,6 took place. I poorly recorded it my seismometer and it seems to have been a low period earthquake. Suggesting that a magma pushing up was the reason this earthquake happened.
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Sharp change in harmonic tremor in Grímsfjall volcano

This situation is unclear and nothing has been confirmed as of writing of this article. This seems to have started about 1 hour ago and there has been a change in the harmonic tremor levels at Grímsfjall volcano. This is not yet the super sharp change I did see in May-2011 when that eruption happened. This is however is possibly a change in harmonic tremor that is consistent with magma moving inside the volcano system. Earthquake activity has been minimal in the last 24 hours.

Harmonic tremor on blue, green and purple harmoniuc tremor bands going up sharply in the last one hour.
Harmonic tremor changes in Grímsfjall volcano in the last one hour (article written at 17:34 UTC on 04-December-2021). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This is a monitoring situation currently. Sometimes an eruption happens after a glacier flood or doing a glacier flood in Grímsfjall volcano. At other times however nothing happens and it is not possible to know what happens now.

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Glacier flood starting from Grímsfjall volcano

It was announced today (24-November-2021) that Grímsvötn lake in Grímsfjall volcano is about to start. It is going to take the glacier flood few hours to days to get to the glacier rivers that flow south of Vatnajökull glacier.

This also risks an eruption starting in Grímsfjall volcano. If that actually happens remains to be seen. Last glacier flood in Grímsvötn lake was in 2018, but that did not result in a eruption.

Earthquake activity and more in Grímsfjall volcano (Grímsvötn)

Yesterday (29-January-2021) at 23:34 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw2,4 took place in Grímsfjall volcano (Grímsvötn). There where few smaller earthquakes before and after this largest earthquake. There where no signs of change in harmonic tremor following this earthquake activity.

In the center of Vatnajökull glacier there is a volcano Grímsfjall. East of that a yellow dot shows the location of an earthquake with magnitude of Mw2,4. Grímsfjall volcano is marked by a triangle that shows the location of a seismic sensor to record earthquakes in this area.
Earthquake activity in Grímsfjall volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It has also been reported in the news that glacier plate that is on top of Grímsfjall volcano is now the highest since 1996. Inflation is now taking place in eastern part of Grímsfjall volcano, in a location called Eystri Svíahnúkur. Magma pressure is today (30-January-2021) equal or higher than when the May 2011 eruption took place in Grímsfjall volcano.

Sources / News in Icelandic

Íshellan í Grímsvötnum ekki mælst hærri í 25 ár (Icelandic, Rúv.is)
Fundur í vísindaráði almannavarna (Icelandic, Almannavarnir.is)

Grímsfjall volcano moved to yellow warning for air traffic

Today (30-September-2020) Icelandic Met Office moved Grímsfjall volcano to a yellow warning status for air traffic. This strongly suggests that Icelandic Met Office thinks that an eruption might happen in next few days to weeks. It is expected that an eruption might happen if a glacier flood happens from Grímsvötn glacier lake that is inside Grímsfjall volcano caldera.


Current status of Grímsfjöll volcano is yellow. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is difficult to know if this is going to be a large or small eruption until it happens. Best thing to do right now is to keep monitoring Grímsfjall volcano activity to see if anything is going on. Currently everything is quiet.

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Increased gas and hydrothermal activity detected in Grímsfjall volcano

It was reported yesterday (10-June-2020) in the news at Stöð 2 (Channel 2) that hydrothermal activity and gas output from Grímsfjall volcano has been increasing in recent months. This has been followed by increased earthquake activity in Grímsfjall volcano. There is now a risk of an eruption following a glacier flood from Grímsvötn lake but according to the Vísir news the lake is getting close to full or at the point where it can flood and empty the crater. That can start an eruption because of the pressure drop of the magma.


Seismic energy released by earthquakes in Grímsfjall volcano since last eruption in May 2011. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is expected by experts that next eruption in Grímsfjall volcano is going to be a normal eruption but the eruption in May 2011 was the largest eruption in Grímsfjall volcano in 138 years. Since last eruption of this size took place in the year 1873 and then it took 10 years before next eruption took place.

There has also been a minor increase in earthquake activity in Þórðarhryrna volcano but because of lack of data it is difficult to know what that means. Last eruption in Þórðarhyrna volcano ended in January 12, 1904. It erupted at same time as Grímsfjall volcano according to historical documentation.

Icelandic News in Icelandic

Merki um aukið útstreymi kvikugass úr Grímsvötnum (Vísir.is)

Earthquake in Grímsfjall volcano yesterday (06. March 2020)

Yesterday (06. March 2020) an earthquake with the magnitude of Mw3,1 took place in Grímsfjöll volcano. No other earthquakes followed this earthquake and no change in harmonic tremor was detected.


Green star shows the earthquake in Grímsvötn volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

After the large eruption in Grímsfjall volcano in May 2011 there are going to be few more years until next eruption in Grímsfjall volcano. When that happens is impossible to know.

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Earthquake activity in Grímsvötn (Grímsfjall) and Þórðarhyrna (Thordarhyrna) volcanoes

Sorry for the late article. I’ve been busy in other project that involves taking a lot picture and putting them up on my Instagram that can be found here.

Two earthquake swarms have appeared that I am now keeping an eye out for. This is earthquake activity in Grímsvötn (Grímsfjöll) volcano and then in Þórðarhyrna volcano (Thordarhyrna). Last time Þórðarhyrna erupted was in the year 1902 and that was at the same time an eruption took place in Grímsvötn volcano. Over the last few months there has been increase in earthquake activity in Þórðarhyrna and Grímsvötn volcanoes. Its not completely symmetrical increase in earthquakes, but close to it as of writing of this article. Last time Þórðarhyrna erupted without an eruption in Grímsvötn volcano was in the year 1887 (15th August) to 1889 (?).


Earthquake activity in Grímsvötn and Þórðarhyrna volcanoes. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is going to be a serious problem if an eruption happens in Þórðarhyrna volcano because that volcano is completely covered with a glacier that is up to 200 meters thick or thicker. Other risk factor is that Grímsvötn volcano might erupt outside of the caldera resulting in glacier floods and other problems.

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Earthquake activity in Þórðarhyrna volcano (Thordarhyrna)

During the night of 3-December-2018 earthquake activity started in Þórðarhyrna volcano (no GVP profile, under Grímsvötn volcano profile). Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of 2,1 and second largest earthquake had a magnitude of 2,0.


Þórðarhyrna volcano is located south-west of Grímsvötn volcano. Yellow dots on this image. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Last eruption in Þórðarhyrna volcano was in the year 1902 December to 1904 12-January and was a VEI=4 eruption. An eruption happened in Grímsvötn volcano at the same time.

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Earthquake activity in Grímsvötn (Grímsfjall) volcano

During the night of 23-November-2018 there was an magnitude 3,1 earthquake in Grímsvötn volcano (Grímsfjall). Only one aftershock appeared and it had a magnitude of 0,9.


Earthquake activity in Grímsvötn volcano (green star). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

No change happened on tremor plots following this earthquake activity. Last eruption in Grímsvötn took place in 2011.

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