Earthquake activity has started to increase in Fagradalsfjall and Reykjanes volcanoes

Since yesterday (06-October-2022) the earthquake activity has been increasing in the volcanoes Fagradalsfjall and Reykjanes volcanoes. Please note that Global Volcanism Program has updated the informations regarding Fagradalsfjall mountain and now classifies it as its own volcano, this is after a new report and information from Icelandic Met Office. From now on I am going to use that classification when updating on activity in Fagradalsfjall volcano. I’ll not update older articles (too much work), but this also applies to them as such.

This also means that Fagradalsfjall is a new volcano in Iceland.

Earthquake activity in Fagradalsfjall volcano, Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja and Reykjanes volcano. Shown with red, orange and blue dots
Earthquake activity in Fagradalsfjall volcano and Reykjanes volcano along with Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity at start of an eruption cycle in Fagraldsfjall volcano are not large. They grow larger once magma has started to push into the crust, until then the earthquake activity only seems to happens with minor earthquake swarms.

Article updated with new information.

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Magnitude Mw3,5 earthquake south-west of Keilir mountain

During the night of 6-September-2022 an earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,5 took place 1,2 km south-west of Keilir mountain. The depth was 4,1 km. This earthquake was part of a swarm of earthquakes in that same area. All of them smaller than this earthquake.

Green star just south-west of Keilir mountain, with blue dots showing older and smaller earthquakes in the same line to Fagradalsfjall mountain
Earthquakes close to Keilir mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm and activity strongly suggests that a new earthquake time period is about to start. If it is going to end in a eruption like in July – August is a wait and see situation. How this develops is also impossible to know. It seems that for now, this earthquake swarm is over. Earthquake activity is ongoing and continuos on Reykjanes peninsula and has been since 2021 when cycle of earthquake and volcano activity started.

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Increasing pulse activity in the eruption signals end of the eruption

It has been reported in the news today (18-August-2022) at Rúv that more pulse activity has been seen. This results in lava being thrown up high in the air.

This is the same pattern as happened last year in the eruption in Geldingadalir valley. It took a while for that eruption to end and that might also be the case now.

Other than this, there have not been any other news of the eruption. There also has been interesting events out in the lava field, where the new lava is compressing the lava from 2021, resulting it being squeezed out at the edges. Since there is still flowing lava in the lava field from 2021 and that is going to be like that for many decades until this lava field cools through.

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Magnitude Mw3,0 earthquake in Kleifarvatn lake

Today (9-August-2022) at 11:43 UTC an earthquake with magnitude Mw3,0 took place in Kleifarvatn lake. At the writing of this article, no other larger earthquakes have taken place. Today there has been a swarm of small earthquakes in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano and in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Some of this earthquake activity are just tectonic earthquakes, this applies mostly to earthquakes that are in Kleifarvatn lake and east of Grindavík town (might also be east of Grindavík, but I am not sure). This are because of the inflation from the dyke in Fagradalsfjalli mountain that reaches to Keilir mountain. The earthquake activity before current eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain in Meradalir valley also caused some major fault line movements over a large area. What that is going to result in when it comes to magma movements is unclear for now.

Orange and red dots over Kleifarvatn lake and close to Fagradalsfjall mountain. Showing considerable earthquake activity on Reykjanes peninsula, in the area that is now volcanic active
Earthquake activity on Reykjanes peninsula and in Kleifarvatn lake and Fagradalsfjall mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Over the last two days there has not been any visibility on web cameras of the eruption. I am hoping that the weather might clear up later today or tomorrow but that is just wait and see. There has also been heavy rain in there and I don’t recommend that anyone going there in this weather. The area is also closed and now fines can be imposed by the police on people attempting to go there when the area is closed. Kids under the age of 12 have also been forbidden to walk to the eruption. Since the distance is 7 km one day (in total 14 km) over difficult area.

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Earthquake with magnitude Mw4,1 just west of Kleifarvatn lake

Today (7-August-2022) at 11:52 UTC an earthquake with magnitude of Mw4,1 took place just west of Keifarvatn lake. This earthquake was felt in Reykjavík.

Green star just west of Kleifarvatn lake, in swarm of red and orange dots that show earthquakes from today (red) and few hours ago (orange)
Earthquake activity west of Kleifarvatn lake. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity is ongoing in this area. This might be tectonic earthquakes because of pressure changes that are now taking place because of the eruption in Meradalir valley. That is however unclear in my view.

Reykjanes volcano

At 10:52 UTC an earthquake with magnitude Mw3,0 took place west of Grindavík in the Reykjanes volcano. This might not be an earthquake related to pressure changes because of the eruption in Merdadalir valley. I am however not sure if that is the case. The Reykjanes volcano is going to erupt one day, since it goes out in the ocean, an ocean eruption and island formation is a possibly. An eruption on land is also an possibility. When and how an eruption happens in Reykjanes volcano is something that just has to wait and see.

The eruption in Meradalir valley

Newest reports is that a pulsing activity has started in the largest eruption fissure in Meradalir valley. This suggest to me that the old lava that is now erupting is almost all erupted. When that magma supply is gone a short break in the eruption might happen and then a new, larger eruption is going to start with the new magma that is on the way to the Fagradalsfjall mountain. When and if this happens like this is a big wait and see.

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Update on 5-August-2022 on the eruption in Meradalir valley

This is a short update because not much has changed in the last 24 hours in the eruption in Meradalir valley in Fagradalsfjall mountain.

  • The eruption is now in 120 meter long eruption fissure. Currently the output of the eruption is around 18 m3/sec according to yesterday’s measurements.
  • The new lava has now flowed over the lava from last year (2021) and into eastern Meradalir. This is about 1 km distance that river of lava has flowed.  Image of that can be found here on Facebook.
  • According to chemical analyse of the magma. This is the same magma that was erupting when the eruption in the older crater stopped erupting in September. This shows that this magma is older and the new magma has not yet reached the surface.
  • Fissures on the ground north-east of the eruption site have started to move and getting wider according to experts that are in the area. This strongly suggests that an eruption is about to happen soon in that location. When it starts is impossible to know. But this is going to close one way to the eruption and if eruption starts in new location south of the crater, seeing and viewing this eruption might start to get difficult or impossible, at least the part in Meradalir were the current eruption is happening now.

I think that is all for this Friday. Next update is going to be on Friday 12-August unless something major happens in this eruption and that might just happen.

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Update on earthquake activity in Fagradalsfjall mountain area on 2-August-2022

This is a short article because the situation changes constantly.

This was not a night where many people in Reykjavík got a good night sleep. A magnitude Mw5,0 earthquake took place at 02:27 UTC and was felt in Reykjavík, few seconds earlier a magnitude Mw4,7 earthquake took place. Earlier three earthquakes with magnitudes of Mw4,3 to Mw4,5 had taken place, this was just around midnight and was also felt in Reykjavík. Over 10 000 earthquakes have been recorded since Saturday when this all started. The earthquake activity during the night was at the western end of Kleifarvatn lake and was for that reason felt clearly in Reykjavík. Minor damage was reported with the earthquake around midnight. Other reports of damage have not been reported so far.

Heavy green stars on Reykjanes peninsula, all over and closest to Reykjavík at Kleifarvatn lake
Heavy earthquake activity on Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The strong earthquakes during the night where fault earthquakes, that happen because of the inflation that is now taking place north of Fagradalsfjall mountain. GPS data has also been showing a interesting patter. There is now a deflation taking place in Gónhóll and the crater, while that area also seems to be on the move north (?). The 24 GPS data can be viewed here and 8 hours GPS data can be viewed here.

This earthquake activity is going to continue until an eruption starts. When that happens is impossible to know. More stronger earthquakes can be expected in next few hours and days on Reykjanes peninsula.

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Update on the earthquake swarm in Fagradalsfjall mountain (Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano)

This is going to be a short update because the situation is constantly changing. This update is written at 12:07 UTC on 31-July-2022.

At the writing of this article at 11:32 UTC no eruption has started in Fagradalsfjall mountain or nearby area. Over 3000 earthquakes have been recorded in the last 24 hours in and around Fagradalsfjall mountain since the earthquake activity started yesterday (30-July-2022). There have not been any major changes in the crater in Fagradalsfjall mountain, it does seem to release more gas than normal. That is at least how it appears, if that is real or not I don’t know.

A lot of red dots on Reykjanes peninusla as the heavy earthquake swarm continues. A lot of green stars in a line close to Fagradalsfjall mountain, showing the location of the strongest earthqaukes
Heavy earthquake activity on Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
The time index of the earthquake activity for the last 48 hours. Since 12 yesterday, there have been a continuos earthquake activity. Now the dots are yellow, orange and red after the age of the earthquakes
The earthquake activity in the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I think this might be a stronger activity than last year, but if that is correct estimate is a wait and see. There has not been any major change in GPS location and that suggest that the area is as inflated as it possibly can be. It is impossible to know when the magma breaks up in the crust, but earthquake activity suggests that it has reached the depth of 2 km, meaning the magma has moved up a lot in the last 24 hours, since this earthquake activity started on the depth of 8 km yesterday.

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Massive earthquake swarm in Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcano

I was busy today so I only just got home and this article is going to be a short one.

Today around (09:00 UTC) a small earthquake swarm took place in Fagradalsfjall mountain. At around 12:00 UTC an stronger and more massive earthquake swarm started in Fagradalsfjall mountain. At the writing of this article more than 700 earthquakes have been recorded and that is possibly an underestimate. At the writing of this article, largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw4,4 and more than eighteen earthquakes with magnitude above Mw3,0 had taken place. Many of them were felt in Reykjavík and other nearby towns.

Dense earthquake swarm on Reykjanes pensinsula in Fagradalsfjalli mountain. Many green stars in a row in a swarm of red dots
A lot of earthquake activity in Reykjanes peninsula in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Horizontal gram of the earthquake mangitudes of the earthquake swarm in Fagradalsfjall mountain. Most earthquakes from 06:00 and then a sudden jump in activity at 12:00. Several earthquakes reach magnitude 4 line and a lot the magnitude 3 line.
The time overview of the earthquake activity in Reykjanes peninsula and Fagradalsfjalli mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It is difficult to know when a eruption is going to start. I find that the most likely outcome of this earthquake swarm. The magnitude of the harmonic tremor suggests that an eruption would be larger than last eruption in Fagradalsfjalli mountain. It is impossible to know if that is going to happen until an eruption starts. Currently the harmonic tremor was or is dropping. I do think it is going to increase again since that seems to be a pattern in this cases of magma intrusion until an eruption starts.

I’ll post more updates as this continues. Rúv and mbl.is have turned on their web cameras. They can be found on YouTube.

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