Glacier flood confirmed from Skaftárkatlar cauldron

It was confirmed today (02-August-2018) that glacier flood has started from Skaftárkatlar cauldron. According to the news the GPS monitoring station close the cauldrons started to drop around midnight. Around same time harmonic tremor started to change on nearby SIL stations.

Harmonic tremor on nearby SIL station due to glacier flood. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It can take up to a week for the glacier flood to finish, but that depends on the amount of water in the cauldron that is emptying it self. According to the news the eastern Skaftákatlar cauldron is now emptying it self. It last did so three years ago.


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Minor glacier flood from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron

Few days ago a glacier flood started from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron. Due to how short time it is since last time glacier flood took place from the western cauldron a major glacier flood is not expected. No damage is also not expected from this glacier flood due to how small it is.
Harmonic tremor disturbance due to the glacier flood from western Skaftárkatlar cauldron. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

When the water pressure is released from the hydrothermal area that powers this cauldron, a spike in harmonic tremor is normally seen on nearby SIL station. The reason for this is unclear, with leading ideas that magma moves in the hydrothermal system when the pressure drops. The image above shows such harmonic tremor spike taking place at Jökulheimar SIL station. Eruption is not expected to happen due to this glacier flood, what happens is impossible to know for sure. Normally nothing more than just harmonic tremor spike happens.

Overview of week 44 activity in Iceland

This is a short overview of activity in week 44 in Iceland.

Tjörnes Fracture Zone (TFZ)

Earthquake swarm took place in TFZ in week 44. Largest earthquake had the magnitude of 3,5 and other earthquakes had the magnitude of 3,1. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.

Earthquake swarm on the TFZ. Largest earthquake swarm took place where the green stars are. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

A second smaller earthquake swarm took place south of Grímsey. It is not connected to the stronger earthquake swarm east of Grímsey island.

Bárðarbunga volcano

A magnitude 3,0 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This suggests increased pressure inside Bárðarbunga volcano. I forgot to save image of last week activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Tungnafellsjökull volcano

Earthquake activity continues in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. As before all of the earthquakes taking place are small in magnitude. At the moment the earthquake swarm activity appears to be centered around the top of the volcano, one of the main craters. Earthquake activity is steady in Tungafellsjökull volcano at the moment. It sometimes drop down, as is to be expected when magma moves inside volcano.

Earthquake activity in Tungnafellsjökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier

Recent survey of Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier has shown that the eastern cauldron has grown considerable in size. This is now thought to be the main reason why the glacier flood from eastern skaftárkatlar cauldron was the largest in recorded history. The cauldron is now 2,5 sq/km in size and 150 meters deep. Video of the overflight can be found here (Facebook). Measurements and other details can be found here at University of Iceland Earth science website (Icelandic). This are early results from recent survey.

Other things

Please remember to support my work with donations or by using Amazon. Due to problems with the Danish tax authorities I did not get my social welfare paid out this month in Iceland. Reason being that I have not got my copy of the tax statement for the year 2014, that I have . I hope this is resolved in November as has been promised to me. This however means that I have to use the salary for last months work to survive this month, money that I was saving in order to pay for moving cost when I move back to Denmark. If this is not resolved by December, I have to go on emergency income from my municipality. I won’t move to Denmark until this issue with the Danish tax is resolved. The temporary work that I was in is over so I’m going to be updating now when things happen in Iceland or close to it.

Once I’m back in Denmark I can start uploading detailed images of earthquakes and keep a real time watch about what is going on in Iceland. Its difficult for me to do that at the moment.

Glacier flood from Skaftárkatlar cauldrons and other updates

This is going to be a short article since I don’t have a time to write a long one.

The glacier flood from Skaftárkatlar cauldrons is mostly over. There continues to be a lot of water in rivers that were flooded, with the flood peak being at 2200 m³/s (uncorrected). Some damage has taken place on roads and few bridges, with one major bridge almost collapsing from the river eating into the river banks. A graph showing this glacier flood in realation to older glacier flood from the eastern skaftárkatlar cauldron can be found here (Icelandic news). The glacier water that did flood into a lava field (that erupted from Laki) is still on its way and is going to reappear in few days as clean water, a lot of clean water that might create problem in nearby rivers and nearby roads if any exist. I don’t know the layout of roads and such in this part of Iceland so I don’t release what type of damage might happen. Image of the largest damaged bridge can be found here (Icelandic news), there is a video in this news.

Bárðarbunga volcano

There has been a slight increase in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano this week. A magnitude 3,1 earthquake took place along with little increase in smaller earthquakes. There have also been clusters of small earthquakes been appearing in east and in south (both east and west) part of the volcano. This activity suggest that new magma is flowing into the magma chamber at depth and the pressure has increased. Maybe not to eruption levels at the moment, but that moment is getting closer as the time passes.

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

North Langjökull volcano (Hveravellir)

Earlier this week an earthquake swarm took place close to Hveravellir (volcano). This earthquake swarm was not large and the largest earthquake only had the magnitude of 2,5 (or around that number. I was working when this happened and I did not have chance to check or save the data). Earthquake activity in this area has been increasing slowly for the past 10 years. It is unclear why that is happening.

The earthquake activity in Hveravellir volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Western Fracture Zone

There has been for the past few days earthquake activity in WFZ. This earthquake activity appears to be taking place in a extinct volcano in this area. I don’t think that this volcano is named and I don’t know the name of the mountains at the location were the earthquake activity is taking place.

The earthquake activity in WFZ today (04-October-2015). Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

I do expect the earthquake activity to continue in this area for next few days. Due to how rare earthquakes are in this area there is a risk of sharp and strong activity. It might also last for a long period of time, up to weeks or months at the longest.


Please remember to support my work with donations. At the moment I’m trying to collect as much money as I can before I move back to Denmark. I am also trying to save up for a cheap new laptop so that I can write when I am traveling, in the case anything happens in Iceland. It is going to cost me 40.000,00 ISK (~280€/315USD). Currently I’m doing full workday until the end of October (when not in school). To clarify, the work is hard and they only pay legal minimal wages and overtime pay (1 – 3 hours each day).

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Glacier flood from Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier

Yesterday (16-June-2015) a small glacier flood started in Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. The glacier flood can go up to 900m³/sec at its largest. The main risk from this glacier flood are the gases released into the air once the glacier water gets into the river, it is the advised that people stay away from the glacier rivers called Skaftá, it is also advised that people stay away from the edges of the glaciers named Skaftárjökull glacier, Tungárjökuls and Síðujökuls. It is unclear how big this glacier flood is going to be and from what cauldron is emptying, there is a good chance the cauldron that is emptying is the western one, since the eastern one empted last year and does not hold a lot of water at the moment.

Following this type of glacier flood a peak of harmonic tremor is detected from the cauldron that is emptying, it is thought that this is due to the hydrothermal vents (hot springs) that power those cauldrons start to boil when the pressure is released. There is a small chance eruption taking place in this area due to glacier flood when the pressure of the water is released, this is a chance, but it remains a small one.

Icelandic news

Skaftárhlaup líklega hafið (Rú, Icelandic, Map)
Lítið Skaft­ár­hlaup lík­lega hafið (, Icelandic)
Skaftárhlaup mjög líklega hafið (Ví, Icelandic, image)


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Article updated at 21:52 UTC.

Skaftárkatlar cauldrons full of water [Updated]

According to recent pictures and from Rúv News it appears that both Skaftárkatlar cauldrons are full of water at the moment. They might burst at any moment and create glacier flood, the right cauldron has not flooded for the past three years according to Rúv News, while the left cauldron flooded last year. When they might flood is impossible to know, but it is expected to happen in next days to weeks.

Update 1: Icelandic Meteorological Office has now declared that Skaftárhlaup glacier flood is going to happen soon. A glacier flood can start at any time without warning. The risk comes from gases in the water, along with the floodwater it self as it can reach up to 1500 m3 at peaks levels. There is also a risk the flood might go into new rivers and those rivers has bridges that might not be able withstand such glacier flood.

Details in Rúv News

Mikið vatn í eystri Skaftárkatli (Rú, pictures)
Video of the Skaftárkatlar cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier.

Skaftárhlaup vofir yfir og skapar hættu (Rú, Icelandic)

Information in Icelandic from Icelandic Meteorological Office

Yfirvofandi Skaftárhlaup og möguleikar á hlaupi í Hverfisfljóti (, Icelandic)

Blog post updated at 18:04 UTC on 14-August-2013.
Blog post updated at 19:04 UTC on 14-August-2013.