Signs that a eruption in Grímsfjall volcano might be close

Over the past two weeks there have been signs appearing that a eruption might be close in Grímsfjall volcano. But a GPS station named Skrokkalda. This GPS station has started to move north, but this indicates that inflation has started in Grímsfjall volcano at full power. This did also happen at the same GPS station in 2004 before the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano that same year. But it is debated if this movement was created by ice or by a dike intrusion in Grímsfjall volcano. It is my just my personal opinion on this movement that takes place at the GPS station.

It currently remains to be seen if this northerly movement continues or if it starts to deflate again. So far this is the only indicator that Grímsfjall volcano is getting ready for a eruption. When this did happen in the year 2004 it was almost three weeks after this process started until a eruption took place. But then a glacier flood did trigger the start of the eruption in the year 2004.

For the moment the only thing to do is to wait and see what happens with Grímsfjall volcano. Nobody can tell how long the wait is going to be.

The earthquake swarm at Arnarvatns highlands

The earthquake swarm that started two days ago at Arnarvatns highlands continues in similar manner as was seen in the earthquake swarm that took place under Blöndulón lake few weeks ago.This earthquake swarm is taking place in a fracture zone known as West Iceland Fracture Zone (WIFZ). But that fracture zone sits between East Iceland Rift Zone and Snæfellsnes volcano zone. This area is known for strong earthquakes, but in the year 1974 there was a magnitude earthquake that had the size Mb5.5 to Mw6.1 (I am not sure on the exact size of this earthquake). According to news there is speculation that this earthquake swarm is somehow connected to the earthquake swarm that did happen under Blöndulón lake few weeks ago. This area is unpopulated and several tens of km to next farm in this area.


Click on the picture of better resolution. Picture is taken from here (Icelandic).

Explanation for the numbers in the picture. The number account for the fracture direction in the area. 1: Northwest-Southwest fracture. 2: West-East fracture. 3: North-South fracture. 4: Northeast-Southwest fracture.

Where the earthquakes are currently taking place are on the west-east fractures in the area. There are no active volcano where the earthquakes take place that I know of. The active volcanoes are south and west (Snæfellsnes volcanoes) of the current location of the earthquakes.

Currently is unclear if this activity did trigger earthquakes in the rift zone. That is Thingvellir and nearby areas that show earthquakes on IMO maps. This might just be poor locations from the SIL system. It is also a question if this earthquake activity is the reason for earthquakes close to Geysir (volcano) geothermal area.


Click on the picture for a full resolution. Picture is from Icelandic Met Office web site.

The earthquake swarm at 13:10 on the 6th of December 2010. Picture is from the IMO web site.

At current time is remains unclear if this earthquake activity is a pre-events before a bigger earthquake in this area. But about ten years ago there was a earthquake swarm south of this location with many earthquakes reaching ML4.0+ in size. But in any case it is worth keeping tab in this earthquake activity, as it might signal more interesting times ahead in this area. But that is just speculation on my part. Earthquake activity might fall down to nothing (normal for this area) in a short time span.

Due to how fractured this area appears to be. I am not recording the earthquakes in this area properly, as the energy of the earthquake wave appears to vanish rather quickly due to the fractures that are between me and the earthquakes that take place (the wave energy that goes north in this case). But this was not the case with earthquake swarm that took place in Blöndulón lake.

Icelandic News of this earthquake swarm. Use Google Translate at own risk.

Skjálftahrina stendur enn yfir (Rúv.is)
Skjálftavirkni á Arnarvatnsheiði (mbl.is)

Text updated at 13:57 UTC on 6th of December 2010. Minor error fixed.
Text updated at 08:33 UTC on 9th of December 2010. Error fixed.

British Geological Survey costs the set-up of six seismometers around Eyjafjallajökull and Katla

According to Rúv it appears that British Geological Survey did pay for the set-up of six seismometers around Eyjafjallajökull and Katla volcanoes. This seismometers are able to detect lower frequencies better then current seismometers around Eyjafjallajökull and Katla. This type of sensors are normally called broadband seismometers and have frequency range down to 0.001Hz and up to 60Hz. I do not know how far the sensors that BSG did cost. But I am going to assume that they go down a bit farther then IMO sensors in the area. According to Rúv the sensors are already up and where on-line earlier this year.

They are located at following location.
Mælifellssandi not far from Slysaöldu, Rjúpnafell east of Mýrdalsjökul, two are located both sides of Eyjafjallajökull on Ásólfsskálaheiði at south and Smjörgili at north not far from Gígjökli glacier. Fifth sensor is going to be set-up in Pétursey in Mýrdal. The location of the six sensors has not been decided yet.

The cost of this project is about 100.000 pound according to Rúv.

The reason for this is that authorities in UK (and Europe) want to get more warning if there is a big eruption in Katla volcano. Mostly to prevent the air chaos that took place when Eyjafjallajökull erupted earlier this year.

Five sensors where in the area before. The sensor net is going to be really sensitive when the new sensors go on-line at IMO headquarters in Reykjavík. But more sensors give more accurate location of earthquakes, both in depth and location.

The news from Rúv in Icelandic. Use Google Translate at own risk.

Bretar setja upp jarðskjálftamæla (Rúv.is)

Current ongoing earthquake swarms in Iceland

At current time there are two main earthquake swarms taking place in Iceland. The first one is at Krísuvík volcano and has been going on since early this week. Currently there is nothing to suggest that it going to end any time soon. This earthquake swarm however sometimes stops for several hours and up to one to two days at the longest. Most of the earthquakes taking place are less then mag 2.5 in size. It is not clear why this earthquakes are taking place. This might be tectonic process or something to do with the magma intrusion that is taking place in Krísuvík volcano.

The second earthquake swarm is taking place at Herðubreiðartögl with earthquake taking place at Herðubreið at it’s north limits. Several mag 3.0+ earthquakes have taken place. This earthquakes appears to be due to tectonic process in the area. But I have heard theories that this process might have started due to influx of magma into the Askja volcano that is close to earthquake swarms in Herðubreiðartögl. At current time I cannot confirm that this ideas are correct or not. This earthquake swarm is ongoing and does not appear to be ending. But there are breaks in it that last from few hours and up to one day at the longest. Please note that Herðubreiðarfjöll is a central volcano that is active. It is not on the GVP volcano list for the area. This volcano is located inside Askja fissure swarm and has many active fault lines that cross it from north-south.

The newest earthquake swarm that appears to be at slow start is taking place in Esjufjöll volcano. But since activity started there in early October 2010 earthquakes appears to be on the rise in Esjufjöll volcano. It is worth noticing that earthquake swarms in Esjufjöll appear to start slowly but they due appear to peak after 20 to 180 hours after they starts. This earthquake activity is due to new flow of magma into Esjufjöll volcano.

Maps of geology in Iceland

Here are two maps of the geology in Iceland. The first map shows the fault zones with the active volcanoes in Iceland. Also in this map the age of the rock is shown. The second map shows the rock type, if it is acid, basic and so on.


A map of Iceland with fault zones and active volcanoes. This map is not up to date with newest research and stuff like that. Click on the picture to get a full size.


This map shows rock type in Iceland. Explanation is to the right. Click on the picture to get a full size.

Both pictures are from this web site here.

New Geophone station (hopefully) starting in January 2011

I am going to setup a new Geophone station in January 2011. The station is going to be located on the Vatnsnes peninsula where i currently live (Hvammstangi). But it is going to be located on a remote farm in that area.

I still need to by few things for this station. What I am currently missing is a GPS clock (going to buy that in two weeks time or so), WLAN hardware and antennas for getting a WLAN signal over 500 meters distance and a PC for the software that reads the data from the geophone. If everything works out I should be able have the station up and running before I move to Denmark. This station is going to take over the job of Hvammstangi geophone station that I currently have at my home.

Geothermal areas in Krísuvík volcano (videos)

Text is from youtube video!

Madly bubbling and spectacularly bad smelling hot spring area near Krisuvik, about an hour’s drive South of Reykjavik in Iceland

Text is from Google Video!

Fúlipollur í Krísuvík – The name literally means foul puddle.

Text is from youtube video!

( video 2002, Iceland). The geothermal area Krýsuvík is situated on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. It is in the south of Reykjanes in the middle of the fissure zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which traverses Iceland diagonally from the south-west to the north-east of the island.

Krýsuvík is one of Iceland’s high temperature areas. This becomes visible through the sulphur springs and hot springs at Seltún and another similar area nearby.

At Seltún, one finds by now some explanations to the phenomena to see, a wooden show path and hiking trails leading up the mountain Sveifluháls behind.

KrýsuvíkThe biggest lake in the area, Kleifarvatn, began to diminish after a big earthquake in 2000; 20% of its surface has since disappeared.

Some of the minor lakes show also the influence of volcanism, so for example Grænavatn with its luminous green colour.

In this area, there had been some farms till the 19th century. But they had to be given up. Only a small chapel, Krísuvíkurkirkja built in 1857, remains and can be visited.

Krísuvík volcano starts to inflate at fast rate

There is currently no shortage of volcano news coming from Iceland at this moment. The newest volcano to make the news is the Krísuvík volcano. Small area of Krísuvík volcano have been inflating during the last few months with following micro-earthquakes swarms in the area where the inflation takes place. This process started last year (2009). But then the inflation was 30mm (3 centimeters). But last winter a process of deflation started and lasted until early spring this year (2010). But then it started to inflate again. I am assuming that the current levels of inflation is something similar to the inflation that was seen in the year 2009. The area in question is south-west of Kleifarvatn lake.

The inflation is currently taking place on the depth of 3 to 4 km according to geological scientists. This intrusion of magma is also having effects on geothermal features present in the area. But that makes new hot springs and makes current hot springs more active and warmer, it also changes them and often dramatically. It might also create new hot spring areas where no hot springs where before. This inflation process has been followed by a swarms of micro-earthquakes in the area where the inflation is taking place.

According to the news the Icelandic Met Office has alerted the Icelandic Civil Protection Authorities about the changes in this volcano. Two new GPS stations have also been installed in the area to monitor the inflation that is currently taking place. At current time scientists are not expecting a eruption in the area any time soon. But as history has shown that can change without warning and quickly. The authorities and IMO have increased there surveillance in the area due to this inflation. If a eruption takes place the type is going to be a Hawaiian type of eruption, unless a fissure opens up under water or in the ocean. Last eruption that took place in Krísuvík volcano was in the year 1340.

Icelandic news, in Icelandic. Please use Google Translate (at your own risk)

Grannt fylgst með landrisi við Krýsuvík (Vísir.is)
Telja eldgos ekki í uppsiglingu en ástæða að vakta svæðið vel (Víkurfréttir)

Channel 2 news video (flash) about this activity. In Icelandic.

Updated at 23:52 UTC on the 30th of November 2010. News video added and name error fixed.

Small streams around Hekla volcano dry up

According to Icelandic news there is little water in small streams that come from Hekla volcano. This lack of water in streams from Hekla volcano is often looked as indicators that a eruption is going to happen in coming months. This phenomenon has happened before a eruption took place in Hekla volcano, the last one that took place in the year 2000. But according to old news article (in Icelandic, pdf) (from the year 1995) this phenomenon was also observed before the big eruption in the year 1755. But I do not know if this happens always (it seems to do so. But I don’t have it confirmed) or just before some eruptions.

There has been drought in the area. But that might explain in part this lack of water in streams coming from Hekla volcano. But the rest of this lack of water might be related to changes in the area before Hekla volcano starts erupting. Far as I know there has not been any study into this phenomenon and why this happens to Hekla streams months before eruption takes place.

Hekla volcano does not give many long term signals on when it might start erupting. But far as this one goes, this might be the best signals we can get on the impending eruption in Hekla volcano. When the eruption might take place is impossible to know at current time.

Icelandic News.

Vatn er lítið í ám og lækjum nærri Heklu (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

Low Water Levels Indication of New Iceland Eruption? (English, Iceland Review) – Thanks to Erik at Eruption blog for this link!

Blog post updated at 04:19 UTC. A english news added.

Large earthquake swarm at Herðubreið

A earthquake swarm that started out small earlier today has grown and is now a earthquake swarm with considerable size. According to automatic data from IMO and the SIL network the largest earthquakes have reached ML2.2 in size.

This area is known for a lot of earthquake activity. So this swarm is not a surprise. But this type of activity happens regularly in this area.