Update on 1-August-2022 on the earthquake swarm in Fagradalsfjall mountain

This is a short update on the earthquake swarm in Fagradalsfjall mountain and nearby area. This is written on 1-August-2022 at 13:47 UTC.

The situation on Reykjanes peninsula is always updating so information in this article can be in part or in whole get obsolete quickly. Largest earthquake during the night had a magnitude of Mw4,7. This might not be the largest earthquake today, since larger earthquakes are always a possibility.

A lot of green stars on Reykjanes peninsula along with red dots that show the heavy earthquake activity that is now happening there
Strong earthquake activity on Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Time trace of the strong earthquake activity in the last 48 hours. Dark blue dots, blue dots, yellow dots with a magnitude 5,4 earthquake line in it, orange dots and red dots show all the earthquakes. This earthquake activity is really dense
Time trace of the earthquake activity in the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

GPS data have started to show a large displacement over the last 48 hours. The 24 hour GPS displacement can be found here and 8 hour GPS displacement data can be found here (find Reykjanes peninsula). This shows that magma is pushing its way though the crust at fast speed, but has not yet broken up trough the crust. When that happens is impossible to know, but this might not be a long wait based on the speed the magma is going. Current depth of the magma is around 2 to 4 km.

Earthquake swarm in Reykjanes volcano

This morning (12-July-2022) an earthquake swarm took place in Reykjanes volcano. This earthquake swarm has at the writing of this article around 30 earthquakes. Two largest earthquakes had a magnitude of Mw3,3 and Mw3,4. The second earthquake was felt in towns on Reykjanes peninsula.

Two green stars on the earthquake map from 10:00 clock this morning. Along with few red dots around the largest earthquakes
Earthquake swarm on the Reykjanes peninsula in the Reykjanes volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

It has been rather quiet on the Reykjanes peninsula in last few months. There is always minor earthquake activity happening because of inflation of magma in this area. There has been lack of large earthquakes in recent months. I don’t know why that is. GPS data show that there has not been any notable inflation or deflation in Reykjanes volcano for the last few weeks. That translates into lack of earthquakes. If this earthquake swarm means that is changing is something to watch out for. Small earthquake swarm can mean change, what it means here is unclear. It is known that not every eruption starts with a big earthquake swarm in a volcano.

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Ongoing earthquake swarm north of Grindavík town wakes up people

Today (22-May-2022) at 09:53 and 09:57 UTC earthquakes with magnitude of Mw3,5 and Mw3,6 took place north-west of Grindavík town. This earthquake was felt and did wake up people according to the news.

Two green stars north-west of Grindavík town along with a green star north of Grindavík. A lot of orange and red dots around the area showing smaller earthquakes
Earthquake activity close to Grindavík town. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There is no signs that this earthquake activity is slowing down. It does come in waves according to Icelandic Met Office. This means that there are period of high activity with low activity between. Currently, at the writing of this article, there is a low activity period ongoing.

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Deep inflation detected in Fagradalsfjall mountain

According to a news report today (16-November-2021) inflation has been detected deep under Fagradalsfjall mountain, that is part of Kr√Ĺsuv√≠k-Tr√∂lladyngja volcano system. This inflation suggests that an eruption might start again in Fagradalsfjall mountain, it remains impossible to know when such an eruption might start. Since there is a lot that suggest this inflation is because of magma collecting at depth under Fagradalsfjall mountain. When or if that results in a eruption in the future is impossible to know.

This inflation is now large enough to be seen on satellite images that monitors deformation in the upper crust. In the upper crust this deformation appears small, but that is not all the story in this.

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Earthquake activity west of Kleifarvatn lake

Yesterday (28-October-2021) two earthquakes with magnitude of Mw3,6 and Mw3,0 took place west of Kleifarvatn lake (in Kr√Ĺsuv√≠k-Tr√∂lladyngja volcano system). The first earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,6 took place at 18:36 UTC and the second earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,0 took place at 23:11 UTC. Other earthquakes that took place where smaller in magnitude.

Earthquake activity west of Kleifarvatn lake. Two green stars on top of each other show the strongest earthquakes.
The earthquake activity in Kr√Ĺsuv√≠k-Tr√∂lladyngja volcano system. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake activity seems to be connected to magma movements in the area. It has not yet and might not result in a eruption since this is in a different fissure area. It is unlikely that this activity is connected to the magma movements that are ongoing close to Fagradalsfjall mountain.

Fewer earthquakes close to Keilir, no eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain for almost one month

Earthquake activity continues close to Keilir mountain. But it remains at depth of 5 to 6 km and doesn’t show any sign that it is about to move to the surface. More than 10000 earthquakes have been recorded and 18 earthquakes have been recorded with magnitude above Mw3,0. This is according to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity close to mountain Keilir marked by a green star close to it of the map on Reykjanes peninsula
Earthquake activity close to Keilir mountain on Reykjanes peninsula. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain (more information at Kr√Ĺsuv√≠k-Tr√∂lladyngja website at Global Volcanism Program) has not been active since 19-September-2021 and there are no signs that the eruption is about to restart soon. Global Volcanism Program no longer updates its information for this volcano as an active eruption. Icelandic scientists in eruptions have not declared the eruption over. It should be expected that the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain is over for now, but it can start again at the same location or at new location in few weeks time or maybe even few years from now.

Ongoing earthquake swarm close to Keilir mountain

The earthquake swarm with Keilir mountain continues today (2-October-2021) and largest earthquake at the writing of this article had a magnitude of Mw4,2. This might change without warning.

Green stars on Reykjanes peninsula close to the mountain Keilir. Shows where the current activity is.
The earthquake activity close to Keilir mountain. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Based on what I am seeing it is my view that magma is the reason why this earthquake activity is happening. The magma seems trapped, based on the earthquake activity and that is interesting. This suggest that the feeder channel, that possibly started at this location has closed up and that is the reason why the eruption in Fagradalsfjall mountain stopped. At least that is the working idea, if it is true I don’t know.

Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and Icelandic Met Office has warned people against going to Keilir mountain because of risk of volcano eruption or large earthquakes.

It is unclear at the writing of this article if there are changes to hydrothermal activity close to Keilir mountain. There have been reports about it, but they remain unconfirmed at the writing of this article.

There is now a risk of an earthquake with magnitude of Mw6,0 in the area of Keilir mountain. The earthquake activity shows a pattern of high and low activity every few hours. Why this happens is not well understood at the writing of this article.