Bárðarbunga: more seismic unrest at another one of Iceland’s large volcanoes

December 21, 2011ICELANDDuring the night there was an small earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano. The largest earthquake in this earthquake swarm was ML 3.04 in magnitude. It had the depth of 8.5 km. This might have been a dike intrusion. But it is hard to know that for sure at the moment. This earthquake swarm only lasted for an about 2 to 3 hours before it stopped. –Jonfr 
The next series of eruptions at Bardarbunga could of course happen anywhere, but the recent earthquakes indicate that an eruption could take place in a similar location to in the 18th Century. There are signs that magma is rising at great depth underneath the Bardarbunga volcanic centre. A future eruption under the glacier would be accompanied by a jökulhlaup, most likely in Kreppa and Jokulsa a Fjollum. The volcano is capable of producing a VEI6 eruption. Tephra would also likely be produced – possibly in large quantities. There are also other possibilities, for example an eruption in the southern part of the system, but for now geologists at the Icelandic Meteorological Office are stressing that the earthquakes do not mean that an eruption is imminent. –Ice News  February 19, 2011
The stratovolcano of Bárðarbunga, with its 2009 meters in height, is not only Iceland’s second highest mountain, but it is also part of Iceland’s largest volcanic system (Iceland East Volcanic Zone or EVZ) which extends for more than 200 kilometers and which includes also the nearby Grimsvötn — direct interaction among these two volcanoes is believed to exist. Bárðarbunga’s crater, measuring 70 square kilometers in width and 700 in depth, is entirely covered in ice, making observation of seismic phenomena in the area more difficult. Although sustained activity has been frequently noted, eruptions are quite rare, making this volcano relatively lesser known. The last eruptive episode of Bárðarbunga took place in 1903, but the last major outbreak dates back to 1477. This infamous event produced the largest known lava flow — more than 21 cubic kilometers in volume — of the past 10,000 years. –Iceland Chronicles
contribution Luisport
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Bárðarbunga: more seismic unrest at another one of Iceland’s large volcanoes

  1. Luisport posted:

    Santorini may be loading up for an eruption:

    Further, a nice one on earthquake prediction methods: Greek geophysicists were expecting a major earthquake (M7+) to hit the southern Aegean Sea area, see more at http://geophysics.geo.auth.gr/new_web_site_2007/download_files/costas_CV/66.pdf (from year 2003).

    Statistically speaking, the area has been hit by M6´+ quakes on average every 30 years, and the last major one was at 1956 (M7.8). Many of these quakes have involved tsunamis (including 1956).

    Soon after the publication of the article, the area was hit twice, with a M6.8 in 2006 and a M6.5 on 2008. Is it finished?


  2. luisport says:

    Geologist worry about earthquake activity in Kistufell field (Bárðarbunga volcano)



  3. luisport says:

    Another “dormant” volcano in CA is showing signs of earthquake swarms! Mono Lake!



  4. Dennis E. says:

    Iceland, is getting ready for a bad day.


    • Irene C says:

      Thank you Tim for this site. The pictures are amazing. And I loved the descriptions, such as “relative save” and “armed guards required”. If I were younger, and had a better budget to work with, I would love to take in these sights. We live on a beautiful, and volatile planet.



  5. luisport says:

    A series of earthquakes occurred at Bárðarbunga in Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, shortly before 1 am yesterday. The largest tremor measured 3.3 on the Richter scale and a few others ranged between two and three points. According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office it is too early to tell whether the seismic activity may lead to something else, but the situation is being monitored. Bárðarbunga is a stratovolcano which lies underneath the northwestern Vatnajökull icecap. Smaller eruptions are frequent northeast of Bárðarbunga in an ice-free area known as Dyngjuháls. A number of eruptions have also occurred beneath the glacier itself, which appear to follow a cycle, as studies of tephra layers have indicated, in 1701-1740, for example. In September 2010 a series of earthquakes were recorded near Bárðarbunga. The last eruption in Iceland occurred in another volcano below Vatnajökull, in Grímsvötn in May 2011, causing significant ash fall. Now another sub-glacial volcano, Katla in Mýrdalsjökull, is under close observation due to ongoing seismic activity.



  6. luisport says:

    Ongoing earthquake activity in Katla volcano (Week 50)
    As can be seen with this comparison, the earthquake activity now in Katla volcano is considerable higher then in what is called an normal year in terms of activity in Katla volcano. What this means is unclear. But this suggests an eruption is not far away in Katla volcano. But when and how big is impossible to know at current time. Many of the earthquake swarms in Katla volcano are due to dike intrusions taking place in the Katla volcano caldera. But not all of them get to the surface to start an eruption. However such activity can and has increased hydro-thermal activity inside Katla volcano caldera. As has been evident during the past few months in Katla volcano caldera.



  7. George says:

    More volcanic unrest near the Rift Valley from this posting quoted here —- A volcano erupted near Saba Island in the Red Sea on Monday, said fishermen from Salif port city in the west of Yemen.

    The fishermen said that the volcano can be seen 3 hours away from its center and that it has been popping up red lava that reached 20-30 meters high.

    The fishermen said this was the first volcano they ever seen in the region.

    Thanks to Wanda and Tim Austin for this link

    “I find it interesting that there was a fairly substantial earthquake cluster (mostly mag 4+) about a year or so ago in the red sea, followed by the eruption in Eritrea of the volcano Nabro (I think that was the name) last summer and now this,” says Tim.

    “The rift valley is getting restless…”


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