Imminent eruption near Keilir likely

Volcanic tremor pulse started near Keilir at 14.20 local time. Eruption not confirmed yet. Scientific flight underway.

Keilir, this is the area that has possibly erupted. Do note that the mountain is not a central volcano, this is a fissure volcano and the entire area is the volcano. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The quote is the official Stonetablet by IMO, translation to English by the author.

The colour code has been upgraded to Orange, please be advised. The area near Keilir is being evacuated due to the volcanic tremor pulse.

The tremor pulse is clearly visible here, and on all other station in Iceland. Image by the Icelandic Met Office.

It still remains to be seen if the eruption i prognosticated a few days ago has started, or if it is still in the making. The article will be updated as more information is coming.

If the eruption occurs at the most likely spot it will be known as either Þráinsskjaldarhraun or Þráins Fires (depending upon if there will be one or several eruptions.

We will shortly start to add links to webcams and other sources.


Update: Almannavarnadeild ríkislögreglustjóra is reporting that they have not seen any eruption during the eruption, but that they are expecting the eruption to start within hours to days. Visiting the area is not advised due to bad weather.

Bonus fact Update: 7 years ago I kissed a vent at Litli Trutur (the spot of the possible eruption) from the inside. I guess I should not have done that. All photographs by Nick Small.

Road of The Volcano Kisser.


Walk of The Volcano Kisser.


The Volcano Kisser in action.


The Volcano Kisser delivers a hot and steamy volcanic schnogg.


365 thoughts on “Imminent eruption near Keilir likely

  1. Is there a working webcam in the area. I assume once the ground opens up one will go up. popcorn ready and prepared to not leave my computer for quite sometime.

    • The “black dark rider” have not yet began to gallpoh… just wait, Grimsvötn coud be first
      But yes Saurons dark riders are now running around the Reykjanes Penninsula

  2. @Vedurstofan
    After 15:30, the tremors have eased slightly, but a number of earthquakes are still being felt in the area.

  3. Is it possible to have the link to the seismogram?

  4. Where is this camera aiming? ‘Keilir og skjálftasvæðið’

    • I do hope I get to see the onset of this eruption but chances are I’ll be asleep or at work. I’ve missed Etna’s paroxysms (caught the end of one) too!

    • Skjálftasvæðið means the area of the earthquakes. The camera is located in Keflavík aiming southeast.

      • Thanks, so Keilir is roughly 12 miles east/southeast of the cam.

      • It’s like delivering a baby … the pushing has just possibly started and now its taking a break.????

        • Ok. Makes sense.
          Thanks Ian.

          I’ll go wait by the cams tonight then 🙂

        • I assume in this instance, there will be no more tremor events once magma breaks the surface because the area is flat and low lying? I.e. once we have the eruption, there is no where else for the dyke to go?

          But as the earthquakes have been tectonic – they may well continue?

          • There will still be tremor once it breaks to the surface, don’t worry!
            Indeed, the earthquakes initially were tectonic, but on this drum plot you can see the signal changed to a magmatic signature.

      • It’s the volcanic tremors that’s how we know that magma is up to the surface…

      • In my (extremely amateurish) opinion, this means that magmatic movement has ceased, for now at least. Perhaps the expanding dyke has met some rock that is too tough and there needs to be a further buildup in pressure before it gets on the move again, or more fracturing needs to occur directly as a result of the tectonic earthquakes in order to allow passage for the magma? Definitely worth waiting for one of the more knowledgeable residents to weigh in on this, mind!

    • There is never steam before an eruption
      This is a myth perpetuated about eruptions (that steam appears before lava).

      Magma comes first.
      Warnings include earthquakes, GPS change, gas released, and tremor

      But after an eruption, steams remains for years.

      • You get acidic fod erupting from the vent in the couple of minutes before lava erupts, theres some good videos if it in Hawaii but you could see exactly the same thing near Holuhraun too. But to actually see this you need to be very close to the eruption, as I said it is at best half an hour and the SO2 would spike. Sometimes, like at Kilauea in December, even this doesnt happen.

        I do recall reading that in Hawaii in 2018, places that grabens formed had the surface of the dike at only a few tens of meters deep 🙂

    • Then we will have the molten rock to drop our poor preciousssss into, along with my precious self, my precious!! Gollum, Gollum…

      • It means this GPS unit really moved around right at the time the tremor started, why…don’t know for sure, they are located somewhere on the peninsula

  5. The above GPS plots are up/down and north/south respectively and this is east/west, maybe someone tripped over them

  6. @Vedurstofan
    As a precaution for domestic and international air travel, the volcanic aviation colour code for the Reykjanes Peninsula has been elevated from yellow (elevated unrest) to orange (heightened unrest).

  7. We are insanely close to an eruption.
    Let’s see. The sequence of events is all there:
    1 We had powerful swarms for several days. I mean, several magnitude 5 quakes
    2 The earthquakes went more shallow
    3 Magma signature was detected (signature of some earthquakes)
    Here, an intrusion was confirmed.
    But more steps needed to happen.
    4 GPS movements confirmed and they continued and, importantly, increased
    5 Gas was detected
    6 Earthquakes show magma forming a dike. This is an important sign.
    7 Tremor started and, importantly, continued.
    Here, an eruption becomes likely.
    It means magma is reaching the surface.
    8. A graben valley forms.
    It cannot get closer than this.

    No other step required. Just magma reaching surface.
    Sometimes a small eruption starts and stops (like in Holuhraun), a few days before a large eruption begins

    • Yes i was wondering about the start of Holuhraun?

      Given that was a very different system with a magma chamber draining and finding the most suitable point of egress, i was wondering how much we could usefully extrapolate to this event?

      Are there that many other events that have happened in the modern era, and thus are well documented, that we can compare? Krafla i assume? Afar/Danakil Depression maybe?

      • The Reykjanes Peninsula has an unusual interplay between multiple short spreading ridge segments and strike-slip faults, it’s complex, and somewhat unique, there might be some substantial differences between any other recorded events and the current situation.

        I guess the best events to compare are indeed the Krafla Fires and rifting events in Afar in 2005-2010 on Manda Hararo and 1978 on Ardoukoba.

      • Krysuvik does not have a central volcano. Lava would be from any magma rising under decompression melting at the site of a fissure(s).

        Visually, it might not look too different from Kilauea’s eruption 2018 at Leilani Estates – on the surface, at least – although I am not making any guesses on the size of the eruption.

  8. In Iceland, today’s ground abort of Starship SN10 at the moment of launch – leaving everyone hanging – will henceforth be known as “the Reykjanes maneuver.”

    • I think they are going to de-fuel and then re-fuel for another attempt at launch sometime around 22.30 (GMT).

  9. Update. This might not be your traditional eruption.

    It might resemble the Krafla fires.
    This means it might be a slow, start and stop in cycles, long lasting, type of rifting eruption.

    Days might still be until an eruption starts.

    It might start small and then stop. And then start again months or years afterwards. And go in these cycles

    Eruptions in the peninsula can last years too. And several eruptions happening over the course of decades.

    This is not a big bang like Hekla or Grinsvotn or even Holuhraun. This is different.

    It might be an eruption for people with patience.

    Obviously such activity for years so near Reykjavik is going to have a psychological impact in the city of Reykjavik. But rest assured, these are fires of probably small intensity and the capital will be relatively unaffected. Except the occasional gas drift.

    • Looks like krafla fires yes… short lived vigorous fissures that pour out basalt quickly.
      Each fissure will be spectacular but short lived and not alot erupting out of each. Pours out Aa lava sheets. This is far from the icelandic hotspot, so not going to be super sized. Most reykjanes flows are fast channelized Aa flows and spatter – cinder cone rows.Volcanic productivity have lowered alot on the Reykjanes since deglaciation in early holocene.

      There is no shallow magma chambers in the Reykjanes Penninsula, If that was the case then you woud have collapse craters, and even shallow evolved melts. Reykjanes is almost purely feed by dike intrusions from the deep litosphere I think. The central volcanoes on Reykjanes are poorly developed. Perhaps Brennsteinsfjöll may resemble a long lava shield, and Hengil haves a subglacial hydroclastic lava pile construct near thingvallavatn. But mostly eruptions in Reykjanes are short lived fissure eruptions. Some eruptions at Reykjanes Penninsula have made lava shields, but historical ones been fast short fissures. Eruptions on Reykjanes have produced alot of pahoehoe lava before, so some eruptions may last months – years. Reykjanes basalts coud be quite hot since they are not cooling in chambers. The pahoehoe near Brennsteinsfjöll are very fluid and thin, reminded me of molten stearine thats been poured. In Google Earth the white mossy Reykjanes flows are the Aa lava, and the green humocky flows are the pahoehoes

    • Don’t you ruin the hype with your science!
      That would be extremely disappointing but this is a possibility. if it does erupt which would be more likely a quick intense eruption or long lasting more timid eruption?

  10. A quote from Irpsit in 2017:

    “I expect increased earthquake swarms across the peninsula”

    • I just lobe the nutty people here, from 80+ yr old grandmas to apocalyptic kids (well ok…) the enthusiasm is boundless.

  11. Take your time little intrusion. Wait til the morning. Please!

      • On this side of the “ridge” where all this activity happens is no Kleifarvatn (Lake) but where is all the rain water? Running out into the sea or are there some groundwater layers in the underground? How deep are they?

  12. Rejoice! Sharkanoes predicted, or at least, the N Atlantic, Icelandic variety:

    “The magma jets are often 30-100 meters high, but can be much higher. The magma partially solidifies in the air and then falls like slag and cliffs around the crater. The smallest herring, fine slag and pumice, can reach a few kilometers from the source. On the Reykjanes peninsula, it has been found one to two kilometers from craters…”

    And this statement has the authority of Kristján Sæmundsson behind it – via Giggletrans.

      • I second that. We have not seen a sheepy dalek for years.

    • No sharknadoes in Iceland, methinks… But of course, there must be herringnadoes, what else could there be 🙂

      I’m hoping for low level activity, photogenic and not too disruptive.

  13. This flatland on this peninsula beneath all this swarms are happening is how long over the sea level?

    You may be lucky and survive the rise of the sea level with dry feets if you get a few meters more…

    Looking in the dark since hours for a tiny glow…you are not alone…but does it help?

    • Hopefully tonight. Watching the spacex launch and an Iceland volcano erupt on the same night will (hopefully) be epic!

    • If it erupts it will not be huge in volume. But it coud be a very fast eruption.. and look very large indeed. It will feed rows of lava fountains that quickly dies down into a single cinder cone vent and a fast moving Aa lava flow with perhaps an ocean entry lasting a few weeks on slow eruptive rates. This kind of events coud repeat themselves many times If Reykjanes enters a new fires episodes

  14. Eyjafjallajökull is just about to lose it’s status as the most difficult name to pronounce. Try this: Þráinsskjaldarhraun.

    • Not really that difficult, break it up into three words Þráins-skjaldar-hraun, for this exersice “Þ” sounds more or less like “th” in “thanks”, and then presto! You can now pronounce the name Þráinsskjaldarhraun. ;D

      Translated it means “Þráins shields lava field” or ‘the’ “lava fields of Þráins shields”

      • So when the volcano zombie apocalypse comes, we have to shamble around slowly saying “Þráins”?

        • The letter á is a diphthong that is pronounced as the ou in ash cloud, or as the ow in wow, so þráins doesn’t really rhyme so well with brains.

          • Well, thrown is an english word that’s pronounced differently. I would probably go for Throuins for the first part. The trickiest part is probably hraun, where au is yet another diphthong, but one which has no exact match in the english language. It’s like oy, but you replace the o-sound with an ö-sound, where ö sounds like ea in earthquake.

          • Thraowns kyalda urhn is about as close as it can get I think while keeping within normal english, the end really isnt that close though still. Im not sure if the n in hraun is silent when you say it.

            I also learned that Reykjanes is actually pronounced more as ”rek ya ness’ and not ‘rake yanes’ which is what I thought it was before. It is not a word you can properly write phonetically in english though, as you say.

          • Actually after watching the pronunciation video it is more like ‘thraown skyaldar oun’

      • Your guide is just going to get people to mispronounce it, IMHO. I’d spell it out like:

        THRAU-inns SKYOWLD-our HROYN

  15. Where the# is any webcam that records live? I wants a webcam thats running non stop! I wants to see it erupt. Send links here, many webcams are not working or current live for me

    I wants to see the preciouuusssssss!!!!!!

      • 3:45 local time. Either the sun is coming up or there is acyclovir seen in this cam. Bright light on the horizon.

      • what’s the bright light in the background? The Moon rising?

          • Yes it is the moon, if you go back through you can see it rising. The alert will go to red if there is an eruption.

      • Being able to actually see the terrain now, it looks like Keilir is on the left side of the stream, and slightly behind the horizon quite a way back. This probably means the eruption is also going to be behind the horizon, and maybe not very visible. The gas plume and maybe the top of some fountains could be visible though.

        The tremor is ongoing which means magma is moving, but more importantly the quakes arent extending further towards or past Keilir, so the magma can only be rising. I dont know how shallow it is at current but the insar from a few days ago had it at 6 km depth so it is at least definitely above that, and if there is a graben forming it must be getting rather close. I doubt it will be more than a day now.

  16. Just felt a minor earthquake in Reykjavík a few minutes ago. Probably low to mid 3s.

  17. Etna Tremor is on the rise, maybe a new paroxysm will happen very soon.

      • Hey, Lurk! Hope You are well… as we are well. (well tired of winter…. only 3feet of snow left in the yard… but snow is in the forcast for tomorrow sigh) Love the coverage of a possible new volcano viewing with old friends…. i’ll get the popcorn…..

  18. Is there some more activity in a northerly direction from Reykjanes, or are they just misplaced by the automatic system? Now even with a star near Langvatn?

    • Those are misplaced. The automatic system has difficulties when there is so much activity at once. You get a lot of false positives. Click on the table and check the quality tab. If it’s 99, then it has been manually verified. Anything less, don’t trust it.

      A quick way to know without looking in the table is to look at the outline of the dot or star representing the quake in the map. If the outline is black, then it has been verified. If the outline is gray it has not been verified yet.

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