Reykjanes monitor

We are waiting for developments! Volcanoes can’t be rushed, or forced, and they can sit there seemingly quietly while in reality they are raging on the inside waiting for any trigger that will cause an eruption. Be careful with volcanoes: they will sit there innocently and then suddenly explode in your face. Or not. If there was a geology mental health service, volcanoes would be queueing outside for a bit of support and counselling.

The Reykjanes peninsula was due a significant quake, with many decades of unresolved transform motion. It decided to give way in a segmented way, with several M5 quakes since last year on different parts of the fault. This culminated in a double quake last month. But after this had happened, the earthquakes kept coming. You expect aftershocks, which continue for some days and declining with time. The largest aftershock is typically 1 magnitude lower than the main shock. But this was not like that. The shocks kept coming, in small clusters. This suggests that something more was happening.

The main fault that runs along the Reykjanes peninsula is not a pure transform, but also has a spreading component. That is important. The South Iceland Seismic Zone, further east, is a pure transform fault. It has less volcanic activity. In contrast, the Reykjanes peninsula is packed with volcanic features. In fact, that is how it formed. The peninsula is a long volcanic rift feature, a bit like Puna. The spreading component of the fault allows magma to come up by creating space for it. Pure transform faults, such as the SISZ, are much less efficient for magma transport.

The density of volcanic features shows that the Reykjanes peninsula lacks a central volcano. Features here tend to erupt only once. There is no major magma chamber, just distributed magma pockets with a variety of pathways for heat to come up. The brittle crust in Reykjanes is as thin as 5 km. Reykjanes earthquakes are normally not much deeper than this: they take place in the brittle crust. A guess would be that magma pockets can form near the bottom of this brittle crust.

The magma pockets are fed from the depth. But the peninsula is far from the hot spot in Iceland, and the magma supply is not high. Magma pockets will take a long time to grow to an eruptible size. This is probably the reason for the long periods of quiescence here. The magma pockets do not coalesce into a single chamber, but in a series of smaller ones. Therefore eruptions happen over a range of locations, with many small lava flows rather than one big one.

That is what was happening over the past weeks. The earthquakes created pathways, and some of the magma pockets started moving. Did magma pressure cause the earthquakes? Probably not initially, but the continuation was due to this added pressure, and the moving magma.

Where did the magma move to? There are two important directions. An obvious one is along the main fault. But many of the earthquakes happened on short faults at an angle to the main transform fault. They acted as book shelfs, toppling one after the other. They provide the eventual conduits. These faults run mostly north-south. Further from the fault, they turn northeast, and run along the main Icelandic spreading axis.

Magma moves along the main fault until it feels its way into one of the perpendicular NS fault. Here it will coalesce. It took some time for that to happen, but eventually the magma found the Fagradalsfjall region as the ideal central location. The earthquakes elsewhere died down, but in this area they kept coming.

The strongest earthquakes were at a depth around 5 km where the two faults connected. Magma pushed its way into the perpendicular fault. Now it formed a dike. Dikes are independent structures. They don’t follow a particular fault but take a direction of least resistance. In this particular case, that was northeast, towards Keilir. As the magma reached higher up, the crust breakages were frequent but small. This process is still continuing: the M3 earthquakes are at 5 km, the weaker earthquakes are at a range of depth. (Do be aware that locations of weak earthquakes are often uncertain.)

The current dike is reported to be 1 meter wide and extending up to 2 km depth. The dike follows the perpendicular faults, but at a fairly steep upward angle. The particular fault that is leading the magma is pointing approximately at Keilir. It reached that region, but not much further.

The tremor event a few days put everyone on edge and indicated an eruption was imminent. Even IMO thought so. The tremor was caused by magma flowing along the dike and filling it up. But the magma didn’t cooperate, and it stopped flowing.

In recent days the magma has stopped pressuring the tip and it is now pushing upward closer to Fagradalsfjall. At some point, the dike may find a weakness and comes to the surface. That hasn’t happened yet, but it could happen anywhere between Fagradalsfjall and Keilir. Or it may not happen!

What would it take for Reykjanes to erupt? The region remains primed for an eruption. The earthquakes are continuing. But the main pathway is currently blocked. The likely outcome is still a small eruption, within weeks. This may be triggered by the slow build-up of pressure in the magma chamber reaching some critical point, by an earthquake that breaks the blockage, or by a new inflow of magma into the forming chamber. Renewed tremor will be a sign that this is happening. But if none of these happen, we will be waiting in vain. That is a perfectly possible outcome. Disappointing it would be (for us), but you can’t force volcanoes. Eventually, something will happen somewhere. You just wait. Our sleeping beauty may have gone back to sleep, but one day the prince will come. One day.

Albert, March 2021


Drumplots. Use KRI or ISS for ones close to the activity. (ISS is not the space station (where tremor would not be welcome) but is near the coast, a few km east of Grindavik.)


Keilir thermal camera.

Plot of the earthquakes.

Some useful Icelandic words which you may come across in names of locations. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

icelandic English
alda ridge
aska ash
botn head of a valley
breiða flat, broad
bunga rounded hill
dalur valley
drangur rock column
dyngja dome or shield
eldur fire
ey island
fell (or fjall) mountain
gígur crater
gjá fissure
hnjúkur peak
höfn harbour
hraun lava flow
jökull glacier
kviku magma
lækur brook
melur gravel plain
nes peninsula
öræfi wasteland
reykur smoke
skjöldur (skjald) shield
tindur summit
tjörn pond
vatn lake

539 thoughts on “Reykjanes monitor

  1. I woud not be supprised at all if this becomes a very very small eruption.. limited to just a 100 meters long lava flow and a few house sized spatter cones. Perhaps we will get something really tiny like Tor Zawar eruption, with a spatter cone thats no larger than a bed.

    • I dont think Tor Zawar is a volcano, it isnt on GVP anymore. It was I think an electrical malfunction or something similar underground related to a nearby cable, electric arcs can be 10,000 C at a high voltage, and theres a lot of energy in major power cables, you are after all able to run an arc furnace of your house and that is basically a lava machine 🙂

      This will be bigger than that, theres no really tiny flows here on the map, so it seems like all the eruptions are at least a decent size, but that might not be immediately obvious if it is a Krafla fires-type eruption, where all the eruptions in the first 5 years there were probably almost accidental, that is now basically. I guess that will probably happen several times and at all the volcanoes here over the next few centuries, and also possibly at Hengil where you get the same thing but a bit bigger 🙂

      I actually also wonder whether the eruptions at Langjokull and Presthnukur are like an on land version of the Mayotte volcano, erupting out of the deep crystal mush that is still fed but the central volcanoes are extinct. Theres no big lava flood eruptions here, only two that were more like larger versions of Krafla, but there are many lava shields that dont need shallow magma chambers to form.

      • Tor Zawar was sampled and that was indeed an Basanite – a very alkaline basalt. It was a real eruption.. even a small dyke visible when it was digged the eruption site. Tor Zawar came from 60 km depth

        • I do remember once seeing you link a video of an eruption like this but more recently, is that still available? It does make you wonder how often these happen and no one sees them before they are buried or eroded, which is going to happen quickly in the Himalayas.

    • Yes Mayotte is an extraodinary basalt event! Only larger recent before was Laki

      looked at seafloor maps from a recently concluded mission and saw a new mountain. Rising from the Indian Ocean floor between Africa and Madagascar was a giant edifice 800 meters high and 5 kilometers across. In previous maps, there had been nothing. “This thing was built from zero in 6 months!” Chaussidon says. ”

      Weird it did not become a submarine flood sheet flows.. the eruption rates must have been crazy. On land on Iceland this woud be a major fire episode

  2. Those who have knowledge of Proto-Germanic, Old English, Old Norse, Gothic and Old Saxon can understand written Icelandic language a little bit. Icelandic still retains an archaic inflection system.

    • I’d say that once you get your ear in, it’s possible to go from modern Icelandic to modern English to a surprising degree. Of course, you need to be listening for the Anglo-Saxon traces in English and block the Romantic ones.

      Take “Almannavarnir”, for example: “all – men – warn”. I may be wrong on precise details here, but I’m pretty sure it’s roughly correct enough to be a decent clue as to the meaning, which is “Civil Defence”. And in British English, we have place names that are cognate with Icelandic – eg “the Long Mynd” and “Scarth Gap” (my favourite).

      Inflections – not sure what you mean by “archaic” but it’s certainly very complicated, though whether more so than modern English, I don’t know.

      Pronunciation: Icelandic spelling is a lot more regular and phonetic than modern English, and it only has 17 vowel sounds – English has 26!

  3. Thanks Albert!
    From your description of the pseudo-shallow magma chambers/magma pockets underlying large parts of Reykjanes Peninsula, I envision these zones as a giant-sized, fragmented “sill” filled mostly with mush?
    While sills are usually only meters (or less) in width, over millennia many such sills (and dikes) must have formed, which cumulatively creates a lot of discontinuity and weaknesses in the crust that allows magma to accumulate.
    From the widely dispersed EQ’s pattern(s) we’ve seen over the last year, it’s apparent the crustal region is essentially a pile of “rubble” given all the micro-faults/weaknesses that must be present.
    When a major extensional/oblique earthquake sequence occurs, the dimensions of the shallow “sill” changes…. with new magma moving in to fill the newly created void(s).
    However, as the magma enters a new weakness, it expands enough for volatiles to devolve…. thus pressurizing the tip of the magma flow as it moves laterally within the “sill, resulting in new rock-breaking micro-quakes in the overlying brittle crust.
    If so, then the volcanic related component of the recent EQ activity is not really the result of any major intrusion of new magma, but rather a tectonically-induced change in the pressure and dimensions of the pre-existing sill/shallow magma chambers?
    If this “model” were to verify, then I’d expect magma movement should decline (as well as chances for a dike-fed surface eruption) in lockstep with a commensurate slackening of tectonic activity.

    • There has been some new magma over the past few years. The activity and inflation at Thorbjorn last year was clearly an intrusion. There has also been indications of more heat over the past decade, I believe. The current activity was tectonically based with no new magma, I think. But there seems to have been enough magma around already to make things interesting.

  4. The Earthquake swarm keeps going and quite constant

  5. Even if it does not go off, it has been great reading VC during lockdown.
    I was hoping for a laugh at the BBC newsreaders attempts at pronouncing the P$^$$^&^&&%££$ whatever name Carl said for one potential eruption site.
    I bet the staff at the airport are breathing a little easier now!
    Once again great informative reading and thanks for the entertainment.

    • As a current worker at the Airport in Keflavik, we’re not worried. There’s no one flying. 🙂

      • Oh yes of course, I somehow became oblivious to Iceland seeing a lot less air travel as well us, call it volcano COVID short sightedness.
        Normally with the airport seeing a lot less flights I bet it can be quite boring for you.
        Now on the other hand it must be totally not boring with this going on.
        Best wishes.

  6. M4+ unchecked.
    Saturday 06.03.2021 18:43:13 63.440 -24.127 16.7 km 4.3 90.01 16.9 km WSW of Eldeyjarboði

    • I think the authorities are going to hold off letting the masses know before they have anything concrete.

      • There’s a lot of reporting in Icelandic media, if that’s what you mean. And on the whole, in my experience Icelanders are interested in and informed about their geology. And remember that the population is very small – though very great in achievements.

  7. I think we are all just being a bit impatient 🙂
    Eruption will happen, it has just only been 5 days yet, the new dike isnt going to cool that fast so a new pressure here will set it off. That can still happen months or years from now, it might take several years to fill the rift like it is now, maybe a tiny eruption or two or not at all, then suddenly a big fissure opens and a lot of lava erupts.

  8. Renewed vigour as far as the ‘larger’ quakes are concerned – it’s back to the sort of frequency we were seeing 2 or 3 days ago.

    Popcorn on standby…

  9. Definitely a small uptick in activity just now. Most of the earthquakes are still at a depth of 4-6km, doesn’t seem to suggest magma rising to the surface.

    P. S. I’m a geologist in Reykjavík and I lurk here a lot, hi.

    • The entire Reykjanes penninsula must be an endless chaos of failed dykes and sills that goes on until No end.. No well developed magma chambers here

    • Hi Lisabet, pro lurker here as well. I live in Hafnir. Loving the quake in my back yard. 🙂

  10. Quake activity definitely picking up. See

    for two examples. I can just barely make out an almost impreceptible overall increase in low frequency content on the low frequency plots. Where is most of the activity? Irpsit said most recent activity is near the blue lagoon.

    • The two plots were not included in my post, they are kri highpass and iss highpass, the drum plot folder was previously posted.

    • The activity is focussed on Fagradalsfjall: the quakes are largely within 2 km of this location. A quick indication of activity can be found by using the earthquake table for the Reykjanes ridge, and count back 15 earthquakes. Typically for the past days, this takes you 10-15 minutes back. If you go back 20 minutes or more, it means low activity, if it is less than 10 minute, it is high activity. It was around 10 minutes an hour ago, but is 20 minutes now. The action comes and goes

      The colour choice of the drumplots could be questioned. The blue line is more clearer to the eye than the more subdued colours, so anything that is coloured blue tend to stand out. Be aware.

  11. I downloaded 172 drumplots and looked at all of them, as of 00:33:41 UTC Sun March 7, 2021. The following highpass plots show a definite noticeable increase in quakes the last 4 hours: JOK, KRI, LAT, MOH, ODF, VOG and VOS. It looks like IEY, LSA and VON highpass all show harmonic tremor? The sudden change in IEY is noticeable. A geologist or volcanologist would need to verify these 3. The SAN drumplot shows a very interesting interference pattern.

    Ref page:

    • There is a slight increase in low frequency content the last 4 hours too on about 60% (estimated) of the lowpass plots.

    • Geophysicists are the best for interpreting this stuff. Definitely an increase in activity though. Just felt a rather strong quake for the first time in several days.

      Also thanks for the welcomes 🙂

      • I agree 100%, but quake activity has definitely increased, with an almost mag 5 quake I see at close to my current time of 2:53:30 UTC March 7, 2021.

  12. Sunday
    07.03.2021 01:40:06 63.894 -22.289 6.2 km 4.1 99.0 1.2 km SW of Fagradalsfjall

  13. It might b a camera or software fault, but there appears to be some sort of light or heat in the distance on the IR cam (Albert’s link at the top).

    • It is flashing though, doesnt look natural. It says the cam is looking at Keilir, so the place where the eruption will happen is probably more towards the left side of the view, is there a map that actually shows exactly where it is?

      • Yeh, doesn’t look right to me either. It’s flashing way too fast, but always on what I think is the skyline.
        I’m not sure about the camera’s location.

        • I wonder if maybe it is near a road that has a guard rail, and the flashing is the headlights going between the poles while the car is moving.

    • Seismicity is going a bit nuts now… A 5 (checked) 6.6 km depth 3.5 km wsw Fagradsfjall.

      • I am feeling earthquakes basically every few minutes right now (central Reykjavik)

        • Another almost mag 5 quake again.. time to break out the marshmallows?

        • It seems you are getting a lot of action tonight. Stay safe. All the best from Bergen, Norway.

  14. Now 03:00:00 UTC March 7, 2021 the thermal cam has stopped rotating. Occasionally the picture has patches of blocky interference which momentarily flash.

    • No it wont be nearly so big, maybe 0.3 km3 max, and probably over a few eruptions in a period of 5 years or so, like Krafla. The start of these eruptions might be very intense though, a line of tall fountains with fast lava flows, before turning to a central vent that makes a large cone that will be named something hard to say 🙂

      If you want gigantic fountains we have Etna 🙂

      • Can you not see that this volcano will produce a larger eruption, my dear chad? A VEI 25 duodecillion is the most minimal eruption that this system can produce.

        • I wonder what the VEI of a quasar is, there is technically an ‘eruption’ from it after all 🙂
          Maybe that is a question for Albert.

        • LOL that would be a 100 Tm³ (100 octillion km³, 100 undecillion m³) eruption. That is 100 quadrillion times the volume of Earth and 100 billion times the volume of the Sun and 1000 the volume of the star Antares!

  15. Err Uhmm Yes thanks Bruce for people like me, What happened then? thank you

  16. ok… Boys and Girls: Anyone know any new info on Iceland? i got distracted by life. Anyone? Anyone? Buler?

    • Another M5 quake tonight, but it seems it was related to crustal adjustments rather than magma movements. Swarm still going strong.

  17. I just heard that the one of the pulses this night was linked to volcanic activity and was right under the blue lagoon. Can anyone confirm this?

  18. The checked quakes today with M5 in about the centre just west of Fagradalsfjall. Activity was shifting to north of Grindavik. Svartsengi system.


      • I’ve lurked since Bardabunga, but not been very active (work can be a pain sometimes :P).
        Looking at the sequence of earthquakes by date, since it started, my observations suggest that it started close to Fagradalsfjell, before the dike tracked NE, towards Keilir until 3/3. After the harmonic tremor, it seemed to stall, then it looks like a dike started travelling SE from Fagradalsfjell, but hasn’t travelled far. Overnight it looks like there are two centres, Fagradalsfjell and the area around Thorbjorn, there don’t seem to be any connections between the two though.
        I’m not an expert, but my job has meant I’m used to scientific observations and looking for patterns.

      • They started around Thorbjorn after the 5.0 at Fagradalsfjell. Up until then, the frequency in that areas was low. They are continuing at Fagradalsfjell as well.

      • Is it possible that the ongoing swarm has had a knock on effect on the intrusion into Thorbjorn, opened new pathways etc.? Thorbjorn was likely to erupt sometime in the next 200 years.

      • Magma is human-friendly. It was heading towards Reykjavik, in the dike progressive NE near Keillir, but then it realised it wouldn’t be good to punish Icelanders by closing down the highway to the airport and risking some suburbs of Reykjavik, like Vogar.

        It seems that activity moved SW again. And looking at the GPS, it seems the dike extending now SW. Magma is now pushing to Thorbjorn.

        Grindavik has still a considerable population, so its also not the best place for an eruption. But lets keep calm and wait.

        Earthquake activity is now registering even at Reykjanes system, further west. I wouldn’t be surprised if an eruption would pop out near the Blue Lagoon, where an intrusion happened last year. We are again getting closer to an eruption: shallower and more intense quakes and tremor again.

        Note: this is not 1783, or even remotely close to it! This will be an effusive (lava) eruption, relatively small intensity, but potentially lasting longer.

        • An eruption at the Blue Lagoon would be problematic for the Svartsengi geothermal station. In addition to the 76 MWe it produces, Svartsengi is the heating utility for the peninsula.

  19. Experts are reporting that the earthquakes closer to Grindavík and Þorbjörn were due to tension release rather than magma

    • I am a unsure about that.
      There was a confirmed intrusion there in 2020.
      Magma is still mushy there, so this new intrusion is probably pushing reactivating that magma, and making it pushing closer to the surface. Yes, it could be caused by nearby activity.

      The GPS should give us a clue of where the most vertical displacement is occurring now. As far as I am aware, vertical displacement has not yet occurred near Grindavík and Þorbjörn. Looking at the earthquake data, a lot of the quakes are at 4-6km depth, and with a few at 2-3km.
      This gives us a good impression of how deep magma still is.

      For Grindavík, Þorbjörn and Fagradalsfjell, I don’t see any eruption likely in the next 2-3 days.
      If it reactivates at Keillir, then an eruption could start there within hours. For now, that area is quiet.

  20. Here you can see the big bang last night with activity migrating west, towards Thorbjorn. But it did not (yet?) trigger follow-on there, while activity at Fagradalsfjall picked up again.

    • I’m using astaxanthin. It’s the bigest antioxidant known…

      • Vitamin D promotes dozens of anti-oxidant genes inluding the promoter nrf2 that also promotes antioxidant defences. But in the context of C-19 it is the role of D3 in innate immmunity that is most importants. This is our first line of defence agaonst viruses and fails is our seruem D3 levels are low. Its why I take 4000IU per day nand get my serum 25(OH)D measured- its 140 nmol/L. In UK mean winter level is ca 50.
        If you search Peter H Cobbold + BMJ there are several brief responses.

        I did take astaxanthin for afew months (not for C19 ) then decided D3 would cover me for oxidative stress.

        • I usually take D3, but astaxanthin is making great things to me… pains gone, skin much better, mouth and gums and eyes much better too. I take a biger dose and give to my dogs too…

          • Synthetic astaxanthin is used as a feed additive for farmed salmon to make the flesh colour look more like wild salmon that’s been eating a diet rich in natural astaxanthin. Without it (and other colorants in feed) farmed salmon flesh would be white. Also fish can’t synthesise Vitamin D (ie the way we do from sunlight exposure), so I believe vitamin D3 is also used as an additive in salmon feed made from plant protein sources.

          • What i take is natural astaxanthin as dried algee Haematococcus pluvialis

      • Never heard of astaxanthin.

        I take regular 1000u D3 per day. And every few days zinc and also magnesium. I also take iron for a period every few months.

        I got quite a good dose of sunshine last summer and go running 10-20min every day.

        This regime was my response to covid.
        I did get covid last year in March. Some of you know it when I suddenly disappeared. It was terrible (and unusual). But because it was in the early busy days of lockdown the ambulance stopped short of taking me to hospital. “Hospitals are fu. You are a young healthy chap and at 88% O2 you will manage it”. Lol, nowadays they wouldn’t have done that. It took me several months to fully recover. Now back to normal. Never had something like that. Health is so precious.

        • That’s terrible! I’m happy you are totally recovered now! You should investigate about astaxanthine… i will not post more about it because is totally OT.

        • i remember, Irpsit, we were all quite worried about You. i take Vit D3 at 5000 a day but the Mag/Zink seems to break me out in peticcia.(sp?) 88%is low. and sadly i don’t think we are out of the woods yet with all the variants and political excrement. Pulling the Volcano Card to possibly stay out of the Dungeon. Best! from motsfo who now has 4 feet of snow in yard and expecting another snowfall on Tuesday.

        • Very likely you were low on D3. Sunshine-derived D3 wont last all winter its half-life is about 1 month. Regular D3 supplement needs to be ca 4000IU per day to keep serum level up to physiological 100-150nmol/L
          But we vary, some reach only 50 nmol/L at that dose. I get mine measured this time of year by an on-line service.
          D3 is hugely important for avoiding many diseases, see

    • Lýsi is out? Not enough fishes around anymore? Too many EU fishing boats out there?

      Sugar, cocoa, nicotine and caffeine are enough for me today, I still miss THC and Viagra didn’t work 10 years ago…

  21. Frettir from IMO.
    Translated using google.

    Uppfært 07.03. kl. 11.15

    “Last night, seismic activity in Fagradalsfjall increased significantly and this increased activity lasted from around 18 – 23. Just after midnight at 00:22, unrest began which lasted for about 20 minutes, shortly afterwards an earthquake of magnitude 3.8 was measured.

    Subsequently, the activity increased even more and there was a lot of seismic activity during the night with sharp earthquakes.

    The Civil Protection Department of the National Commissioner of Police and the Icelandic Meteorological Office met with the Police in Suðurnes and a representative of Grindavík at 03.30 last night due to a number of earthquakes of magnitude 3-5 in the area from Þorbjörn to Fagradalsfjall. The earthquakes are well felt in Grindavík and cause concern to residents.

    It is the opinion of experts based on the available data, that the earthquakes that were found last night and this morning in Grindavík are most likely the result of voltage changes in the earth’s crust, and not due to a displacement of magma. It is therefore not considered that they are a short-term predictor of an eruption.

    Kristín Jónsdóttir, group leader of nature protection at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said in an interview with the RÚV news agency last night that although there are no signs of eruptions, this high activity is probably a sign of more movement of the magma in the magma tunnel under Fagradalsfjall. Kristín says that the night’s events have been very fast since midnight and very active. Many strong earthquakes have been recorded and some have occurred in about 20 minute long gusts. In general, there are smaller earthquakes that are signs of volcanic activity, but not large earthquakes.

    Since midnight, almost 1300 earthquakes have been detected on the Reykjanes peninsula. The largest earthquake of the night was a magnitude 5.0 earthquake. 02:02 about 3 km WS of Fagradalsfjall, the earthquake was felt well in the southwest corner.

    Since midnight, up to 40 earthquakes over 3 magnitude have been detected, of which five earthquakes over 4 magnitude. At the time of writing, seismic activity is considerable, but no other turbulence has been measured since the previous pulse was measured. In the last few hours, most of the activity has been moving from the area around Þorbjörn to the metabolic area between Fagradalsfjall and Keilir.

    The Meteorological Office continues to monitor the progress of the activity very closely. New satellite images are received today and will be examined and compared with the measurements of the last 24 hours to assess the situation. The results of that analysis will be published as soon as they are available.”

  22. What’s about this “white” spots in the earthquake lists from IMO?

    Sunday 07.03.2021 12:46:04 to 13:21:49
    Saturday 06.03.2021 09:51:59 to 10:41:42
    More before 48 hours

    Are they artificial or really happening? If real any explanation or pattern?

  23. Something seems to have the attention of the Keilir webcam. It seems to be scanning and at one point zoomed in. There seems to be quite a bit of shaking that I haven’t seen before too. I don’t think the forecast is for strong winds.

  24. I was watching last night (dog going nuts because raccoons outside) late into the night and there was a time when the thermal camera was kept in one spot for a long time. Is that camera monitored by a human ? Also noticed animals running around they show up as white dots.

    • I would say it is monitored at the moment. It isn’t going left and right in the same way it was yesterday. It goes along, then stops, zooms in and sometimes quickly shoots in the other direction before continuing as usual.

  25. A whole lot of stars seem to be accumulating in the areas north and northwest of Grindavík, near the SKSH GPS station and just west of Svartsengi/Blue Lagoon. That was the area of maximum uplift last spring and summer.

    I’m not actually rooting for an eruption there, but I did trek out to SKSH a couple of times for some very nice “before” photos. Just waiting for the “after” shots, I suppose.

  26. I know humans are atoned to seeing patterns, but is it me or are these pulses coming about every 6 hours?

    1815- 0200 last night
    0200-0800 this morning
    0800- 1320 today
    1320- ??

    I’m predicting between 20:00 and 21:00 GMT tonight another pulse will start.

    • I assume you mean the Krisuvik highpass 2.0hz? Mulling that myself. Interesting to see if your prediction works out!

    • Like the comment before (all ~25 hours a break of EQs), I would say the moon has an influence…

      …don’t have it know mathematical but ~6 hours between tide directions changes and all 25 hours the moon is “back” on his position…

      …it’s strange because high tides / low tides occurs two times a day and I never heard something about one of them has to be bigger…


      • Hm. First, there is no evidence for periodicity. I did check for that a few days ago. Episodes are separated by periods that can be 9 hours, 12 hours, 8 hours, 2 hours, .. Second, the effect in that paper is not due to the moon itself but to the tide, the 3 meter bulge of water adding its weight. May I point out that Keilir is on land?

        • Albert, the 2 hours I did not recognize but it’s not a perfect earth…

          It’s hard to find the pattern for time (and high) of the sea tide which we know since centuries…earth tide is not 100 years old…

          No known maps around for the crustal mountains down into the mantle, which we would need for predictions of the earth tides (and many parameters more)…

          We could be lucky if the marine mountain maps would be up to date (Mayotte)…

          Who knows how it looks under the Himalayas or even under the tiny Iceland island (how thick is the crust beneath each village?)

  27. Cool feature from the MILA webcams if you click on the arrow (>) on the left side you are able to download time-lapse videos of all days before today (for Hekla until November 2020) on my Android mobile phone with the Opera browser I was also able to download every day as a mp4…

  28. There are some webpages on the Iceland language version of the Iceland Meteorological Office, not visible in the English version. I did find one on verified quakes, please see for verified earthquakes, and if you set the level to mag 3 and above shown, you can see how the quake pattern has shifted.

    • Interesting, thanks! I reduced the depth to 3km, and the quake sources resolved themselves into two places. possibly two vertical upward intrusions from the general dike?

      • imho: it looks like 2 different dikes or more to me, I don’t believe they are related, except for the crustal tension or seismic movements occurring. I would love to see the (promised) GPS map from the IMO.

      • Hi again
        (I’m a former Bárðarbungian lurker)

        I gathered todays afternoon quakes from the webpage and categorized them into groups according to location and depth. The yellow quakes, closer to Keilir, seem to become extinct…

        Hope the link works.

        • There seems to be two intrusions.
          It is quite clear from the graphs.

          The one near Keillir stopped at 2km deep.

          The one now near Fagradalsfjall seems to be currently at 4km, with a few shallower quakes, but not enough to say that there is a conduit there yet.

          • It looks like maybe this is filling is a gap, its like a rifting event sped up. First dike was at Keilir, then now a new one a bit further south, perhaps this will be ongoing for a few days or weeks with more dikes, and erupt when theres no more space by suddenly rifting the whole thing, with a fissure opening through both areas at the same time.

            This is rather different to Krafla, which took years to do this, but maybe this area has higher melt generation with a tectonic cause for the infrequency of eruptions, like a lack of rifting a lot of the time. Perhaps this could be quite big then, not as big as Holuhraun but maybe bigger than Krafla.

        • Nice! You may want to be cautious about the quakes at a depth of 1.1 km. That value seems the be the default for quakes where the depth could not be well determined.

          • Right. I’ll remove these for the next update tomorrow.

        • Interesting. Was that “only” or the quakes pm 7/3/2021?

          The westward movement has been typical of recent swarms on the Peninsula.

    • Wow!! I assume much of this was captured by drone. Drones have opened up so much of our ability to capture such events.

    • Google translate.. Wow!! Presumo che gran parte di questo sia stato catturato da un drone. I droni hanno reso disponibile così tanto della nostra capacità di catturare tali eventi.

    • I was just about to post a link to that.

      Really nice high quality video of the fountains and the lava flow.

      How long will Etna keep doing this? Months? Years?

      • Months maybe, but not years at the current rate. It has erupted about 40 million m3 of magma this past few weeks, and all of it deep sourced, if it was to do a full year at this rate would be over 1 km3 which is more than Iceland and Hawaii combined by a factor of 2 for reference… 🙂

        What is more questionable is the stability of the SEC, the whole thing is splitting apart on its axis, with effusive vents erupting quite far down from the main fountain. These eruptions are also its most powerful in decades if not centuries, Etna has reached 1 km high fountains 9 times in the last 50 years and 6 of them were in the last 2 weeks… All the while this has been going the other craters have been in continuous strombolian activity too, and that to my knowledge has never happened before at all, not even in 1995-2001.

        We are strange creatures 🙂 getting exited over a volcano not erupting in Iceland and ignoring Etna, RIP.

        • Etna is also raining rocks, some of them quite large. The lapilli are associated with the larger historical eruptions, are they not?

          The eruption in 1669 sent a lava flow towards Catania that breached the wall, so we’re not there yet, I suppose.

          • 1669 was an effusive eruption, it was very similar to Holuhraun or Ahu’aila’au. Upper estimates of the volume of that eruption are around 1 km3 and it lasted about 4 months. The vent feeding that eruption is Monti Rossi next to Nicolosi, not a summit vent which have never produced lava flows reaching low elevation.

            There have been individual eruptions bigger than this, in 1789 there was a 3 km tall fountain, but that was only once and is possibly an exaggeration. The Central Crater again has erupted high fountains of this scale quite a few times since the 1940s most recently in 2016, but again these were generally single eruptions or maybe a pair, not a rapid series of 10 in 3 weeks. To have 6 fountains reach over 1 km in the span of a few weeks really is not something seen recently, in fact before this year the SEC had only reached this height 4 times prior in its 50 year history, and at least two resulted in a flank eruption from the resulting pressure.

        • Yes, that is funny, isn’t it. Etna gets more attention than Sinabung but much less than any activity in Iceland. Part of this is from the unpredictability of Icelandic volcanoes. The next eruption could be anywhere. The country is also much more ‘productive’ than Etna in terms of lava. And part is IMO: they are very open and public-oriented. It is very easy to get information on what is going on. (Probably helped by the fact that Icelanders are unlikely to panic but will take reasonable precautions. UK tabloids, take note.) Italy is doing fine, but it isn’t quite at the same level. Only HVO can compete, I think.

          • I think a part of it is also that Iceland was a big focus of the early years of VC. I wasnt there back then but I did find the old site, and back then most posts were on Iceland. It has only been in the last few years actually that a long lived attention has been given to Hawaii, because of what happened in 2018.

          • I wasn’t that interested in Etna until it started with these ridiculously large lava fountains, mainly because Etna seems to always be erupting.

            It isn’t always doing 1500 meter fountains, and neither are other volcanoes.

    • I asked the scientists how much lavostatic (hydrostatic) pressure was required to shoot lava straight up 1000 meters into the air but so far it’s been kicked from agency to agency with no one willing to take a stab at this. 1000 meters of water = 1422.33 psi = 9806.36 kPa as far as plain water goes, but fresh lava has more viscosity and weighs more than H20. I really am curious how much pressure is up on the top creating those very high lava fountains?

      • That is not a trivial question. The acceleration is explosive and comes from the sudden degassing, not from hydrostatic pressure. The pressure that causes depend on the size of the ejection hole: a small hole gives higher fountains. Ignoring air friction, to reach 1 km the lava needs to come out at 140 m/s. Assuming a continuous ejection of 1 m3/s, I estimate you’d need around 250 kPa. But I am open to correction on this.

        • Eruption rates of Etna paroxysms is enormous, 500+ m3/s. This is actually not too different from big fountains at Kilauea, but Etna also has a lot more water in the magma. The viscosity might play a part too, but it actually isnt clear if it is any higher than typical Hawaiian lava in these fountaining eruptions, so probably ok to ignore.

          • Chad Some of the small fountains at SEC base where super runny and clear bright red in daylight at Local Teams super HD stream. Clearly being Hawaiian style with fast smooth channel.
            Is this hot magma from Etnas deeper parts?

          • These small… instensly red mostly water vapour full fountains are often seen at Etnas summit.. the lava can be very fluid..dome fountains are common. The colour can be intense red in daylight sometimes even orange. Etnas low sillica and 1140 C in these fountains probaly haves something to do with it… 1964 had 1144 C measured in a spatter vents.
            Lava from these vents flows quickly as gassy pahoehoe channels near vents but quickly turns into fluid Aa.

          • These vents and fountains that sometimes appear are completely diffrent from the usual thick strombolian lava flows thats usualy seen on Etna.
            They where seen a few days ago at SEC s base.

            The first 2021 paroxysm was a dry hawaiian style fountain and clearely quite hot. But Hawaii and Iceland are a bit hotter but not alot more in eruption temperature.

          • There are many videos…. of these I will see what I can find

          • Comment above…

            My gmail but not my avatar : (
            VC dragons… incenirate this ugly face… some kind of bug

  29. The earthquake swarm is weakening and losing power.
    I would say that the risk of an eruption for a while we have left behind.

  30. I have a question: how many years does it take for a lava field to cool completely?
    I know that Holuhraun is still very hot under the solidified crust but does the longest known record have any documented examples?

    • I know that most of the lava erupted at Kilauea in 2018 is still completely liquid inside, the massive lava delta is 50 meters thick going to over 200 meters where it built beyond the shore. That area will be liquid inside for many decades, possibly even still at the end of this century, and it will be hot inside for centuries, probably most of the area around Ahu’aila’au will be buried by later eruptions before the big lava delta is cool enough to be habitable and the lava is going to be very dense solid basalt… I guess Pele really doesnt want Kapoho rebuilt this time.

      Holuhraun is mostly about 15 meters thick, its a bit bigger in volume than the Ahu’aila’au flow but way more extensive so much less thick overall. Some of it is probably still incandescent inside though, at least it will be hot enough to steam for probably at least a decade longer maybe more. The lava is a lot thicker near the vent, maybe closer to 40 meters, and the cone is 80 meters, so that will be hot a long time too.

    • I can’t answer your question, but Laugahraun was erupted in 1477 and the water that flows from beneath it, at Landmannalaugar, is scalding hot. The lava field is, at a guess, 20-30m high at its tip.

      • Yes absolutely. The Puna eruption proved that. It started with viscous lavas from decades past that were forced up by the intrusion. Remember the sound of it? with explosive bubbles of lava before the main event? The short version is that after Fissure 8 opened up and hell was unleashed.

        • I remember that, and watching one Hawaiian film one of the fissures, with the orange lava fountain jetting almost overhead and those silly rooster calls from the chicken farm that they had which seemed to never stop.

        • Thank you for the answers and examples. I researched the history of Eldfell and how they used the heat of the to heat the houses, so I was interested in how long it takes for the lava to cool.
          Do underwater lava flows also take years to cool down?

          • If water can circulate to the magma, it will cool much faster

        • Thick underwater ponded lava lakes takes just as long as land rootless lakes to cool

          Columnar columns can be found in massive underwater flows

  31. A careful search for hottest lava came up with a very interesting article on one of the Hawaiian chain volcanoes called Puhahonu (now the 2 Gardiner Pinnacles is all that remains). That article can be found at

    The authors write in section 4.3 “The percent melting was then calculated. This gave a pressure of 3.2 GPa and 24% melting for the Puhahonu basalt. Using these values, the Tp for the Fo 91.85% olivine is 1703 ± 56 °C (all temperature uncertainties are 2 sigma values). This is the highest Tp reported for any Hawaiian basalt but within the 2 sigma uncertainty for the value obtained for a Mauna Loa olivine with Fo 91.3% (Tp Hawaii = 1670 ± 51 °C; Putirka, 2016).” (end quote)

    Interesting that an old Mauna Loa lava is quoted at 1670°C; that is very hot, the lava color would be white at the surface when freshly erupted.

    The authors conclude that Volcano Puhahonu is twice the size of Mauna Loa, thus being the largest shield volcano on earth, with an estimated volume of 148 K km^3 compared to Mauna Loa’s 74K km^3 volume and this size differential was caused by a thermal pulse from the mantle resulting in the very high temperatures and rapid effusive magma ejection.

    An open question: How hot is the hotest Iceland magma?

    • It probably wasnt actually erupted at 1600 C, there were olivines from Ahu’aila’au that recorded at temperature of nearly 1400 C and there was no major magma intrusion before the eruption in 2018, lava temperature at Ahu’aila’au was about 1160 C. The magma chamber of Kilauea is probably at about this temperature overall but the deeper conduit is evidently far hotter. My guess is as it completely overtakes Mauna Loa as the only shield stage volcano in the future it will erupt this ultrahot magma too, if it hasnt already got that capability.

      Hottest lavas in Iceland are from Bardarbunga, theres a table mountain that erupted lava at 1250 C. Holuhraun was 1180 C, and that was after 50 km in a dike, the interior of Bardarbunga is probably also at 1300+ C,


      Here it is, 1240 C eruption temperature for lava making up Kistufell, which is next to Bardarbunga. The initial intrusion that caused Holuhraun came up from the mantle somewhere in this area, and theres a lot of Holocene flows in the immediate vicinity too that do look to be very fluid and thin compared to most other areas.

      My guess would be that unlike the rift zones at Holuhraun and Veidivotn where long dikes feed eruptions from the central volcanoes, eruptions in this section of the Bardarbunga rift are direct mantle source, so might erupt without anything happening at Bardarbunga itself. Theres also one large Holocene shield here too which could be a 3rd central volcano perhaps, and a Laki scale flood lava just underneath it from the early Holocene. If that was erupted at 1240 C too that is a rather frightening prospect…

  32. Interesting quake distribution in the Kermadecs. Seems to have formed 2/3 of a 100km wide ring centred just North of Raoul Island.

    Map from USGS:

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