Volcanoes of Europe

Mount Elbrus (photo: Lev Kalmykov)

Mount Elbrus (photo: Lev Kalmykov)

Europe has few volcanoes. It lacks the volcanic magnificence of Indonesia, the grandeur of the Andes, the destructiveness of a St Helens or the beauty of a Fuji. But it can hold its own. This small continent, so small it had to borrow its plate from Asia, has volcanoes with history, volcanoes to be proud of.

Etna is well know to be tallest active volcano in Europe. The BBC and Wikipedia tell us so: what greater authority could there be? But including dormant volcanoes, Etna is not even in the top 3. All the medals go elsewhere. But which are those unrecognized prize winners?

Several sites give lists of volcanoes in Europe. But they seemed inconclusive to me, leaving out too many (wikipedia), or mixing dormant with extinct, or using non-standard boundaries of Europe. Being unable to find a definitive list of active or dormant volcanoes of Europe, I decided to make one of my own.

This meant deciding on the borders of Europe. The common choice is to exclude Turkey but to include Russia – without Siberia. My chosen borders run through the Mediterranean, include the Aegean sea (arbitrarily following the Turkey-Greece border along the Turkish coast) back to Istanbul, pass through the Bosporus, and follow the ridge of the Caucasus through Georgia (the lost Tethys ocean) and go north through the (non-volcanic) Ural mountains. On the Atlantic side, I have taken the western-most point of Ireland as the western limit. My borders thus include Great Britain, Ireland, and the islands further north including Jan Mayen, but exclude Iceland and the Azores: I stay well away from the mid-oceanic ridge. The Canary Islands are also excluded, as in spite of their national affiliation and currency, they are on the African plate: (sorry, El Teide!).

To count as an active or dormant volcano, the eruptive history and current state must make it plausible that a new eruption will occur. Extinct ones should be excluded. I did come across ones listed as dormant when they clearly had entered their eternal sleep. Only magmatic eruptions count: phreatic events by themselves do not, unless they indicate active or eruptable magma. There are some borderline cases! The mud volcanoes, such as in Berca, Romania, erupt water and soil instead of magma and are thus excluded.

One also has to decide what counts as a separate volcano. For stratovolcanoes this is fairly easy: the main peak counts as one, including any satellite cones, but for a double peaked volcano it is less clear. I counted a double peak twice, if both peaks are separately able to erupt. This means that Vesuvius counts as one, as the second (older) peak is somewhat dead. For monogenetic volcano fields, where each individual volcano erupts only once, I have counted the volcanic field as one volcano.

I have ordered them in elevation, from highest to lowest. This is unfair on volcanoes which grow from a low base, none more so than submarine volcanoes. If your volcano wants to reach the top, it should grow from the shoulders of the nearest giant. A mole hill in Tibet would beat most mountains in Europe.

So, here is my list. Number 1 may surprise you, or if not, number 2 still may. A brief description is given for each (all deserve a post on their own). At the end are some I rejected, for various reasons. If you know one I missed, do let me know! Enjoy.

    Mount Elbrus (photo: Lev Kalmykov)

    Mount Elbrus (photo: Lev Kalmykov)

  1. Mount Elbrus, 5,642 m, Russia.

    Double-peaked Elbrus, located in the Caucasus mountains, is known as the highest mountain in Europe. Less well known, it is also Europe’s highest active volcano. Lava flows have been radio-carbon dated to 6250+-50, 4270+-40, 1330+-80, and 99+-60 years ago. Ice core studies of a glacier on top of the mountain have shown, beside global sulfate peaks such as from Katmai and Laki, some layers which appear to be from further local events, in one case including debris. The oldest eruptions of modern Elbrus have been dated to 250,000 years ago, but there was a prior volcano here, paleo-Elbrus, which has left an ancient caldera, measuring 17 by 14 km. The western summit is the highest peak; it has a small volcanic crater 250 m in diameter with fumaroles at the top, and thermal springs on the slopes. There is evidence for a 9-km wide magma chamber, between 1-7 km deep. Elbrus is certain to erupt again, and although most events are minor, the presence of extensive (and rapidly melting) glaciers makes any eruption potentially dangerous. Although at low probability, it also remains a candidate for a future caldera eruption.

    The European credentials of Mount Elbrus are strong: the mountain is well to the north of the main Caucasus chain, on European side of the Caucasus watershed.

  2. Mount Elbrus, 5,612 m, Russia.

    Although Mount Elbrus is a single mountain, it holds two volcanoes. The two peaks of Mount Elbrus are separated by a 5416-m high saddle. The two summits are almost the same height, and both are volcanoes which have erupted multiple times, and separately. Since neither can be considered as a satellite, and they erupt independently (albeit from the same magma chamber), they can each be considered as a volcano. This makes Mount Elbrus both the highest and second highest volcano in Europe. The eastern peak is the slightly lower one. This peak had a reported eruption around the year 50 AD. There is a 24 km long lava flow from just below the summit towards the east/northeast.

    Mount Kazbek, on an old postcard

    Mount Kazbek, on an old postcard

  3. Mount Kazbek, 5,047 m, Georgia.

    Like Mount Elbrus, this volcano is in the Caucasus, but whereas Elbrus is somewhat north of the main range, on the Russian side of the border, Kazbek is within the main mountain chain and is part of Georgia. Although in the main chain, it is still on the northern side of the watershed and thus qualifies as an European volcano. The water drains into the Terek river which flows into Russia before reaching the Caspian Sea. The central cone appears to have been quiescent for a long time, (perhaps as long 100,000 years), but satellite cones have sprung up on the slopes of the stratovolcano and these have erupted much more recently. The most recent eruption was around 750 BC, and an earlier one has been dated at 4000 BC, from the peak called Lesser Tkarsheti (2214 m). Distant ash covering Neanderthal sites in Russia has been chemically identified as coming from Kazbek, indicating a large eruption happened here 40,000 years ago, but it is not known from which peak.

    Over the past few hundred years, the main danger has been from glacier debris flows. The largest event was in 1776, when during a thunderstorm a gigantic ice-debris flow came down, blocking the Terek River for three days. A temporary lake formed, flooding several villages and drowning many people. When the Terek River broke the ice dam, it flooded the valley downstream. A smaller but more devastating event happened in 2002, when a large ice debris flow broke from the Kolka glacier, reaching speeds of 250 km/h and killing about 70 people. It may have been triggered by a small explosive vent but this is disputed. Even if an eruption in the next decades is unlikely, the region is subject to large earthquakes which can destabilize the steep glaciers. Global heating is affecting the region (the Elbrus glaciers have been thinning at 3 meters per decade since 1994): it is not known whether this could further destabilise the glaciers.

    Keli Highland. Photo: Alexander Souladze, www.panoramio.com/photo/129504394

    Keli Highland. Photo: Alexander Souladze, www.panoramio.com/photo/129504394

  4. Keli highland 3608 m, Georgia

    This is a volcanic highland, covering 600 km2, which straddles the Caucasus watershed and could be considered as both part of Europe and part of Asia (in true fashion, a borderline case). The landscape appears lunar. It is a lava plateau, 2-3 km high, with three main levels, separated by ridges. A large number of domes and scoria cones have formed on the plateau, mostly 200 to 300 m tall, some of which drain into Europe and other (more) into Asia. Most cones erupted only once (the technical term for this is monogenetic). Seven of the cones have erupted over the past 30,000 years, including Khorisa which drains into the Terek river. (The K-Ar isotopic ratios used for dating the flows do not work well for ages less than 35,000 years, and some of the flows could be much younger). The area is considered dormant rather than extinct: volcanic activity could resume. It is very different from Elbrus and Kazbek, as it has build one-off cones rather than a large stratovolcano.

    Etna, with endangered Catania in the foreground

    Etna, with endangered Catania in the foreground

  5. Etna 3,329 m, Italy.

    Although far from the highest overall (it falls short by more than 2 km), this impressive stratovolcano is certainly the most active among Europe’s tallest. The most recent eruption was last week. The eruptions vary greatly in severity: a large one in 1699 reached the city of Catania, although the flows mostly stayed outside of the city walls which apparently were lava proof. Most eruptions occur at the summit and are explosive, but do little damage except to tourists venturing too closely. However, the mountain also has flank eruptions and lava flows from those can be much more dangerous. (Somewhat ironic, in 1971 the volcano observatory was itself destroyed.)

    Why is Etna here? The main Italian volcanoes are to the north, and there is no known subduction zone underneath Sicily. There is however a major fault line running NNW-SSE, and extension along this weakness may allow magma to travel up. The Hyblaean Mountains, to the south of Etna, contain an older volcanic remnant, showing the area has been active for a long time; volcanism may have migrated a bit north.

    Beerenberg, Jan Mayen

    Beerenberg, Jan Mayen

  6. Beerenberg, 2,277 m, Norway.

    This is the only Scandinavian volcano on my list. It is located on Jan Mayen island, midway between Norway and Iceland. As an aside, it is the highest mountain on Earth with a Dutch name. Beerenberg last erupted in 1985. There are typically several eruptions per century. However, the weather is not great and the population is small, so much may be missed. The 1970 eruption was found by a passing plane and was missed by the locals who were not even aware their mountain was an active volcano.

    Puy Pariou

    Puy Pariou

  7. Chaine de Puys, 1886 m, France.

    This is a chain of monogenetic volcanoes, 5 km wide and 40 km long, in the Massif Central midway between Paris and Barcelona. The chain contains a large number of cinder cones, lava domes, and maars. Most famous, and most scenic, is Puy de Dome. The tallest one is the Puy de Sancy. The cause of the volcanism is crustal extension, related to the on-going African collision. The Puys, the lava domes, formed between 17,000 and 6,00 year ago, during a series of 53 eruptions. The most recent dated eruption is 3840+-120 BC, although from an unknown vent. There is little evidence for continuing activity, but statistical analysis shows that after the flurry of events after the ice age, one would expect one eruption per 10,000 year. The current phase of quiescence is therefore normal, and the area should be considered dormant, not extinct.

    Vesuvius, 1944

    Vesuvius, 1944

  8. Vesuvius, 1,281 m, Italy.

    This became the most famous of the European volcanoes thanks to the unfortunate fate of Pompei. Its accessibility helped too: it is near a major city, low enough to be reached fairly easily while temperatures are mild enough on the top for the inappropriately dressed tourist, while it is safe, being as quiet as the proverbial dodo. But not as dead. It actually erupts regularly and these eruptions tend to be destructive. The last one was in 1944, and it almost wiped out the aircraft of the 340th Bombardment Group which were parked on a nearby airfield. Eruptions vary greatly in intensity and length of dormancy is unpredictable. But even a small eruption could be problematic to the dense population between it and the sea. Pompei could yet be buried again.



  9. Stromboli, 924 m, Italy.

    Without doubt the most active of Europe’s volcanoes. It just never stops. This is the easternmost of the Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily, which also include Vulcano itself. The eruptions are mostly minor: the lava fountains reach up to 150 m above the vent. An eruption in September 1930 was more serious, when with little warning, two large explosions hurled blocks which destroyed houses in the village, a rock avalanche reached the sea and caused a 2-m tsunami, and several large lava flows occured. Six people were reported killed by the explosion, avalanche and tsunami. A repeat would seriously endanger many tourists.

    Volca de Santa Margarida, Garrotxa

    Volca de Santa Margarida, Garrotxa

  10. Garrotxa, 893 m, Spain.

    This is a volcanic field near Barcelona, with 38 monogenetic peaks. The magma appears to have come up via faults oriented NS. The most recent one is dated 11,000 yr ago. The region is not currently active and it is not clear whether it should be considered dormant or extinct. The region lines up with the volcanism around the Chaine de Puys and the Eifel, extending roughly NNS-SSE from Germany to southern Spain. All these regions are likely related to the crustal extension.

    The eruption near Pantelleria

    The eruption near Pantelleria

  11. Pantelleria, 836 m, Italy.

    This is a volcanic island, 8 by 13 km across, south of Sicily (closer to Tunisia than it is to Sicily). The island has fumaroles and hot springs. The highest peak is Montagne Grande but although covered in lava flows, it is not itself the source of the lava but was subject to uplift. There are two calderas, the younger (smaller) one from a 3.4 km3 DRE eruption 45,000 year ago. Since that time activity has steadily decreased. The last explosive activity has been dated to 3000 years ago. The best estimates puts eruptions at one per 13,000 years at the current time. However, there was a subsea eruption in Oct 1891, 4 km northwest of the island. Earthquakes and uplifting occured in the north of Pantelleria a year before the eruption, and again 3 days before; the uplift was about 80cm in the north of Pantelleria. The eruption happened in deep water (more than 100 meter) and gave floating debris and a smell as of gun powder, but did break the sea surface. It happened along a 1-km line, perhaps a rift or dyke. The cause of the volcoanism is movement of Sicily: it is rotating clockwise, puling the sea floor here apart.

  12. Ischia 788 m, Italy.

    This volcanic outcrop is the site of a major eruption 56,000 yr ago. It is 30 km from Naples, and is related to Campei Flegrei but far enough away to deserves to be included in its own right. The island formed from resurgent doming after a large eruption 33,000 years ago. Since than, eruptions have come from small one-off vents. The most recent eruption, with a small lava flow, was in 1302, when a lava flow ran 3 kilometers to the sea from a new vent at Campo del Arso. A number of eruptions were reported during roman times, and the time since the last eruptions may be longer than average. A new eruption is plausible but it may take several 100 years.

    Hionesa peak on Methana. source: greece.com

    Hionesa peak on Methana. source: greece.com

  13. Methana, 760 m, Greece.

    The Methana peninsula, only 50 km from Athens on the Aegean coast, has a series of volcanic cones, on land, on islands and under water, and suffers fairly regular small eruption. The most recent one was probably in 1922 but has not been confirmed, in Kameni Vouno, on the nortwest side of Methana. There was a subsea eruption in 1707 and Kameni Vouno also erupted around 258 BC, when a flank eruption produced andesitic lavas which reached the sea, build a new dome with a 100-m crater. The region is considered dormant apart from the many hot springs, but this volcanic eruption shows that it should be included on this list.

    Stefanos crater on Nisyros

    Stefanos crater on Nisyros

  14. Nisyros, 698 m, Greece.

    This small island, just off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean sea, has a 10 km2 caldera, which reached it current size 45,000 year ago when tephra was spread over the surrounding area. This eruption is estimated at 2-3 km3 DRE and produced pyroclastic flows which covered the island. The volcano is still active and has occasional small eruptions, but the last four (1422, 1871, 1873, 1888) have probably been phreatic only. Stefanos, the largest crater, is also phreatic. A borderline case: it is not clear whether the magma chamber is still sufficiently evolving to count as active. An earthquake swarm in 1997, reaching M5+, may have been due to an injection of fresh magma.

    Pumice quarry and obsidian flow on Lipari

    Pumice quarry and obsidian flow on Lipari

  15. Lipari, 602 m, Italy.

    This is the largest island of the Aeolian island arc. It is not nearly as active as Stromboli, but it does have occasional eruptions. An explosive event occured at the Monte Pilato around 600 AD, leaving a layer of debris on the nearby island of Vulcano. A more recent event, the Rocche Rosse eruption, occured in 1230+-40 AD, starting explosively followed by an obsidian flow and forming a small tuff cone.

    Vulcano, with Vulcanello in the foreground

    Vulcano, with Vulcanello in the foreground

  16. Vulcano, 501 m, Italy.

    Not a joke: there is an island called Vulcano, it has an active volcano, and it is the origin of the word. Every volcano in the world is named after this island, just north of Sicily. The last eruption was in 1888-1890, including explosions which hurled blocks on the land and into the ocean. A long-lasting effusive eruption occured in 1731-1739. One of the eruption centres, Vulcanello, grew into a separate island during an eruption in 188 BC; it became connected to the main island in 1550. There are two overlapping calderas, 100,000 and 20,000 years old. Vulcano is the southernmost of the 7 main Aeolian islands, all volcanic in origin, which together form a small island arc. The arc also includes Stromboli and Lipari. There are several seamounts as well. The cause of the volcanoes appears to be a combination of an old subduction event (which may have stopped now) and tectonic fault lines, oriented NW-SE to NE-SW, causing extension of the crust.

    The Aeolian Islands can be considered as the origin of the science of volcanology. Two eruption styles, vulcanian and strombolian, are named after this region.

  17. Pozzuoli (Campi Flegrei), 458 m, Italy.

    Located within the urban area of Naples, this was listed as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world on VC (and by others). The last eruption was in 1538 and was minor. The area encircles a lather prehistoric caldera and has numerous locations were a new eruption could occur, both on land and
    in the bay. It has been discussed extensively as #3 of the NDVP list on this blog.



  18. Laacher See, 275 m, Germany.

    This 2-km wide lake is a caldera in the west-Eifel volcanic field, in the Rhine valley. The small size of the lake belies the eruption: ash from this explosion is found over much of Europe, and it is believed to have been a VEI6 eruption, Pinatubo like. The crater formed about 12,000 years ago and is the only caldera in Europe north of Italy. Eruptions in the region are infrequent, with the previous large eruption happening 100,000 years ago. Numerous maars in the area show that small eruptions are more common, and these are the main hazard. A new eruption here is currently not on the cards, but the given the fairly recent major eruption, it is unlikely to have gone extinct.

    Nea Kameni

    Nea Kameni

  19. Santorini / Kolombo, 114 m, Greece.

    Little was left of the original island after the famous Thera eruption around 1630 BC which devastated the Mediterranean and destroyed Crete. The remnant of the caldera wall is now densely populated. New eruptions formed islands within the caldera: Palia Kameni (197 BC, 46 AD, 726 AD), Mikra Kameni (1570), Nea Kameni (1707, 1866), where Nea Kameni swallowed Mikra Kameni. Nea Kameni is currently 3 km2 and 114 m tall. It last erupted (very minor) in 1950. About 7 km away, outside of the caldera, Kolombo volcano breached the surface in an intense eruption around 1650 (killing about 70 people) but it has since sunk to 18 m below. Kolombo seems connected to Santorini by a dyke, making it a satellite which is why I chose not to list it as a separate volcano. Nea Kameni seems the most likely place from where Santorini will rebuild itself. However, the region around Kolombo, and further NE of there, is seismically very active and it is possible that Santorini will move.



  20. Empedocles , -8m, Italy.

    This is one of 13 underwater volcanoes located between Sicily and Tunisia. It last erupted in 1867. This large area includes several eruptive sites, which might count as separate volcanoes. Ferdinandea briefly appeared above sea level after an 1831 eruption. It is currently 8 m below sea level.

Rejected volcanoes

  • Panarea, Italy. This is the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, and is considered dormant because of continuing occasional underwater activity, such as a gas eruption in 2002. As there is no record of or date for any volcanic eruption, I have not included it. However, if evidence emerges it may need to be added to the list.

    Some volcanoes are described in papers as dormant, but considering the evidence or dates, extinct seems a better description:

  • Alban Hills, 950 m, Italy. This volcanic complex overlooks Rome. The last eruption has been dated to 35,000 years ago, so this may be considered extinct. However, the mountain is still emitting copious amounts of CO2 and occasional uplift which may be hydrothermal or magmatic. A borderline case between extinct and dormant.
  • Mount Kabardzhin, 3,136 m, Georgia. It is near Mount Kazbek in the Caucasus but is considered a separate complex. Wikipedia lists it as ‘dormant’ (under the name Mount Khabrajina), but it has not erupted for 100,000 years and should be considered safely extinct. Google maps doesn’t know this one: try the coordinates 42.57171, 44.5565 to find it.
  • Mount Ciomatu in Transylvania (Rumania). In spite of not having erupted for 32,000 years, it is listed as dormant rather than extinct. The last eruption formed a crater lake, St. Ana. The reason to list it as dormant rather than extinct may be touristic. There is uncertainty whether the latest eruption was phreatic or had a magmatic component: see this thesis for more information!
  • Milos, 748 m, Greece. The region with surrounding islands has an extensive volcanic heritage but no central volcano. It had a large eruption 90,000 year ago which formed the volcanic crater which now is the harbour, ringed by the remaining island. There is large geothermal heat reservoir underneath, giving rise hydrothermal activity leaving debris and mud deposits. There was a hydrothermal explosion as recent as 140+-60 AD. However, I found no evidence for recent magmatic activity.
  • Calatrava volcanic field, 700 m, Spain. A lesser known volcanic area in Spain, south of Madrid. It lies at the end of the linear line connecting the Laacher See, the Chain de Puys and Garrotxa. The most recent outcrop is the Columba volcano. The events here have been Strombolian volcanicsm and hydrothermal explosion, beginning 8 million year ago. Although sometimes listed as dormant, volcanic eruptions seem to have died down 700,000 year ago. The most recent event has been carbon-dated to 6000 years ago, but this was phreatomagmatic. The area shows a large number of maars, indicating such explosions remain fairly common and could re-occur. Studies of the volcanic deposits have also shown that earthquakes up to M7.5 have occured here and this may be the main hazard in the area.

    Final word

    Europe has enough volcanoes, most actively along the southern edge but also in the heartland, from Germany to Spain. Stromboli can hold its own against Hawaii; Vesuvius can give St Helens a run for its money and is peak tourist fodder besides; Elbrus could have pride of place in many countries. Just choose your borders wisely.

    It happened in Iceland - could it happen in Europe?

    It happened in Iceland – could it happen in Europe?

  • 166 thoughts on “Volcanoes of Europe

    1. Lovely read Albert, thanks a lot.

      Fav is no. 7 to me. Climbed the Puy Marie and rang the bell at the top…

      My favorite volcanic scenery is the Rhine Graben with the Vosgues and the Schwarzwald at both sides with the Kaiserstuhl inbetween! Too oldfor the list, but I am stunned every time I am driving south.

    2. Nice read, I didn’t know many of these.

      My grandfather knows one of the Jan Mayans who didn’t know about the eruption in 1970.

      And as Iceland isn’t included, then here’s a video which is doing the rounds on social media atm “15 Years of Icelandic Earthquakes and Eruptions in 4 Minutes”

    3. Great read as always, there were several on your list that I’d never heard of. But a query, though, there are a couple not mentioned, and I wonder why: Ischia (last eruption, very definitely magmatic, in the 14th Century) -is it considered as part of Campi Flegrei? And Pantelleria, with a submarine eruption in 1891.

      • I probably should add Ischia to the list. It is close to Campei Flegrei but far enough that it should be considered in its own right. Pantellaria will be added too, when I have a minute. It is rather close to Africa but in this region the delineation between the African and European plate isn’t straightforward. In any case, I had missed it. Do let me know of other you may find.

        • Only other candidate I can think of is Marsili, submarine cone west of Naples. Only discovered in the 1920s (info from Wiki), no known eruptions, but INGV think it is potentially active. Given that the summit crater is 450m below the surface, getting dates for the most recent eruptions poses some, err, difficulties. If Boris B reads this, maybe he could advise?

        • At least two more active/dormant underwater mountains: Marsili and Palinuro

          Borderline cases: Vulsini, Larderello, Vavilev, Magnagi

          The latter two being in the same arc as Marsili and Palinuro, but information on those submarine volcanoes is scarce.

    4. Superb read, especially for me being European snd such. 😀
      I actually happen to live on an extinct volcano which is now a green 1600m hill called “Pohorje” in Slovenia. There are still magmatic rocks to be found allover the place, mostly Dacite and Rhyolite leftovers. Also quite a few studies were made on the volcanic past of this region.

      • People were standing on the coast, watching the eruptions. There was a lighthouse there as well, which I believe, survived.

        • That sounds like the Capelihhos eruption, on Faial in the Azores; which I think Albert specifically excluded from ‘Europe’?

          • That was Capelinhos, but Azores had another smaller eruptions in the last 50 years, Pico 1963 (not confirmed), São Jorge 1964, Banco Dom João de Castro 1997 (not confirmed), Serreta in 1998. All submarine eruptions.

            Being from Azores, i´m a bit disappointed lol expecting to find some Azores Volcanoes, but its understandable to exclude Mid Atlantic volcanoes. Anyhow some volcanoes in Azores and Iceland are located in the EuroAsian Plate.

            • Sao Miguel volcanoes (at least 3 central volcanoes there) could be in Euroasian plate.
              And in Iceland: Oraefajokull is also in Euroasian plate, as well as Esjufjoll (often ignored).

            • those are fair points. In part, the reason for leaving out the Azores and Iceland are for convenience: they have rather a lot of volcanoes (Azores was covered nicely on VH and Iceland by Carl on VC). Of course in a way, the entire MAR can be considered as one enormous volcano! The division which volcano is on which plate can change: plate boundaries frequently jump, and entire island can change their home plate. This also happened to Spain.

    5. Some activity at Askja, by drumplots and tremor signals looks like either some deeper quakes or some deep activity. Signal was detected far south to VON and JOK.

      • In my opinion, Askja seems to be edging towards an eruption.

        It has experienced several degrees of activity, often a bit unexpected, over the past few years. such as the caldera lake thawing in mid winter, or rumbles heard just a few weeks prior to Holuhraun.

        The quakes have been getting deeper and more frequent. In my opinion, Askja could well erupt within the next couple of years, it could even be the next Icelandic eruption. That’s my guess.

        • Indeed, Askja is also more seismicaly active than it looks on the IMO general earthquake plots. Yoy can see the latest deep swarm at Askja on the special plot.

        • About Askja eruptions:
          “Known precursors: Significant increase in seismic activity and inflation at central volcano or at emerging eruption sites on fissure swarm; increase in fumarole activity; small phreatic explosive events
          “Expected precursors: Same as known precursors”

          from FutureVolc (http://futurevolc.vedur.is/?volcano=ASK#), where there is a lot more information (including details of precursors) showing how charming and lively Askja can be.

    6. Good read.
      Alban hills are dormant, not extinct, and last eruptive activities is not 35000 years ago but 5000 years ago and there was a lahar in 400 bc. There are some roman historians that described little eruptions about 2500 years ago with stones falling from the sky.
      Keep in mind that Alban hills had also 30000/40000 yr rest period between two eruptions. INGV catalogs it as quiescent (dormant). Uplift between 1955 and 1995 was 30 cm. Minimum uplift is 5/7 mm/year. It is estimated that there could be hundreds km3 of magma at the depth of 5/7 km under Alban lake. In an unknown future it could enter the list of dangerous volcanos in Italy. Sorry for my bad english and that there are only italian papers about last years studies.

      • Opinions differ on the Alban Hills, even among geologists. The 2006 paper I used reported ‘Contrary to previous studies, we did not find evidence of magmatic or hydromagmatic eruptions younger than 36±1 ka.’ Repotred evidence for younger eruptions (the youngest being 7500 BC) did not seem strong enough to me. Where can I find the report of a lahar 400BC? A beautiful area – I was there two months ago.

        We can’t be certain about the status of any volcano until it erupts.

        • Hi Albert, thank you for the article. About lahar in 400 BC that is reported on italian wiki there is this paper, unfortunally in italian language, only a little piece in english:
          There are also artifatcs from meddle Bronze age buried by volcanic deposits, witnessing a more recent activity.
          According to INGV, as a quiescent volcano (http://vulcani.ingv.it/en/), it’s expected that one day it will erupts again.

          i hope you’ve tasted castles recipes and wine 😀 It’s a wonderfull area for me, meeting point of mythology and history and natural beuty, it reminds me the legendary story of Aeneas, and the beginning of roman empire, and the millenary Diana’s worship.

      • That long ago, stones from the sky generally meant actual stones from the sky. There were sufficient active volcanoes on the peninsula and near it that there would be a history of actual volcanic activity. Cheers –

    7. Great post!!
      And great list, which is rather accurate!

      Could the line from Madrid volcanoes to Laacher See, be the path of a hotspot?

      If so, we could expect both volcanic fields in Spain (and France) to be getting extinct, and Laacher See as the leading spot of activity in the future.

      • I don;t think it is a hotspot trail. There is no clear age gradient, nor uplifting. Instead it is more likely crustal extension, related to the Africa-Europe collision. Whether it is a single line or several separate areas is hard to proof. A straight line does fit rather well but that can be deceptive. Note that the type of activity is very similar in all these areas, and different from that elsewhere in Europe.

    8. Pantelleria and Ischia have been added to the list. I still need to look into the subsea volcanoes: those are in general must less well researched.

    9. Hi!
      First of all, sorry for my english. Is cool that “La Garrotxa” appears in the post! I live near this wonderful place. I hope one day we could see an eruption there…

      More information about the Catalan Volcanoes. Is in spanish, use a translator if u want!


    10. Are the Chaîne des Puys and the VulkanEifel volcanic regions being actively monitored? A future VEI 6 eruption of Laacher See would spell disaster for the economy of Germany and the rest of Europe.

      • Laacher See is considered to be very unlikely to see a large eruption at any time in the near geological future. I’m sure they’re monitored some, but in terms of funds for monitoring european volcanoes, there are far far greater risks out there.

    11. Here is a bit from NBC about why you should be cautious in
      Being parboiled is not a good way to go…

      • Ian, I am really appreciative of the effort you’re putting into these recent graphic chronologies of activity. I was wondering if you have a working list of all these graphs you’ve posted in the last couple of weeks? Perhaps you (or VC?) could set up some kind of an archive for future reference?
        Thanks again for sharing.

      • Great stuff, Ian. Thank you very much for all the work that’s gone into those animations.

        Not only are they very informative, but they bring back the excitement of those days (just after I’d got back from a trip to Iceland, including camping within 10 kms of BB), when not much work got done because I couldn’t drag myself away from IMO’s seismicity pages, or from the “won’t it; will it, and if so where?” discussions on here.

    12. Interesting little swarm well below what appears to be Bardarbunga’s NE rim. Most activity seems focused in the 4-8km depths. Also noting some increase in activity possible within/near the dyke leading to Holuhraun. Given the recent near-surface quakes on Bard, followed by the clustering of quakes below the upper magma chamber then near the dyke(s), the pattern is suggestive of what we saw during the active phase of the Holuhraun eruption. Was at first wondering if the ol’ toothpaste tube is getting squeezed a bit, but the drumplots aren’t showing anything particularly related to magma movement…just some snap-crackle-and pop type stuff.

    13. There’s also the “isla alborán” a small Island between spain and morocco, wikipedia states it as being of volcanic origin, but there’s nothing else I found on it

    14. Hello All!
      Sorry for my work related absence lately. Real life sometimes takes precedence.

      And now over to volcanoes, eruptions and rather surprisingly Iceland.
      A likely small eruption NNE of Grimsey started slightly after midnight wednesday local time, or a large hydrothermal event. This came after an intrusion at depth after a series of deep (12 to 22km depth) earthquakes. That is very deep for the region, and is even deeper than the previously given level of the MOHO.
      Onset of HT quickly ramped up and started to quickly fall in the early morning hours as fluid started to run more freely.
      The probable eruption is taking place at depth out in the ocean and is not likely to break the surface unless the eruption continues for quite some time. So, do not expect webcamaloosa to ensue.


      • Nice find! Any comment from IMO? How deep is the sea there?

        • Conservatively there is at least a magmatic intrusion there.
          Unsure about an ongoing eruption, if it is, it’s small. Earthquake swarm was also quite small still…. but deep indeed.

      • If there is no webcam its just not happening lol

        Swarm happening for the second time today between Hofsjokull and Langjokull

          • Something significant is happening there.
            Tremor graphs went quite high.
            This is an active central volcano, Hveravellir, eruptions there are very large efusive (lava floods) but very infrequent (about once every 1000 years or more)

            The area I have been talking about since a few years, southeast of Langjokull ice cap (north of Geysir), where I predict a possible black swan fissure eruption, actually belongs to the fissure swarm of Hveravellir. 😀 who knows…

            • Some rumble on jok and vat drums but nothing shows up on quake lists or tremor plots. Wonder why? Right in dead zone…

    15. Way back I stumbled upon a study here


      Now, I have tried to read up on this, hopefully someone who may have a better understanding can comment on what this magnetic survey is showing but from what I understand it shows the different areas that have a difference in the magnetism from the general field of the earth.

      You can see a full blowup of the picture if you click on it.

      What is interesting to me is how the quake patterns and the patterns of magnetism align and here is the illustration of what interests me

      So, before I go ahead and give my speculation on this and thus end up looking like a total dumbass, have a look and let me know what you think.

      Focus on the area of the breakout and where the dike made changes in angles.

      • Wow, great find!
        Well, I am not keen in magnetism, and I would also love to hear more scientific interpretation of the data.
        But I can tell you one thing based on the experience I have with making plots of tomography data, and gravity data for example, and the likes of such, including magnetic data. There is no rule of thumb as far as I am aware. But there is kind of a guideline I noticed regarding volcanoes. Usually the magma chambers, more specially bigger ones and with more melt, were lower or weaker in gravity and probably magnetism. Essentially, looking at these graphics, one could suspect and say that you can see the magma bodies under Askja, Bardarbunga, and probably Hamarinn and Grimsvotn. And stronger gravity fields and probably stronger magnetic fields are here on the more solid caldera rims, most notable in Bardarbunga and Askja, and also at the more older “solid” Trolladyngja volcano and Kistufell. There is probably not a coincidence that the dike progress stopped when it approached a stronger magnetic body, most likely strong solid igneous rock. And it also raises the question of what is there with the lower magnetic field in the elbow area? based on this and earthquake data, there is almost certainly a magma body for quite a while if it showed up in these surveys. the question is, how it looks today with possible multiple intrusions since then, and so on.

        There is also one important thing about this data. not every low magnetic field is now magma or molten rock, Far from it, and not every stronger magnetic field is pure solid rock. The magnetic fields can be affected in many ways, and as far as rocks go, I hope a geologists speaks out, but I would like to say that the rock type, density, age, composition, all play a vital role in the magnetic fields. That is why I said that there is no rule of thumb about it as fat as I am aware, since hundreds of different rock compositions, ages, densities, can cause very similar or totally opposite results. But however, it is a bit easier when dealing with volcanoes, because we kinda know or suspect the type of rock, age, and lets say density. So that is why not every blue value in the picture is a magma chamber. 😀 And it does help to interpret if you know that a certain place is a volcano or a volcanic field. Check the Laki fields for example, which are high in magnetism, but low in seismicity.

        just my 2 cents.

        • Also note the semi-permanent (I guess) magma body under Katla and as it appears Torfajokull and Hekla-Vatnafjoll area and the old solid remains of Tindfjalajokull.

            • And this is kinda the point I was trying to make above. That if someone who is not faniliar with Iceland at all would look at the chart, it would not make much sense or help to determine what type or density or whatever the rock is in certain places. But knowing that for example Tindfjalajokull is an old solid, probably extinct pile of igneous rocks and causes higher or positive or whatever magnetism, it helps to understand why there are such readings as they are. Unlike north Iceland for example, which to me looks like pure chaos because I dont understand really its geologic features. 😀
              And good examples are also stratovolcanoes like Oraefajokull, which might have a bit hidden chamber due to having a cone and a lot of material over the chamber, unlike calderas with more solid materials on the rims.

            • I have to disagree with you guys a bit. Sort of.

              In the figure red areas (strong magnetism) do link with either areas which would erupt in the future, like Eyjafjallajokull, sort of dacite or rhyolite evolved magma, or with areas where only erupt seldom but then very massive: note the large red areas on Veidivotn fissure (but they are blue on Laki) and the two large red areas on the shield volcanoes south of Langjokull and south of Hengill (and I believe there is a large pool of eruptive magma in both locations). All erupted quite recently in the past millenia. Another example is Krafla. But one thing is that these do not erupt very regularly, ony a few times per millenia.

              However there are many examples of large red areas which are extinct volcanoes, which were quite large in the Pleistocene or early Holocene. Interestingly, and just like the abovementioned previous examples like Veidivotn, these are also all large shield volcanoes, but extinct, as the one west of Thingvallavatn (NW of Hengill), the large shield volcano OK, southwest of Langjokull ice cap, the large shield volcano east of Thingvallavatn, called Lyndalsheidi, etc…

              I agree that most blue areas like Katla, Hekla, Grimsvotn, Bardarbunga, Askja, link to the most eruptive magma.

      • It will show the difference between the Earth’s magnetic field and that actually measured at that point. I think it is hte strength of the field, not the direction (which is almost vertical here, and they probably only show the vertical field strength). Is it squared? In that case blue is zero, and red is high. (Otherwise blue is negative, red is positive). Magnetized rocks take on the field direction when they solidify. They can add to the magnetic field, making it stronger, If they were magnetized at a time the Earth field was reversed, they now point in opposite directions and now weaken the field. Hot magma (above the Curie point) cannot be magnetized and does nothing. Type of lava is important – some are more magnetised than others. Steep edges (caldera rim) can give a stronger signal.

        So it depends a bit on what is actually plotted.

        For gravity, roughly speaking magma has lower density (thus lower gravity), extinct volcanoes higher gravity (cold, solidified).

        • Thanks Albert for the explanation


          If I understand Albert correctly, the the plot does not really identify a type of geology more that is is different than the surrounding geology

          So blue in one location does not match the blue in another as a rule

        • And something that may be of help.

          Remember, this is referring to the magnetism of a particular area (or the lack of)/


          This is the thing that geologists were able to analyze to figure out that Tiñor of El Hierro was of a much older volcano. (roughly the area in the San Andreas failed landslide) The younger volcano collapsed and formed El Golfo.

          BTW {Opinion}, If you seek articles about El Hierro, Caracedo is by far the best author for things volcanic in the Canaries. Much better than that hack Perez.

        • According to http://www.raunvis.hi.is/~geirf/seg/g_svid.htm#RESID it is the length of the projection of the rocks’ field onto the direction of Earth’s field (which is near-vertical, what with Iceland being quite close to one of Earth’s magnetic poles). So the blues are zero or very low positive values, rather than negative. The rock field there is either nonexistent or nearly perpendicular to Earth’s field, while the reds mark areas where it has a sizable component parallel to Earth’s field, in either direction.

          Also, there’s another version of that map inside a pdf at http://www.episodes.org/index.php/epi/article/view/64246/50208 which has the difference of the vertical components of the vectors measured_field and earth_field — that one has a color chart with a scale from -1500nT to 1500nT. The spot in Askja’s caldera that’s purple in the above is yellow in the image in the pdf, which the accompanying color key indicates to be close to zero. So, the map above has the absolute value, from 0 (purple) up to something (red, likely 1500nT), whereas the map in the pdf has the non-absolute value from -1500nT to 1500nT.

      • The diagram shows quakes from 2010 to the start of the breakout in black and after the eruption ceased to present in purple, quakes during the growth of the dike and during the eruption (Aug 15th 2014 to March 2015) are not plotted.

        Looking at the Mag plot picture I posted above and the quake plot I see the following

        There are two areas that were very active before the breakout and have pretty much gone silent since, other have increased in activity

        A: Area 1 was active right up to the breakout as well as the area NNE up to Kistufell
        B: The region SE of Area 4 towards Kverkfjöll was very active and has since gone silent as well
        C:The activity in Area 2 is much more active since the eruption stopped and presently is very active.
        D: The region east of Area 3 was active before and now after but was silent during the eruption.

        Here is what I believe to be the sequence of events
        1) For many years Area 1 was building pressure, this also caused the region up to Kistufell to see and increase in pressure but had nowhere to break free.
        2) Area 3 was also seeing an increase in pressure
        3) Around August 15th late in the day things happened quickly, first there was a breakout from Area 1 to Area 2 and this caused a dike to open from Area 2 to Area 3, the change in pressure pushed the dike open that would run up to Holuhraun. There was already stress building from the rifting along the line of the dike that was pressing on area 1, so when it all let go things happened very fast, in a matter of 4-5 hours.
        4) The dike was an existing feature that had erupted before, if you look at the picture of I posted of the quakes on the Mag Plot it looks like the dike erupted southwards between Area 3 and Area 4. I also think the dike picked up some additional pressure from Area 4 as it changed angle.
        5) Once the eruption started, the caldera plug sank adding pressure to the entire system due to the ease of collapse from ring faulting.
        6) Once the pressure was low enough the eruption could no longer be sustained, the pressure is still building in Area 1,2 and # and the caldera is now rising since it is not connected to the surrounding geology due to the ring faults

        • Interesting model. Would it be possible to get some idea on where the injections from below take place?

    16. Albert: What about the Khibinsky and Lovozero mountains of the Kola Peninsula (Russia)? They appear quite similar to the remnants of the Anaheim track in BC Canada. They deserve a rejected entry at least, don’t they?

      Geologically, both are mineralogically rich, igneous in nature, and seismically active. Other than the wikicrapia entries (of which I had to hunt down), I can find very little on them – probably due to their close proximity to Polyarny and Murmansk.

      • I should add a number of volcanoes to the post. Some subsea volcanoes have also been mentioned, where we can’t be sure whether they are in working orders as well. Hopefully I’ll have some time over the weekend. So far I really only listed ones as rejected is other sites had listed them as active/dormant and I did not see enough evidence. Thanks! Keep them coming!

      • Rain with Northerly winds I expect. Though there is a dirty looking blob of what could be mud/ash which has appeared on the West Rim camera, and the crater floor camera seems to have been out of action since 8:00pm last night – but it looks to me like there’s been an issue with that webcam coming loose inside the housing for a while. I hope Dino is okay.

    17. Bulusan eruption earlier this morning ?oh=0469c1687ff76012a149165333a190f1&oe=57D79D05

      • The egocentric Homo Stultus will never learn. Even if you hit them with a stick.

    18. … and I finally found something more exciting to watch than the race at the Michigan track. My dog chewing a bone.

      … or, I could go watch some paint dry.

    19. we felt an earthquake yesterday (San Diego, CA). I thought I would share the aftershocks:

    20. the reds are the fault lines and nearly all of the aftershocks are north of the M5.2.

      • Yah, it and the Elsinore fault are parallel systems to the San Andreas out in the Salton Sink. To the south, the Yuha-Wells fault cuts across them all… Back when the large quake happened in the Baja area, the aftershocks activated all the way up and across the Yuha-Wells over to the San Jacinto system. At the time I had been watching a quake set sort of migrating up the boundary along the Gulf of California. After it crossed the Yuha-Wells system, I lost it. It’s also not inconceivable that the recent quake is in part, still an aftershock event from the Baja quake from 2010.

        From the WickerPeekAtYa article:

        “On July 7, 2010, a 5.4-magnitude earthquake, triggered by the April 10, 2010 quake, occurred on the San Jacinto Fault, the most seismically active fault in California and one of two that exhibited signs of increased pressure following the Mexico quake.”

          • In keeping with the way the question is worded, the student is correct. To give any other response, the student would have to “read into the question” a set of conditions that were not stated.

          • And in all likelihood, what the question writer was probably trying to get at, was the combined probability for both events happening. 50% for the odd die, and 50% for the coin toss, or, 0.5 * 0.5 = 0.25 → 25% chance of getting both conditions. But, since they specified a sequence completely different than the conditions stated. 0%.

        • thanks, Lurk, I wondered- almost
          said something related to that..

    21. Sunday
      12.06.2016 03:31:22 64.673 -17.488 5.7 km 3.6 99.0 4.1 km NNE of Bárðarbunga

      12.06.2016 00:57:20 64.669 -17.500 4.8 km 3.1 99.0 3.4 km NNE of Bárðarbunga

      • Yes, indeed. Rather strong: there have been a few M3.6 before and of course one, M4.4 but not many, and none below 1km inside the caldera. (The earlier ones were either shallow or a little further out.) Is there any GPS available nearby? It would be nice to know whether or not there is any evidence for inflation.

        • This one is on a nunatak on the N slope of Bardarbunga, but it’s not included on the list the Mike posted:

          Looks to me like steady inflation since things started to liven up last autumn, but there are others on here, far, far, far more learned than me who have a different view of what’s been happening.

        • A brand new site being built for GPS and all around BB shows inflation


          Note the two quakes SE about 18km as well, this is in Area 3 in the map I posted before, it looks like Area 2 is getting a charge again but the pressure is moving the piston up. At what point does the weight of the piston cause too much pressure in the system and it causes a breakout and where does it go?

          Place your bets, I think northwards might happen

          • Note: it appears that IMO did some sort of realignment on the longer range plots back in November since every plot jumped upwards at that time

          • Thanks for posting that very useful link – I’d been thinking that there must be a more up-to-date site somewhere on the IMO’s server.

            Betting on a northward breakout… Hmm. I can see the logic of that, but equally I was very intrigued by Carl’s suggestion a few weeks back that it could be SW. I suppose that one question would be whether in looking at events close to BB itself we are underplaying the signficiance of those events in relation to the whole BB system. Compare, HAFS and KISTA, for example – if I am reading them correctly 😉

          • I think the deep quake has been manually revised and is now listed as a single M2.5 at 18.9km depth in area 2, i e inside the caldera or on its boundary. I think this one is more exciting than the double M3s, because it deviates from the normal behavior.

            12.06.2016 13:12:38 64,637 -17,507 18,9 km 2,5 99,0 1,1 km ASA af Bárðarbungu

        • These maps are really useful. On this latest one, what are the time frame colors? Are the yellow balls the outline of the caldera plug?

          • Yes,

            The black quakes are from 2011 to present and the red are the last 10 days

            Yes, the yellow is the outline for reference

            I will put a legend to help show this, thanks

    22. Very much appreciated, would it be possible to mark
      Hekla and Katla, just a small request, I know, I know.

    23. Goodmorning!

      13.06.2016 00:57:23 64.648 -17.418 8.9 km 2.8 99.0 5.3 km E of Bárðarbunga

      Stepping up, moving up?


    24. Speaking of GPS, it looks cool, but not surprising.

      VON is continuing with the slow trend inflation, and lately seems to be heading E-SE, tho very minutely.

      DYN, on the other hand, continues its N-NW trail, with no obvious vertical trend, tho you could say its perhaps moving up lately, but it had a lot of ups and downs in the past. Perhaps some local characteristics affecting the station.

      More surprisingly, the two more stations North of Bardarbunga are GJAC and URHC, First is NW of DYN and the other is a bit E/NE of DYN.
      GJAC did have different phases of activity, and a somewhat deflation overall long term trend. but what is interesting is its latest “pulse” of what seems inflation with N/NW movement, which is away from Bardarbunga. It might not be related to Bardy at all, and could be some overall shifting. Interestingly nonetheless.

      • Two more left, the before mentioned URHC, which is NE of DYN, but a bit closer to Bardarbunga then GJAC. Here we actually have a similar trend like in DYN, NW movement, away from Bardarbunga. During the eruption it was moving SW, so the western component has remained, like on other stations in the region, but its latitude component has changed from the S movement during the eruption, to the current N movement. And it is inflating, so overall it has a similar trend than the KISA station which is directly on the Bardy N rim. Tho it had an inflating trend during the eruption as well, but this period of inflation comes with different movement.

        And speaking of KISA, probably the most famous station right now. It continues its strong NW movement with inflation on the N/NE Bardarbunga rim. Nothing more to add here.

        And the Bardy energy release and quake depth over time plot. it was updated this morning, so it contains the latest of the latest. Notice the increase in stronger quakes over time, and of course coincidentally the energy release. And you can see how rare stronger quakes are below 15 or 17km.

        • Thanks for the summary and analysis! Confirms many of the same observations I made. However, still not 100% bought off that the recent quakes are indicative of pressurization under the caldera..despite the GPS readings at the rim. Looking back at the quake sequence over the last 2-3 weeks or so, IMHO there was “pattern” of quakes firstly happening at/near the surface, followed by a swarm in the middle depths followed lastly by a few anomalously deep quakes….which closely mimics the pattern we saw during the breakout when the caldera started to collapse (i.e. periods of quake swarms with focal points migrating downward over time). In my understanding, a pressurization scenario would first involve deep-foci quakes initially reflecting magma intrusion at depth which then migrates towards the surface (or laterally) as the conduit starts to break down and the magma chamber expands/inflates. Plus, throughout this recent spate of activity, I haven’t really seen much (if any) signs of magmatic (or hydrothermal) movement in the drumplots (i.e. “wet” quakes) or on the tremor graphs which I would expect to see if magma was actively migrating into an inflating chamber. Anyway, that’s my amatuer take on things.

          • Craig,

            But what would this look like if there was a deep source 10km or deeper and most of the inflation was taken up by pushing the plug upwards and not so much inflation far afield? I would suggest it would look just like the pattern we are seeing right now.

            Wish there was a GPS in the middle like before.

            • Agreed 100% about the GPS. Would be a great help in identifying exactly what may be going on. But as I said, IMHO the recent quake “swarm” seemed to be trending from top to bottom as the swarm matured before fizzling out. Not sure how pressure from below can first manifest at the surface then progress downward? An interesting conundrum for sure. And thanks fer the reply.

            • I do not see these quakes at being magmatic, more a result of the plug being pushed upwards from below so the entire length of the plug is involved. Right now the quakes are happening deep but will slowly transfer upwards as the plug rises, like a caterpillar effect.

              Well that’s my take for what it worth lol

              Also, there are quakes in the surrounding area from general deep inflation or could be caused by the effect Albert is suggesting.

              The quakes have reversed per IMO

              “The analysis of the earthquake data suggests that the movement on the fault is opposite to what it was during the subsidence period during the Holuhraun eruption. Continuous GPS measurements show movements away from Bárðarbunga, suggesting inflation.”

      • This little group is interesting, very deep and in a spot that has seen very few quakes in the past

        The yellow dot close by is the center of the BB caldera that IMO uses as reference

        • Within a 2km radius of the center the last 10 days

          Depth M

          6.885 0.69
          18.925 2.50
          9.395 0.44
          1.546 0.93
          8.016 0.68
          8.883 0.50
          1.863 0.74
          7.285 0.17
          5.457 0.74
          5.457 0.74
          6.87 0.47
          7.744 0.24
          8.067 0.35
          8.11 0.52

    25. Ian, you have been doing excellent work.

      I think your remark that area 1, Kistufell, and area 3 were basically the foci of deep activity, is significant!

      I think this is where magma intrusions were happening.

      Also let´s remember of Gjalp. It happened a bit north of area 3. So the area was already rifted slightly.

    26. Nice work everyone! To find the centre of the motions, it would be good to also have GPS stations on the far side of Bardarbunga. In principle, if you plot the vectors (NS, EW) they should point away from the centre. In practice, they are rarely that accurate but you could see how things have moved since December. Other complication: there may be more than one centre of inflation. Grimsy is also on the move.

      Regarding inflation, from the distance out to which you see upward motion you get an idea of depth of the magma chamber. The deeper the chamber, the wider area it affects. As it gets shallower, inflation gets more focussed on the main area, and more distant places will stop or even deflate a little.

      This may be the first detailed data on the recovery after a significant effusive eruption. As the weight of the mountain has gone down a bit, you may get some isostatic rebound although I would imagine that is slow. As at the depth the pressure underneath Bardy is a bit less than before the eruption (thanks to the loss of mass of the magma chamber), it is a bit underpressured with respect to nearby areas at the same depth. You may get some magma being pushed into it from the surrounding areas. This is guessing.

      My guess on what next? I have no idea. But I would keep an eye on the southwest area: that seems the dark horse. Grimsy may build up to something first though.

      • The one thing that makes me doubt Grimsy will go soon is this plot, it was a pretty good indicator leading to the 2011 eruption.

        • If I’m reading the plots correctly, it looks like GFUM had inflated by 80-90 mm from its “stable” height to its highest before the eruption in 2011.


          But the current situation seems to be that since autumn last year – when BB began to inflate – it deflated by ca. 70mm. What it’s doing now is rather hard to read. It also seems to be moving SW-ish away from BB, which fits with BB inflating.

          • It’s strange for sure. some is from icing in the winter but in general it does seem to have moved as you said.

            It’s like it gave some up somewhere?

    27. The funny thing about this Grimsvotn plot, is the fact that in the post eruptive phase prior to last two eruptions it took lets say 3.5e+14 Nm of seismic energy release till the next eruption. Its all fair and good.

      But for a comparison, Bardarbunga already till date released 10 times! as much seismic energy in the post eruption phase (3.5e+15 Nm), as Grimsvotn “needs” to trigger a new eruption.

      The two volcanoes tho cant be compared as directly as the seisnic energy, but just for a thought and the grasp of scale. 😉

      • And thats not even counting M0.7 or weaker, at Bardarbunga.

      • the amount of energy released is unbelievable!

        What is interesting, although the scales are not the same. the energy has cycled up and down within the areas of the three central volcanos (BB, Askja and Grims) at about the same time for the last 6 years.

    28. I dont think the Grimsvotn rule of accumulated seismic release is of value as it was before.
      Because things have changed.

      First: the 2011 Grimsvotn eruption was way larger than all other eruptions in the past 100 years. So, the caldera and the magmatic chamber probably changed significantly. We can´t rely in the same pattern.

      Second, Bardar erupted, and everything changed in the area. Another thing to have in mind.

      And let´s realize that the magmatic intrusion of August 2015 (leading to Holuhraun) entered the north part of Grimsvotn fissure swarm system for a while, so if you have counted those quakes as accumulated seismic release, probably by now we would have exceeded the expected value for triggering an eruption.

      I think to be honest what happened in 2011 was that, after a very large (VEI5) eruption, the rest of the fissure swarm region of Grimsvotn weakened too and increased its tendency to rift, this is why we saw the Holuhraun dike running along the Grimsvotn fissure swarm (the path of least resistance to rift), especially as it was already weakened since Gjalp 1996, which was also a rifting eruption, albeit smaller (and also triggered by Bardar at that time).

      In my opinion, the southwest part of Grimsvotn is also weakened and it shows more quakes in the direction of Thórdarhyrna. We have seen much more activity in the whole area south and southwest of Grimsvotn.

      I think we could expect one of these days, probably still years in the future, an eruption there.

        • Yes fresh mantle magma. A new hotspot pulse.

          I wonder what comparing 2011 Grimsvotn to 2014 Holuhraun yields to…

          Also would be interesting to compare to Fimmvorduhals 2010, as apparently that was also new fresh magma.

    29. I was checking the history of Icelandic eruptions and large quakes in Hreppar microplate (south Iceland) in search for patterns, of how one area can awaken or trigger another area.

      I found many interesting things but I need more input from you guys, to see if some sort of coherent pattern holds.

      For instance, we know that quakes in SISZ tend to come in cycles and groups, after periods of quiet of many decades. Often the SISZ quakes occur at same time as increased volcanic activity around the Hreppar microplate, within a few years, before or after. I give you examples:

      Feb 2000 eruption in Hekla is followed 4 months later by large quakes in SISZ and Krisuvik area. This is just within 4 months!
      2008 another set of large quakes occur in SISZ, this is followed by 2010 eruption of Eyjallajokull, just 2 years later. A domino effect could have involved along the entire southern edge of Hreppar microplate.

      Very large eruption in Grimsvotn in 2011 followed by 2014 rifting eruption at Holuhraun (probably caused by tectonic plate changes in the Vatnajokull area) I wonder if something else will occur within a few years in adjacent areas or in some other edge of the Hreppar microplate.

      Other examples:
      1783 eruption of Laki is followed by two very large sequences of quakes in SISZ in 1784 and in the western volcanic zone, north of Hengill, and SISZ in 1789 (a rifting event nearly started in Hengill at this time). This was the easiest domino propagating westwards, within 8 years.

      Largest eruption of Hekla in 1104 (after volcano was asleepo for centuries) seeminly triggered by a very large quake in the SISZ in 1103, year before.

      Large squake in SISZ in 1912 again triggers an eruption in Hekla region in 1913.

      Eruption of Hekla in 1389 in same year as large quake in west part of SISZ.

      Eruption in Katla in 1612 (and Eyjafjallajokull too) followed by large SISZ quake in 1613 and then 1618, then Katla again in 1625, then SISZ again in 1630 and 1633. Hekla erupts in 1636 and westman Islands the year after. This is quite a nice sequence of events all in the edge of Hreppar microplate, for about two decades.

      Eruption of Eyjafjallajokull (and Katla) in 1821 is followed by two large sequences of quakes in SISZ in 1828 and 1829.

      Large quakes in SISZ in 1294, forming Geysir, and then a very large eruption of Hekla in 1300.

      In 1725 an eruption occured southeast of Hekla. Just a few years later, a sequence of large SISZ occurred for a few years. This was also a period of rifting in Krafla, and also large eruptions in Kverfjoll and Oraefajokull.

      There are other examples. Also in north Iceland this seems to occur, but earthquake is scarse. For instance, Krafla began erupting in late 1975. Just a few months later, as the eruption was ongoing, a large quake occurred in Tjornes.

      Its also interesting to see these patterns evolve during a larger timeframe. For example, in 100 years or so, around year 900-1000, Veidivotn erupted, then the large shield volcano Hallmundarhraun in Langjokull (and also an eruption nearby towards Snaefellsnes peninsula), then Edlgjá in Katla, then Hengill. It seems that during this period a large lava flood occured every couple of decades, and eruptions occurred in opposite edges of the Hreppar microplate. Let´s also say that Hekla was dormant for many centuries up to this time. Then a notorious shift happened.

      Then Hekla erupted out of dormancy with a large eruption in 1104, and Reykjanes also began a period of activity during this period, and lasted for a couple of centuries. At this time, Vatnajokull was nearly inactive!

      After 1350, eruptions shifted again towards Vatnajokull, and events like Oraefajokull VEI6 in 1362, Veidivotn and Laki and large eruptions of Hekla and Katla occured for the next few centuries.

      In the 1725 Krafla erupted, then Askja in 1875, then Krafla again in 1975, and Holuhraun in 2014, this seems to show that rifting activity is awakening north of Vatnajokull over the past few centuries.

      Any comments?

      • I could see this being the case in Iceland, all of the systems are connected in some way and have influence on each other.

        Just look at the energy released in these 3 systems since 2010 and how they seem to cycle together.

        I have always related to how Carl suggests a pillow hitting the system

        Also, I think it relates to what is happening at BB right now, it is very quiet but it is almost like a reverse caldera collapse seismic energy release that is going on and if this holds true, it should step up the game in the next few days.

        It makes sense that rifting begets more rifting and more activity.

        • The thing always to bear in mind is the contribution just one or two big quakes can make to total energy.

          I remember in the run-up to the BB eruption the whole Vatnajökull area was lighting up with hundreds of quakes and everyone was getting excited – and then the first larger quake happened and wise voices pointed out that that single quake represented greater energy release than *all the hundreds of previous quakes put together*

            • Let me guess, you don’t like Rush.

              Mike Ross made an insightful observation with regards to quake energy, and I still think he deserves accolades for doing so. If that makes me an “assnozzle” well, so be it. (and this is not in connection with an unfortunate incident of a few weeks ago that put me virtually D.I.W. for four days while I recovered.)

              Now, sure, Rush may have borrowed heavily from the 1812 Overture in making that song, but it was about the 1st time that I had run across that in what is a different genre. Alan Parsons did something similar to Edgar Allen Poe in the song “The Raven.” Mainly in the lyrics and concept of the song rather than ripping off rhythm and tonal patterns.

            • I am lost here – no idea what this is about. But if any offence was given, we apologize. It can happen unintentionally, but falls under rule #1.

          • Yes, larger quakes pack a lot more energy. But the smaller ones show how the stress is changing. Large ones live off accumulated stress, pulling in energy from a larger distance. Small one show what happens locally. So both are right and both are part of the picture. It is important that a typical quake is now M2. During the eruption is was M4, 100 times larger. The caldera sank by 60 meter in 6 months. Scaling this to the energy ratios of the quakes, the current re-inflation would happen at about no more than 1 meter per year. We would have to wait decades for Bardarbunga to reach its previous size. That may be about right, n fact. Of course for a new eruption there is no need to recover the previous size. It can happen any time, as conditions have changed.

    30. If this hold true, this pattern of about 3.5 years (from mid 2011 peak to late 2014 peak), then by sometime around late 2017 to mid 2018 we should see another resurgence of Icelandic activity and eruptions. The pattern even seems to hold further backwards, with peaks in seismic and/or volcanic activity in 2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996.

      But it could be just a coincidence. Would be curious to trace the pattern of several active Icelandic volcanoes backwards in time…

    31. For the drumplot watchers here is a new one on the BB rim at KISTA

      Seems to be free of the water noise on VON

    32. That moment… when you realize that lately Oraefajokull is more active than Grimsvotn. 😀

    33. Off topic, but… I’m not a great fan of football, but I am of Iceland: what a wonderful performance against Portugal, and 10% of the population in the stadium – in fine voice, too. Congratulations Iceland on an explosive performance!

      • Absolutely! I think it was more like 3% of the population in the stadium… which is still outstanding! Iceland population is quite small, so small that an Icelandic friend told me she was in school with the goalkeeper and that he used to play football with her brother!

        • The BBC commentator said that there were 30k Icelanders in the crowd and then added – for the benefit of those who don’t know much about Iceland – that that’s 10% of the population. I was a bit surprised myself but assume that he had a reliable source.

          Here’s the Guardian’s slightly different take on the statistics:
          “Birkir Bjarnason’s leveller ignited delirium among a vibrant Iceland following. Ten per cent of the country’s 330,000 population is expected in France and those here were in fine form. It helped that the team they had travelled to support showed they would not be overawed, intimidated or negative from the very start.”

          And here’s Visir via Goggletrans:
          “These same Icelanders attended 8,000 employees at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard last night and made the evening unforgettable. They took the stand against 16,000 Portuguese. Hour after game when the boys went and thanked for the support is something that all 8,000 plus 23 and the coaches are going to remember long.”

      • As portuguese, congratulations on the result! Great support Iceland had on the stadium! Portugal underestimated Iceland and when they saw that Iceland had a strong team, anxiety kicked in..only of one of the 27 attempts (against 4 of Iceland) went in. I hope Portugal and Iceland go to next phase!

    34. And since our news media is too vapid to ask the question, I will ask it here.

      Is there any connection with the gators harvested in the search for the body of a 2 year old boy snatched from his fathers side at Disney™ to reports that the Nile Crocodile is now present in South Florida as an invasive species? Has anyone tested the 5 “gators” recovered?

      Side note: Alligators can not tolerate salt water very well, but all crocodiles have some tolerance for salt/brackish water. If the population is large enough, it can quickly and easily spread along the coast to all regions of the Gulf of Mexico. About the only thing to curtail/slow this are the various sharks that we have lurking out there.

      • I believe the Crocs where found done in Key Biscayne near the outlet of the nuclear power plant. It is the only place they are found in the states if I remember correctly. I saw some a couple of times while fishing in the Bay many years ago.


      • Rule of thumb in the Orlando area is if it’s bigger than a puddle, it’s got an alligator in it. You never walk within five feet of a body of water unless it’s fenced. You never allow dogs or children to go near water. Heck, every golf course in the area has an alligator floating in a pond. People find them in their swimming pools. Even the ornamental ponds at most apartment complexes get them. The alligators move around. It’s just the way it is.

        So, I don’t know if the Disney lagoon was fenced but there’s absolutely no way a child should have been anywhere near that water. At minimum there should have been signs warning guests of the very real danger of alligators.

        • It is posted as “No Swimming” according to the news. The lagoon is man-made, but has connections to the outlying bayous. Reportedly, the father was walking along a shallow fake beach area in about a foot of water with the toddler. I also recall them mentioning that there are beach chairs and equipment on the fake beach for people to use and hang out on. They also stated that the father was frantically hanging onto the child’s hand as the “gator” drug it into the water.

          Other reporting states that this (an outer region of the park complex) is about like “Jurassic park” from the number of gators that can be seen wandering around in the dark.

          According to an FWC statement, they have an agreement with the Park that the Park personnel can capture and move nuisance gators without special intervention or contact with FWC.

          • I lived in Orlando on and off for about 5 years. It’s just one big huge wetland area with ponds every where. It’s not difficult to find an alligator if you look.

            I knew people who liked to waterski on Turkey Lake. I never understood it because on a fairly regular basis local news reported someone got their foot chomped.

            I’m very sorry about the little boy. Disney had no business allowing anyone, most especially children, anywhere near that water.

      • The drop-outs and spikes, yeah… but the episodic rumblings… not so much. They could be part of the equipment issue, but they carry an air of potentially being something actually sensed… Given the time of day, human activity is a definite possibility though. Anybody putzing round out there in a truck?

      • Yes it’s common. I have seen those waveforms many times. That station is placed close to the Vatnsfell hydroelectric power plant, so I have always assumed that any strange looking waveforms are related to power plant activities.

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