Some activity in Iceland

As most of you have noticed, Iceland have been really quiet lately. Well, now there seems to be a bit of activity in Iceland. So, here is the first activity report of Iceland on this blog.

Katla, or more to the point, Godabunga put in a short appearance;

Thursday 24.11.2011 15:39:13 63.630 -19.190 1.7 km 2.9 99.0 3.2 km ESE of Goðabunga

Image: IMO, rights reserved. Almost a star at Godabunga

There also seems to have been a small tremor-spike (for being Godabunga);

Image: IMO, rights reserved. A small tremorspike

This seems to a rather small thing, I would say that this is just an ordinary day in the life of Godabunga. But, sooner or later there will be a re-start of the runup for the real eruption of Katla. For the record, this is not the day for Katla.

Tjörnes Fracture zone has an ongoing quake swarm, there is no ongoing tremoring there so it seems to be tectonic only. So no signs of an eruption there. This behaviour is quite normal for TFZ, and can run for days. For the record, back in the 1870s there where at least 2 earthquakes of magnitude 7. So, this is on the smaller scale of what can happen in the area.

Image: IMO, rights reserved. A good looking quake-swarm

The odd activity at Svartárkot continues. Svartarkot is located next to the Ódáðahraun lava field, the massive Dyngjufjöll shield volcano and the Sveinagja Graben. All three of these features are part of Askja volcano. Ódáðahraun lava field from the Holocene is Icelands largest with more than 6000 square kilometres of lava. Dyngjufjöll is the largest shield volcano in Iceland, and the Sveinagja Graben, a part of the Askja arcuate fissure-swarm, is the site where the 1874-1875 eruption started. Anything happening here, even if it is small, is worthy of attention. Askja has after all had inflation happening in both the caldera and at the Herðubreið Tuyja. And during the last couple of months there have been earthquakes and harmonic tremoring that seems to have originated from the Sveinagja Graben and continued down to the southern parts of the Askja fissure swarm.

Image: IMO, rights reserved. Odd patterning of Svártarkot SIL, origin is probably activity as Sveinagja Graben belonging to Askja Volcano reactivates

The new patterning is diffuse, but it is rather unusual for Askja and the Svártarkot SIL.


121 thoughts on “Some activity in Iceland

  1. There is quite a lot happening.
    Tomorrow morning I am going to put out a recap on the most interesting discussion that has been in here sofar. The commenters in here allready know the theme of Lurkings “magma-reservoir plots”. But they are so good that I think they deserve to shine on their own, and be accesible for those who do not read the comments. We can not hide all of the candy for ourselves… 😉

    • And after that comes a post from our scientific grandmaster, and a release of an unique personal experience of a volcano (New Poster), and an installment of my meandering Volcano journey from north to south, a Sheepy Dalek, and then we will go where no Woman has ever gone before(!?!)

      • For info english speaking, reading, writers or just all of this blog: “Graben” probably is Swedish language, as it is not Icelandic. The place name Sveina-gjá says it all for itself, as “gjá” is (or probably equals) “Graben” (and “Sveina” likely relates to boys in general, rather than the man´s name Sveinn.) The word “Gjá” means “a permanent large-crack in the earth-crust”, a fault in english, but large eruptions can also make this, like “Kötlu-gjá”. The Almannagjá (the large crack) at Þingvellir is one such, for easier understanding of the phenomen. Its similar to a crevass in a glacer, or “sprunga” (more often we say sprunga for cracks in Glaciers). However there is a twist, as Icelandic word “sprungu-sveimur” is used for multiple cracks in an specific area, appearing as results of earthquakes cracking the ground. This likely is what Carl is referring to in his Krafla-Graben! (Sveina-Graben- Graben ?????!!) Cheers!

        • Actually I used it in exactly the same way as the Svartarkot site 😉
          As you know I am not a native icelandic speaker. But life is after all filled with things like that. For instance most of the planet regularly says DVD-disk… PC Computer…
          So, thank you for explaining that Gjá is the same as the scientific word for a very particular thing, namely A graben.
          So, no a graben is not a swedish word, it is the accepted scientific word for a crack.

          Regarding Krafla…Before saying that I am using a scientific phrase wrongly, you should perhaps read up on it.

          Click to access UNU-GTP-SC-09-15d.pdf

          That is one example of where you can read about the graben of Krafla.

          I could put about 50 more papers about the Graben in Krafla.
          If you are going to harp about how I use scientificly accepted standard phrases in relation to Icelandic local words, well then you will have a lot to do.

          For instance, you can start with anyone saying Katla Volcano. Just because the rest of the civilized planet uses the word volcano, well I guess we just to confuse everyone should use the word Eldfjall shouldn’t we?

          Or we continue to use English as the fairly lingua franca in here…

        • I will even make it clearer.
          There are 250 000 icelanders. I neither will, nor should, use local phrases. Why? A very minute part of the planet knows what a Gjá is, but most in here know what a Graben is. I will probably make the same mistake in about 14 languages this year. Live with it.

        • Ah, German. Sorry Carl, a misunderstanding of mine, no offense meant. Unskyld. Pratar ikke Svenska! Meet “Horst Graben” 🙂

          Me coloco cortésmente corregido. La autorización, entonces vuelve nuestro ” de la palabra; Geysir” ¿porque la lengua inglesa utiliza de hecho Islandés-como-palabras, pero podemos guardar Eldfjall para nuestro propio uso, autorización? Vulkan o volcán. Puedo leer todas las idiomas nórdicas, y a algún alemán también. No soy experto en cualesquiera, simplemente comentando. No necesito comentar. Consigo a veces ese ” consiga en ese corner” sensación para comentar. Soy corregir de atrevimiento/comentario del alesaje. ¿Usted no quiere el comentario de islandeses? No hay necesidad de decir que harping sobre cualquier cosa. Los lugares islandeses a menudo se nombran simplemente después de su ” purpose” o cuáles son simplemente. ” ” de Dyngju (fjöll); es el ” Dyngja” – El nombre/el término islandeses para el Protector-Volcán – intenté encontrar la explicación conocida para Krafla, el wordbook (del islandés) no demuestro ningún resultado para él. Al menos ” krafla” del að; es la descripción del ” el alcanzar en vano para el something”.

          Politely I stand corrected. Ok, then return our word “Geysir” because English language does indeed use Icelandic-like-words, but we can keep Eldfjall for our own use, ok? Vulkan or Volcano. I can read all the Nordic languages, and some German too. I am not expert at any, merely commenting. I do not need commenting. Sometimes I get that “get into that corner” feeling for commenting. Am I a bore daring to correct / comment.
          Do you not want Icelanders commenting? There is no need to say I am harping about anything. Icelandic places are often simply named after their “purpose” or what simply they are. “Dyngju(fjöll)” is “Dyngja” – The Icelandic name/term for Shield-Volcano – I tried finding name explanation for Krafla, the (Icelandic) wordbook does not show any result for it. However “að krafla” is description of “reaching in vain for something”.
          I do remember someone saying a question NOT asked, is stubid question. Am I getting this wrong then you do not want knowing if any you write can be misunderstood.
          Them places often have have a meaning, and quite often foreigners just call them …. Bobs.

          Dyngjufjöll (Shield-Volcano-Mountains)
          Trölladynja (Trölla-dyngja = Troll-Shield-Volcano)
          Svartárkot (Svart-ár-kot = Black-River-Cottage)
          Mývatn (Mý-vatn = Mosquito-like-speces-Lake)

          Schleep well 🙂

        • Era más bien en cómo lo triste. Después de pasar tiempo en la escritura no era tan divertido que se burlaban de para el uso de una expresión científica normal. Islander, me gusta los comentarios de Iceland.
          De mayo a las ovejas estará con usted en su sueño.

  2. Hello everybody,
    I missed you all. I missed the discussions about sheep and a bbq on top of a volcano. I found back my family. Glad to be back..

  3. @ Testing . I just sent a comment starting with the @ symbol and it got caught in the spam trap.
    just testing.

    • Well, heck, all that touchy language stuff and I can’t even pronounce whatever Inge B. said…much less whatever she meant…lol…

    • Seems to be south of National Road No. 1 (Hringvegur) between Möðrudalur and Herðubreið. Am I right with this, Carl?

    • Yes there is an ongoing event of harmonic tremor at ICELANDIC NAME SIL-station north of ICELANDIC NAME SIL-station. The ICELANDIC NAME SIL to the south of the first ICELANDIC NAME SIL, is just showing normal operation of ICELANDIC NAME Power-plant. The reason for us not seeing the activity at the northern ICELANDIC NAME SIL on the ICELANDIC NAME southern SIL is that there is ICELANDIC NAME dividing the Caldera of ICELANDIC NAME.

      I hope this was better Islander?

      • Well, heck, it wasn’t better for me…ya know, I love the Icelandic names of Bob. Since the move, I don’t read that as much…it was such a charming joke. Really, I miss ICELANDIC NAME Bob…

  4. More 3D picturz… 🙂

    For Carl: Bob’s tube and shadow on the depth plane.

    For Peter: shadows on the walls

    – in fixed grey

    – in various greys, where darker gray = higher magnitude
    (this one I think is a bit too much visually, no?)

    Also, forgot to say that these are scaled so that depth distance is the same as horizontal distance. I’m only having problems displaying labes on the z axis, because it shows the same units as x and y, which are lat/lon and so in decimal degrees.

    (disclaimer, I am not a geologist and I don’t know what I’m doing, so treat these onyl are pretty picutres, please, nothing more 🙂 )

    • nice plots. It seems to me that there is a distinct boat shape in the active area. Could it be that the sedimentery layer is slowly eaten away bij the magma. That sedimentery layer could have developed a boat shape due to the weight of El Hierro.

      At the higher ends of that boat shape the vollatiles will erupt. CO2, SO2 and other vollatiles (salts that solidify in the water) BOB. Possibly with an amount of lava.

      In the space that remains a magma chamber could develop. That could mean that when the volatiles are gone a bigger eruption can start.

      These assumptions would explain the large tremor (filling up) the location of BOB, the erupted gases and floating lava’s.

  5. OT:

    About that … plot thing from yesterday.

    If you will note, the upper bounds for that were about 21 km deep. I think that means what what you are seeing is the bottom of whatever it was that I plotted.

    I only used deep quakes, this is the reason that there is a cut off at 21 km… that was the shallowest quake. If I can find quakes in that are that are shallower, this should bring the field of view a bit higher… I’m still not sure it will show anything. Remember the most important thing about science. It has to be repeatable and give consistent results.

    Amateurs are not immune to that.

    TinyPic has decided to throw a wrench in the works with their shenanigans, so that is a different issue that I have to overcome. I’m not gonna host the pic on my server sitting over in the corner, that would expose my raw IP to the world. I also don’t have my private machine sitting in a co-lo spot downtown any more. If I do sign up with an image hosting service, it probably won’t be associated with TinyPic mainly due to the horrible customer interaction that they have demonstrated.

    • If you have a twitter account make a posting about it … see whether this helps (if you don’t tweet, perhaps some other kind reader can contact you to send the tweet on your behalf) … negative feedback on twitter has been known to work wonders!!!

  6. I’ll probably have to make up another bogus E-mail account somewhere and actually sign up.

    I got a lot of mileage back in the day with

    At the time, they were hyper about mail abuse and would go so far as to yank the T-1 or T-3 feed from any ISP that abused the mail system. Using them as my email address caused a lot of consternation among spamers. When the notification letters came rolling in.

    • check out, it’s a Finnish hosting service, you’ll have to register, but then you can create public and private folders for your pics/videos/animations etc. uplooading is easy, and lots of room, free, (if you don’t want to get all the features) also in english 😉

      • Can’t get it to take an image. I’ve uploaded in png and in jpg format, it goes through the load thingamabog and presents nothing for a result.

        Is there like a Finnish mind-set that I need to use?

        • it takes a while before it publishes what you upload(propably checks legality/viruses) and is much less prone to get stuck/crash than photobucket, also you don’t get those annoying popups to various questionable livechats, wich have been plaquing Pb occasionally for a while now.
          @carl:You wouldn’t want to waste good pepsi that much 😛 And it’s PERKELE, rest is about accurate.

      • Yes, it uses Debian-Linux in the original Linus Thorwalds version.
        I have met the dude, you need to mix 1 litre of Vodka with 1 litre of cheap whiskey, then drop about half a can of pepsi into that mix, then you drink that without saying a word while you meditate of the meaninglessness of life, then you write code for 48 hours straight. Then you will see the light and understand Linux.
        When you have understood Linux you call a friend in the middle of the night, burp him in the ear and say the magic word “Pärkälää” and then you pass out.
        It is a rather finnish thing. Finns actually rule the world, they are just to depressed to tell anyone about it.

  7. Very OT –

    Happy Thanksgiving to Lurking and all of the other US Americans who might be out there! (According to my Ontarian friend the Canadians have their Thanksgiving holiday in October.) This holiday is second only to Christmas in the US.

    Because this blog gets very lonely around 10 pm US time, I would be interested in knowing who else posts here from the Americas.

    • You’re right, Thanksgiving is early October in Canada. I also noticed how quiet it gets after suppertime EST. Nice to meet another reader from this side of the Atlantic.

      I really enjoy reading all the European posters, and Asian or Australians, but they go to bed pretty early 🙂

    • Okay…. evidently it works.

      A bit more cumbersome than the other one… but it works. (Note, it’s the same @# company)

  8. Happy Thanksgiving from here too!
    Somehow funny how here in Europe we have become quite familiar with a lot of northern american traditions through films an TV. Well, I have to admit that you guys over there make great movies. Here, if you want to be “intellectual, you have to say you stand critically towards Hollywood-movies, and like boring stuff where in the beginning some hooker gets half killed in some side-street of a big south-american city, while a 3-legged dog crosses the background and annoying violin-music forces its way into your ear – the whole of course is filmed on material that should have been trashed 20 years ago. I’m kidding a bit of course, but even if 80% of the Hollywood productions are shot, the 20% of good is the best around. And we have get so used to this culture that I nearly felt I’m at home over there. Well, nearly. Our cheese and chocolate are of another world and I couldn’t miss them – same as the bread. 🙂
    Some lines to finally say nothing. We are all human before being women an men, american or european, swede or swiss, yellow, red, brown, black or white or whatever, and we are all individuals. But it’s funny to exchange about the tendencies and clichés. And it’s just a good day to greet especially the northern american friends. Thank you guys for the sound of a 5.7l V8 HEMI Eagle. Pffffhahahaaa! 🙂

  9. This is a link to an eruption story telling about Papua New Guinea, and how the people there prepared themselves for an eruption, and how they saved a huge number of people. Reading about the harbor there was pretty interesting as far as the signs of an impending eruption. The people did NOT wait to be told. They paid attention to natural signs and took care of themselves. Of course, the authorities facilitated that effort by preteaching, but still, shows a great effort by the people themselves.

    • Nice example. What made it “easier” there is that you have a “recent” eruption that actually took place, so parents or grand-parents still knew what’s all about. The effects of an eruption where still in the populations minds.
      Is situations like El Hierro or Vesuvius, people have not been confronted to the consequences of volcanism and the “collective awareness” doesn’t exist, so thought about a possible dramatic evolution are evacuated, or the actual potential is more or less denied, in a more ore less conscious way. As long as some officials then say there’s nothing to worry about, you’ll have a majority staying and waiting to see what’s coming.
      A good example is Napoli. Not sure if they have up-to-date evacuation plans and the city has grown in the last 20 years.

      • It was on Discovery some documentary regarding Napoli situation nowadays. The officials got some plans but the people don’t care for. They forgot, they are not aware just because from collective conscience there is no example recently.
        Humans tend to go on easy route….

        • Nelly,
          I’d say smaller and less known. But would do quite a mess if it blew up. If there was a definition of “supervolcano” (term is somehow shit in my eyes), I’d put it amongst those.
          Actually I have to admin I don’t know how near / far it stands from “serious” reactivation. But sure it’s not the one we need to care about first in the next years…

        • In response to GeoLoco, I saw one such show too, not too long ago, but if it’s the same, then it was only about Vesuvius (if it’s the same, most of it was showing simulations of pyroclastic flows and and ash fall over Pompei and Herculaneum – there was some sort of “acted by-story” of people who lived there, interspersed with scientific monitoring of Vesuvius). So no, nothing about Campi Flegrei.

        • Or maybe was NG….I can’t remember. Also was possible regarding Campi Flegrei. As far as I remember was the comment that Naples evacuation plan is intended to be about 3 hours? or days? but people don’t want to consider training on it……and was related to some point to buildings regulation due to its potential as seismic zone.

      • I once talked to a guy that had analyzed the evacuation plans of Naples. It’s some years ago, but he told me some of the new urbanized zones actually where blocking some of the pathways foreseen by the evacuation plan… No idea how this evolved, but anyway I never manage to imagine a big city will be evacuated in hours…

  10. Hi guys..this is waay OT but I hope it will be allowed..
    i saw some of you guys talking about the Hekla Dalek BBQ and especially Lurking who mentioned Ribs. If you are going to make ribs please for the love of all that is holy try this..

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes
    Yield: Makes a little more than 1 cup
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup paprika
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon cayenne
    Combine all ingredients together and transfer to an air tight container. Maybe stored up to six months.

    • And no ribs are complete without a kickass bbq sauce.
      This is a rich, thick, tomato based barbecue sauce recipe often associated these days as Kansas City Style. You get that traditional combination of sweet with a touch of heat in a dark and thick tomato sauce. Adjust the heat by changing the amount of cayenne.
      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 15 minutes
      Total Time: 25 minutes
      Yield: Makes about 2 cups
      1 cup ketchup
      1/4 cup water
      1/4 cup vinegar
      1/4 cup brown sugar
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons paprika
      1 tablespoon chili powder
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1 teaspoon cayenne
      Heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and sauté until brown. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.

      • A flying visit, may join all later!
        Don’t forget S Iceland is having some real foul weather today – Faeroes had gusts in excess of 120mph overnight

        @ Carl
        Hope t’ tooth’s better

    • I say this was something (magma related, rather than storm) moving (beneath/near) the south edges of Fimmvörðuháls or Eyjafjöll ridges (Eyjo Volcano), there was small EQ a day or two ago under south-east Eyjo. For several weeks I have had a hunch, and been watching the area (via IMO website), for a possibility of there might be second event of either Eyjo or Fimm´. Land has been rising slightly south and east of Eyjo, and I have seen that Stórólfshvoll strain-meter has had more “unrest” than other meters in last weeks. I belive this un-Hekla related, as distance from Hekla is far too much, 45 Km, and nearest is Eyjo, although Godabunga and Katla can have effect at Stórólfhvoll too, I guess.

    • There is also an increased signal (relative to normal) at vsh and kvo. There was also a signal (that could have been weather) at Grimsfjall immediately before. I know that these are not all close together per se and the volcanos have no connection, but I have often wondered if such a thing as a magma or pressure pulse below the crust i.e that which feeds the vocalnos sometimes passes under iceland producing effects like this.

  11. As some kind of “miss en bouche” for the ones who will find the time to visit the bar, let me go OT once more. Just know you gotta be strong to stand watching this. And think that we all should sometimes allow ourselves to cry a tear…

  12. Do not worry about the scaremongers. They are too busy trying to discover
    the exact day the world ends… and waiting for the flying saucer that will take them to another planet to save from Armageddon!

  13. Hello all, greetings from the land of fire and Ice. That “Harmonic” tremor being measured by Krafla is bad weather. Also The steady uplift of all the GPS meters is most likely accumulated snow. Nothing is really going on. Sure Hekla has been “ready” to blow for years now, and Katla’s seismicity is steady. But it really just quiet right now. One thing to notice is the difference between the amount of quakes along side of released strain compared between Katla and Eyjafjallajökull.



    Jamie in Iceland

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