Earthquakes at Reykjanes Ridge

Photograph by Greg Headley. Reykjanes is quite literaly the spot where you can see how the world is dividing. This out-cropping of the MAR is where the Mid Atlantic Rift comes up out of the ocean.

Six o’clock yesterday (tuesday) a small swarm of earthquakes started at Reykjanes Ridge, it started with a 3.8M at 05.48 in the morning. That quake was followed by a limited number of quakes that trended downwards in strength.

Earlier today (wednesday) the swarm returned and picked up strength and amount of quakes quite considerably.

Image by Icelandic Met Office. The telltale signs of 3M+ earthquakes. The green stars of Iceland.

Image by Icelandic Met Office.

These earthquakes are visible on all SILs in iceland. I have here though chosen to show what it had as effect on the Hekla Borehole strainmeter plot. Look at how it produces first two large spikes, and then a bell-curve as energy increases, and then decreases in the swarm.

Image by Icelandic Met Office. Bell curve of seismic energy.

Reykjanes Ridge is a sub-aquatic volcano as well as a part of the MAR. It has had numerous eruptions, sometimes producing ephemereal islands, and some islands that has stayed above surface.

There are though no sign of this being an eruption, at least yet there is not telltale harmonic tremoring. So, it is most likely a normal tectonic earthquake episode.

Bathymetric map of the Reykjanes Ridge.

Just to put this into perspective. The current swarm of earthquakes at Reykjanes Ridge has during the last couple of hours (as I am writing this) released more energy than Katla has done in the last half a year, and the amount of energy released from the last 3 months of activity at El Hierro, put together. Awesome come to think about it.



408 thoughts on “Earthquakes at Reykjanes Ridge

  1. Here is a rather nice paper on volcanism, climatology and El Nino.
    They go through how volcanos, El Ninos, and VolcanoElninan years affect the climate compared to baseline years. Informative.
    Pretty much a kick in the belly for the cooling effect of normal volcanoes. It takes a large VEI-6 or a VEI-7 to lower the temp.

  2. OT Just a quickie….
    Pictures of Pooper who FLEW up to have a look out of the window for the first time this morning!… Please note the photos show his wound and may upset some people. Please be assured he is much better than he was last week and taking an interest in life. I noted new feathers growing from skin on damaged neck . This is a very good sign that he is fighting fit and now I have few concerns. He just needs a while to excercise his wing and let the wound heal a little more. I see no reason why he should not be flying with the flock in a few weeks when the weather improves.

    • How wonderful it is when any animal that seemed to be at death’s door is healed and can rejoin life. It must be very satisfying to see Pooper getting better every day. Thanks for the pics!

      • Yes Talla! I really didn’t expect this little fighter to live. The wound exposed backbone and hugely torn muscles.Despite this, Soon he will be in the company of a few other birds in our back yard that may not be 100% perfect but are enjoying their life and are relatively protected. Grumpy the blackbird lost half his top beak and yet managed to find a mate last spring and produced and fed youngsters, Paddle foot, a tumbler pigeon who broke his leg and now has a peculiar gait, also has bred. Droopy managed to survive a hawk and a broken wing. There is a message for us all here, .

  3. And for those who want to take a look at a malfunctioning SIL-station…

    Poleshifters would though assume that it is the world being sucked into the core…

  4. From Boris’s comment on Eruptions, his video of the end of the lastest Etna’s paroxysm. Check the explosion at 2:33, AMAZING!

  5. @GeoLoco:
    1.1Kton of blasting ordinance.
    Worlds largest pit mine. The blast has the same destructive force as a 2Kton nuclear bomb. 4.2 on the Richter scale.

    • Heaven, ass and hell. Here we have a lawyer’s fight with neighbors because of something corresponding to 3 geologists degassing after a mexican meal. Boah, sure I’d like it to be the Randy behind such a bang… 🙂
      They should take care – one day they’re going to induce pole shift with that boom…

  6. DIARIOELHIERRO.It is drafting (10/2/2012 14: 50 hours) the State Committee for the coordination of Civil protection for the volcanic risk, met this morning in Madrid, has analysed the evolution of the technical work carried out in the volcano of El Hierro and stressed “stability” of the situation, with a natural evolution of the submarine volcano “which diminishes their activity”.

    This Committee, chaired by the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Luis Aguilera Ruiz, has noted that this decline of eruptive activity, “will allow go to normalize the daily life on the island, with a guarantee of civil protection”, as reported in a note from the Government delegation in the Canary Islands.

    In this sense, remains activated the Emergency Plan before the volcanic (Pevolca) risk in emergency, with volcanic red light phase only in delimited exclusion navigation marine zone and which corresponds to the marine area close to the issuance of the submarine volcano.

    On the other hand, remains activated the yellow traffic light for the island territory, which represents only a call to the people to make them aware of indications which may arise.

    (In view of this situation, the past February 3, was requested the deactivation of the military unit of emergency EMU) s that has yesterday begun its withdrawal.

    The meeting of the Committee held this morning was attended by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Luis Aguilera Ruiz, the director general of Civil Defence and emergencies of the Ministry of the Interior, Juan Antonio Díaz Cruz; the director-general of security and emergencies of the Canary, Juan Manuel Santana Pérez; and the delegate of the Canarian Government, Maria of the Carmen Hernandez Bento.

    Also, they have been present at the meeting, representatives of the General Directorates of the police, Civil Guard and trade, the Ministry of the Interior; the Department of infrastructure and tracking for situations of Crisis of Presidency of the Government; of the Directorate General of defence policy and the unit military in emergencies of the Ministry of defence; of the General Directorate of public health, quality and innovation of the Ministry of health, social services and equality; of the State Agency of meteorology of the Ministry of agriculture, food and environment; the General directions of the merchant marine, aviation, National Geographic Institute, State Agency of aviation safety, and entity public ports of State of the Ministry of development.

    Also part of this Committee responsible for the State Agency of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, the geological and mining Spain, and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography of the Ministry of economy and competitiveness.

    State PLAN for CIVIL protection to the VOLCANIC risk the director-general of Civil Defence and emergencies of the Ministry of the Interior, has submitted draft State Plan of Civil protection to the volcanic risk. The objective of this Plan, which will be approved in their corresponding procedure is established the Organization and operating procedures to ensure an effective response by the public administrations to emergencies by volcanic risk of national interest, as well as support mechanisms to the plans of the autonomous communities when they require.

    The State Plan presented comes to supplement the actions envisaged in the Special Plan of Civil protection and emergency care by the Canary Islands volcanic risk (Pevolca).

    REPLACEMENT of the boat of the IEO, also be agreed preparing a program replacement of the current vessel of the Institute Spanish of Oceanography (IEO) which has been carrying out the necessary bathimetrys to the emergency situation involving the volcano, and that have allowed the study of the depths of the sea and the analysis of the relief of the seabed.

    In this sense, will study the strength of different ships of various State bodies, which are rotating and that have different technological capabilities so that the scientific community can continue corresponding technical studies.

    On the other hand, the Government delegate in the Canary Islands, has pointed out that it is being finalized the draft of State aid for the herreña population, with 5.5 million euros. The objective is to correct the previous decree, which focused on material damage that have not occurred, and compensate the economic downtime suffered by the island as a result of volcanic activity. (Translated by Bing)

    16 minutes ago · Like · 2

      • Refer to how Carl has put it: 1 week without activity and we start talking about it’s temporarily over. Forget about the rest.

          • They must have their reasons…
            There will still be time to react if things develop a too bad way.
            But during the whole thing they were more worried about being the cool ones that don’t panic than about facing potential problems. They have a hard time admitting living on an active volcano is not the best idea. Think only of the gasses. You never know what comes out where and when in the actual phase. Their problem, and a part of individual responsibility of the residents too. Everyone should be free to decide what kind of risks (s)he is ready to live with.

          • As soon as they can get this to “it’s just normal,” they can continue to mild the “green energy” goal of making the island 100% self sufficient.

            Tiny Spanish Island Has a Huge Stake in the Future by Andres Cala

            “…But next year, this volcanic formation of 270 square kilometers, or 104 square miles, will become the first island in the world to be electrically self-sufficient, producing all its power from a combination of wind power and a single battery with a maximum capacity of 500,000 cubic meters, or 17.6 million cubic feet…”

            NYT January 19, 2011

            Original Link (I think it wants you to buy the article now)

    • Roughly summarised: they think that because the volcano is stable and in its last phases of eruption they can hand over protection from the military to the civilian bodies, who don’t yet have an approved plan (contents of said plan not mentioned).

      Even if they are right that the eruption is in its last phases, I can see a few holes in this strategy (holes might be the operative word). But we can’t even say for sure that their conciusion about the phase of the eruptions is correct.

    • Probably trying to protect the tourist trade. Brits tend to book their summer holidays about now. And as it is cold here, many will be looking for good deals in warm places….

  7. Nah, no Dalek for me, thanks all the same.
    Somehow I am not surprised seeing a EQ there, not far from strain meter at Stórófshvoll
    (about 11 km east of Hvolsvöllur). See my comment some dosens (hundred?) post up (before) in this thread. Its just beside old volcano cone (erupted under glacier?) a mountain named Þríhyrningur.

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