Hekla – Changes in rapid strain

Image from Icelandic Met Office. One can easily see here how the rapid strain movements increased in amplitude and energy during the last couple of day. In the beginning you can see the normal value.

During the last 48 hours Hekla has suffered an increase in rapid strain movements. On the images below you see two types of motion. The first type that is creating a sinusoidal movement (wave-like) is a phenomenon called earth-tides. They are normal and do not influence even the most agitated volcano. The second type of motion is rapid motion of strain changes as the mountain makes small trembles. Those small trembles are actually rapid mountain strain changes.

Image from Icelandic Met Office. The big “downfalls” are most likely a result from the strainmeter resetting itself after it was repaired a few days ago.

Rapid mountain strain changes are normally seen as a warning sign of unrest in an active volcanic system. However, I have not found any data stating that Hekla exhibits this pattern before an eruption. The only reference is Páll Einarsson stating the previous instance as the reason behind the July 2011 Hekla alert from IMO (Icelandic Met Office). Hekla then suffered an episode like this that ended with a 2.2 earthquake in Hekla proper.

Image from Icelandic Met Office. Storolfsvoll is showing a slightly different patter of rapid strain movements, but the increase pattern is still the same. It is just that the attack of the transients are slower.

Also, before the 1991 there was a set of shallow earthquakes at Haukadalur the week before onset of eruption. And during the last couple of weeks there has been another pattern of similar earthquakes, but at a slightly greater depth.

Photograph by Eggert Norðdahl, copyright reserved. Used by permission, for usage in print contact either Volcanocafé via email or Eggert Norðdahl directly. This stunning aerial photography of the third day of the 2000 eruption gives the enormous scale of a Hekla eruption in plain view. Expect many stunning photographs from the upcoming Icelandic eruptions by our “house” photographer Eggert Norðdahl.

This increase in rapid strain movements might be interpreted as increased unrest in the volcanic plumbing of Hekla. But we still lack the tell-tale earthquakes at Hekla proper that normally start 30 to 60 minutes before onset of eruption. The earthquake will be in Hekla proper, or within a couple of kilometers.

Please, keep the question coming for our GPS Q&A with Professor Sigrún Hreinsdottir!


600 thoughts on “Hekla – Changes in rapid strain

  1. And a minor issue for them coder folk, my flash player 10 debug thing keeps popping up with the following (I’m using IE8 here) – not sure if it is likely to affect anyone, but just FAO dragons really.

    TypeError: Error #1009: Cannot access a property or method of a null object reference.
    at com.google.youtube.application::WatchPageVideoApplication/onMouseIdle()
    at flash.events::EventDispatcher/dispatchEventFunction()
    at flash.events::EventDispatcher/dispatchEvent()
    at com.google.youtube.util::MouseActivity/onIdle()
    at com.google.utils::Scheduler/dispatchEvent()
    at com.google.utils::Scheduler$/run()
    at Function/http://adobe.com/AS3/2006/builtin::apply()
    at com.google.youtube.application::VideoApplication/guardedTimeoutCall()
    at Function/http://adobe.com/AS3/2006/builtin::apply()
    at MethodInfo-1762()

  2. The Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico — located about 35 miles east of Mexico City — continues to shoot thick plumes of ash and smoke in the sky after Mexican authorities warned of an explosion last Friday.

    This image taken from NASA’s Aqua satellite shows ash and smoke coming from the volcano on April 16, 2012.

    According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 30 million people live within view of Popocatepetl and a major eruption would endanger hundreds of thousands of citizens living in nearby communities.

    The volcano last erupted on Dec. 18, 2000. It was the most violent eruption in more than 1,000 years, according to the AP.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/popocatepetl-volcano-mexico-picture-2012-4#ixzz1sabf7JcU

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