Time for Herðubreið to erupt? + Riddles

Few volcanoes portray the same raw beauty as Herðubreið. Photograph by Thrainn Vigfusson.

Few volcanoes portray the same raw beauty as Herðubreið. Photograph by Thrainn Vigfusson.

Serendipity seems to have really cursed this series of the five most likely volcanoes and areas to erupt in Iceland. So far all 3 I have written about have shown signs of unrest (Hekla, Grimsvötn and Reykjanes Volcanic Area), and yesterday I would have written and published this piece on Herðubreið and Askja, but work got in the way.

It is though not that I have grown psychic powers, the scientific signs have been there all the time. I just tried to put my thinking cap on and figure out which volcanoes in my opinion are the most likely to make an appearance. So, even though Herðubreið put in an appearance slightly before I got to it, here is a bit of information on her and Askja and what the signs are for a future eruption.

I have here clumped them together even though they are not belonging to the same volcanic system. Askja is on her own fissure swarm and Herðubreið is a volcano in her own right between the Kverkfjöll and Askja fissure swarms.


The crater of Viti infront of the Caldera of Öskjuvatn all of it inside the two Calderas of Askja. Photograph by Wolfgangbayer, taken from Wikimedia Commons.

The crater of Viti infront of the Caldera of Öskjuvatn all of it inside the two Calderas of Askja. Photograph by Wolfgangbayer, taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Askja is one of the Big Five in Iceland together with Theistareykjarbunga, Bárdarbunga, Grimsvötn and Katla. These have all had eruptions transcending the 10 cubic kilometer range, and all of them except Theistareykjarbunga have suffered from VEI-6 eruptions, and all of them have had that size of activity after deglaciation.

Major lava fields of Iceland and the Odadhahraun lava field surrounding Askja. Image from Encyclopedia Britannica.

Major lava fields of Iceland and the Odadhahraun lava field surrounding Askja. Image from Encyclopedia Britannica.

Askja is a much understudied volcano compared to Grimsvötn and Katla even though she has ample capacity for destructive behavior. Just as an example, the Odadhahraun lava field is Iceland’s largest single lava field covering 3681 square kilometers; still it is not known if it is from a single eruption, or several eruptions. Visual evidence seems to point towards it mainly being from one eruption but no petrochemical testing has so far been done. Nor is it known when this eruption happened.

Why would now Odadhahraun be important? Well, normally we point towards Thjorsahraun out of Bárdarbunga being the largest lava flow after deglaciation on earth.  It was an estimated 21 to 30 cubic kilometers of lava and covers 950 square kilometers. If we assume the same thickness for Odadhahraun we get a discharge of about 81 to 116 cubic kilometers of lava, and that would be a low score since the thickness obviously would be greater in a larger field (if the viscosity is the same).

Personally I feel that there is place for a driven PhD. student to do a dissertation on Odadhahraun, it certainly merits it. After all it feels pretty useful to know if it was erupted in one go and when it was erupted. I do though think that it is from several eruptions, but one of them might still be the largest in Iceland after deglaciation.

Askja has a couple of features the other volcanoes does not have, it for instance inflates and deflates independently of its eruptions and as such behaves a bit more like a resurging dome volcano. The deflative phases have been paired conclusively with activity in volcanoes to the north of Askja. After the 1961 eruption she started to slowly deflate as the area around Krafla inflated, and as the Krafla Fires died out the Askja deflation slowed until a minor inflation occurred. That deflation stopped as Theistareykjarbunga started to inflate when Askja once more deflated slightly.

Askja today

The dark blue beauty of Lake Öskjuvatn with the surrounding outer caldera wall clearly visible. Click on image to see it clearly. Image by unknown.

The dark blue beauty of Lake Öskjuvatn with the surrounding outer caldera wall clearly visible. Click on image to see it clearly. Image by unknown.

The volcano is today suffering from intermittent seismic activity centered around the magma reservoir indicating changes in magmatic pressure, no large earthquakes are taking place, nor are there large earthquake swarms happening.

There is though evidence of slightly increased hydrothermal activity and the hydrothermal energy release into Lake Öskjuvatn has increased leaving the lake ice free during the last two winters as evidenced by satellite imagery.

Sooner or later Askja will erupt again, but at this time it is probably more than 10 years away unless a large intrusion occurs, if that happens Askja can probably erupt pretty quickly, especially if the new magma heats up old magma left in the system.


This beautiful black and white image shows Herðubreið with snow on top and the small top tuff cone is clearly visible. Photograph by Skarphéðinn Þráinsson. Click on imge for larger view.

This beautiful black and white image shows Herðubreið with snow on top and the small top tuff cone is clearly visible. Photograph by Skarphéðinn Þráinsson. Click on imge for larger view.

Herðubreið is a tuya that was deposited during the last glaciation. It is a contender for the title of being the world’s most beautiful volcano; it certainly is the most beautiful tuya volcano. A tuya is also called a table top volcano due to its shape. The surrounding ice shaped the erupting lava and worked as a mold for it giving the characteristic round steep sided shape with the flat top. There is though a slight chance that Herðubreið erupted at the end of glaciation or even after deglaciation; there is after all a small tuff cone on the top. But, largely it is an unaltered tuya.

In 2007 a swarm of 5 300 earthquakes took place at a depth of 14 to 21 kilometers under Upptyppingar volcano, this swarm has after that progressed laterally at a slight upwards angle towards Herðubreiðartögl and Herðubreið. The type of earthquakes was brittle earthquakes as rock fractured from the inrushing magma, or magmatectonic earthquakes of type B.

The persistency of later swarms have given ample signals to track this intrusion as it moved upwards towards the surface and all signs so far has pointed to an area from Herðubreiðartögl to Herðubreið as being the likely ground zero if it pops up in the form of an eruption. There have also been smaller swarms indicating new intrusions into the area, both following the same path and also going more straight up from locations under Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl.

Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl today


Image of the current ongoing earthquake swarm. Image by the Icelandic Met Office.

Image of the current ongoing earthquake swarm. Image by the Icelandic Met Office.

Seismic signals combined with sparse GPS data released from the area seems to suggest that an eruption very well can occur at any time now, the time period could be anything from weeks to years. We will not really know until we see a persistant swarm moving from the current depth of 5km upwards to 2km or less.

During the last few days a slow earthquake swarm has been running at about 5 km depth, the earthquakes were small but rather persistant. During the night a brief spike in activity occurred at about midnight local time and at 05.38 a major earthquake swarm started with the maximum magnitude of M3.2 occurring 11 minutes later.

So far the swarm is counted in about 100 earthquakes and counting. The depth is though still not manually checked by the Icelandic Met Office and might very well be moved towards the 5km depth line, several of the earthquakes during the last week has been set at shallow depth by the automatic system and was later manually corrected to about 5km. Do not be surprised if that will be the case for the earthquakes from this swarm.

A slightly different view of the activity. Image by Icelandic Met Office. Thanks to Islander for sending me the image.

A slightly different view of the activity. Image by Icelandic Met Office. Thanks to Islander for sending me the image.

It is still too early to say if this is the start of the run up towards an eruption, but to be honest I would not be surprised if it was. We will most likely know in a few days if this is it or just a volcanic teaser.

If the volcano would erupt we would not know how she would behave. The most likely behavior would though be an effusive fissure eruption like the one that happened at Herðubreið around 8 000 years ago.


Here is a plot made by Cryphia, in green are all the earthquakes since 1995 coded in green, the earthquakes during the last month is color-coded yellow to blue. In this plot the earthquake swarm of today form a rather neat dyke intrusion going from 10km depth up to 2km. There is also evidence of deeper quakes following what is likely a deep conduit that is being pressurised. One should though note that the earthquakes used in this plot has as of yet not been manually checked by seismologists.


As usual there are one faultline, one volcanologist and three volcanoes amongst the riddles. Two points will be awarded until I append any clues, after that there will be one point. Good luck to everyone!riddle7

  1. Savate against + image – Kick’Em Jenny (Sissel, 2pt). Savate is a french kickboxing discipline, and Sigrud Undseth on the image wrote a novel named “Jenny”.
  2. The new Lady of Madrid that blows sand – Marianna Fault (Inannamoon667, 2pt). Fault associated with the New Madrid Fault, it is supposedly only 6000 years old and it suffers sandblows.
  3. Domed tents near the white water (The real clue hides in the “Domed tents”) – Khorgo, also known as Taryatu-Chulutu (Diana Barnes, 1pt) is situated near Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (White Water Lake). A yurt is dome shaped tent, and the volcano has created Yurt-basalts
  4. From K-T to a town lost in the mist of coke – Haraldur Sigurdsson (Inannamoon667, 2pt), won the Coke award, found tekite at the K-T boundary in Haiti supporting the impact theory and also helped to find the lost village of Tambora
  5. Truly a volcano in your male pants (Clue, think common male trouser fabric from the land of male clothing and HP) – Cheviot Hills (Sissel, 1pt)
Score board
7 Sissel
5 KarenZ
5 Kelda
4 Shérine France
2 Alison
2 Dinojura44
2 Evan Chugg



346 thoughts on “Time for Herðubreið to erupt? + Riddles

  1. From IMO:

    During the last two days, over 500 hundred earthquakes have been detected beneath Herðubreiðartögl. It is likely that micro-earthquakes will continue to occur in the region during the coming days. Earthquakes exceeding three in magnitude are possible. There are presently no measurable signs that the activity could result in a volcanic eruption. Earthquake swarms are common in the volcanic zone north of Vatnajökull.

    • Stonetablet no 1 has arrived.
      For those who are new to Icelandic volcanism in here. Icelandic Met Office (IMO) and the Icelandic nation has some of the best volcanologists on the planet, and the best plans, preparations and are generally the best at everything volcanic.
      IMO has a distinct style in their way of reporting things that uses very very few words. One could say that the less words the bigger the event. Thusly they have been nicknamed Stonetablets for their absolute authoritarian and no bullshit-style. It is like being Moses getting the beforemendtioned Stonetablet.

      I will never forget the Grimsvötn Stonetablet. Grimsvötn is so far the largest eruption in the 21st century.
      “2011-05-21, 19.25: Eldgós has started at Grimsvötn.” (Eldgós = Eruption)
      Talk about not using a single word extra 🙂

  2. 4. Let’s try the Gulf of Mexico. K-T refers to Chicxulub, the town near the centre of the crater of the same name, located at the top of the Yucaton. The crater was uncovered during oil exploration The other town sounds like the lost Colombian town Macondo, from 100 years of solitude. Macondo has also been adopted as the name of the oil exploration region just off New Orleans. This is due north of Chicxulub. Between the two is the Gulf of Mexico.

  3. Mmm, #5 – been playing with corduroy creek/canyon for a while but not confident … ?

  4. The big 01.24 earthquake in Iceland has now been checked. Deeper and bigger.
    04.05.2014 01:24:15 65.095 -16.386 8.2 km 3.9 99.0 0.8 km N of Herðubreiðartögl

    • interesting – can you see if it’s magmatic in nature, or do you not have the wave form?

      • I have kindly asked for it, right now I can only say that the frequency dropped in the larger earthquakes from that earthquake and onwards.

            • Wouldnt lower frequencies be more indicative of magmatic activity rather than the swarm ending? I thought that the amplitude od the signal is an indicator of the swarm ending or not, rather than the frequency. 🙂

            • I do not think that the swarm is ending right now, but I have been wrong before.
              Tyler, remember that these are unchecked earthquakes, and most often the earthquakes get shifted downwards.

            • Interesting – low quality, but Herdubreid just lurched out a super deep 1.6 at 24 km depth. What does this mean? I have no clue, but that’s really deep.

            • CBUS, rule that one out, it is a ghost from the M2.1 a couple of seconds before.
              What is happening is that the signal from the 2.1 reflected of the MOHO since it could not make the transition and as such reverberated back upwards and comes out in the automatic system as a deep 1.6.

              Think of a wave moving down a pool of water and as it hits the concrete at one end it bounces back and arrives after the real initial wave to where you are standing at the other end. The second wave will be smaller proportionaly to what you are seeing now. I hope this explanation makes sense, I should be able to explain this better since it is my field of study… 🙂

            • Very nice explanation, Ghost quakes in a nutshell. I suspected bouncing waves were the cause of those ghost but i never knew fo sure. Could a fault also cause refections like that and produce ghosts more horizontally away from the real quake?

            • Certainly, we had a bunch of those during that swarm up at Gjögurtá a few months ago. Any zone were the wave-front has to transition from one “homogenous” material to another you get a spot where it can reflect, absorb or scatter (difract).

  5. After 2 days of blood, sweat and tears. Kelda finally emerges as the Victor – The Trojan Virus is Dead and peace has descended on our household once more!!
    Is No. 5 – Blue Lake Crater or maybe Blue Creek?

  6. ‘Evening all! And thanks for a great article and interesting discussions!
    Could no. 5 simply be JEAN, crater of Piton de la Fournaise?

  7. Kelda and KarenZ will be chasing me all over half of England when they learn the answer to this…

  8. Interesting, the first batch of GPS data is starting to come in for the region around Herdubreid.
    Instead of showing the expected uplift if magma was rushing into the system I get massive deflation. Seems like Herdubreidartögl is falling in on itself. Tentatively I would say it looks like a fissure opening more than anything else. I am looking forward to more data over the next few days. I also hope that someone has a GPS network up and running that is not on the IMO network, I think there are a few active around Askja.
    This is from the Karahnjukar network, but the same type of signal is visible on other more remote stations too.

      • It is a thinning of the crust as the adjoining plates move apart. So yes, it would be showing a thinning untill the void is filled. Note: This is a theory that nobody really has seen an answer to yet.

        • Well that’s quite an interesting development. I suppose “stay tuned” is all that can be really said at this point as I can’t imagine anybody can accurately predict what will or won’t possibly happen here.

          • I do not think anyone knows what will happen during something like that.
            Please do note that there are still way to few datapoints to be sure about anything. Give it a few days and we will understand better what is happening.

            • Here is a better temporal resolution of the same station. Last 90 days, which give a better picture than the “crowded” multi year plot. 🙂

  9. Ahem, which is the country that gave us the name for almost every male fabric and male piece of clothing?

      • Lewis & Clarke, Wrangler, Jean´s, Garment, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Mississippi, Karolina, Cotton, Wool, Parki, Parka, Wellington (no thats boots), … … me, me, me …. “none of abowe” sigh.

  10. I just checked the mag 2 and 3’s up to that 3.9 magnitudes and they are 90% or more in their accuracy.

    • Auto system has this such. When stronger then 2 occurr, auto system calculates up to 93 % accuarcy – Only 99% are human checked.

  11. In the vein of correlation not necessarily implying causation as well as being a nicely heretical question, how much statistical significance is there to Reykjanes ridge swarms occuring up to several weeks before the onset of melt intrusion drama in the eastern to northern volcanic systems?

    Serge (tectonic volcano junkie warning inclusive:)

    PS. No find for the Oda flow fig.

        • Could be that the ounce on my monitor background has been there for too long. These animals can hop really fast 🙂


        • His name is Leonardo and he’s been there for many years. Not a relationship of Sissel’s avatar as far as i am aware of.

    • This is similar to ask, how much significant it is the fact that I ocasionally drink red wine, and a few days later I feel really in a good mood in my work place. I have noticed this link quite a lot of times. Actually there is no causal link, I drink red wine quite regularly at spaced times (just like Reykjanes swarms) and I feel in a really good mood at several times throughout the year (just like magmatic intrusions in the northeast of Iceland). Do you understand my point? It’s easy to link two common independent events, especially when you choose a time difference of several weeks, even if there is no direct causality between them.

      Within a time interval of several weeks almost everything has a swarm of activity in Iceland, so how can we link different regions amidst that interval of time? Seems impossible.

      I tried hard to find patterns in Iceland’s activity. I could only find a few which seem to be significant, and even then data is too little. One example is: there seems to be a grouping along a time scale in eruptions at the Reykjanes peninsula (when some of its 4 volcanoes erupt within short periods of time between each other). They last a few centuries, and then the entire region goes eruption-less for several centuries again, until a new period of activity. This patterns seems to apply to other volcanic regions in Iceland, and also to the hotspot peaks in activity in Vatnajokull volcanoes, every 130 years, roughly. Also Torfajokull erupted simultaneously in six ocasions when Veidivotn-Bardarbunga erupted. And Askja deflates and inflates in opposite manner to the volcanoes north of it. Also in 96, a big earthquake in Bardarbunga triggered an eruption near Grimsvotn. And the two volcanic systems in the Westman Islands erupted within 10 years of each other, after millenia of dormancy (they are relatively close to each other). These are the only causalities I have found in Iceland. I could not see any causality between Reykjanes and the north of Iceland.

      Maybe this subject can be part of a future post, but I am tired today to write about it. Perhaps someone would feel inspired to use my words and do it. 🙂

      • Someone also said in a scientific paper that, in Iceland, along the millenia, activity seems to alternate between periods of high activity in Reykjanes and high activity in south Iceland group of volcanoes (Hekla, Katla, Eyja…) and high activity in Vatnajokull. Can’t remember how exactly the pattern went along time, as it was described in that paper, which now I don’t know which paper was. The only thing I found was that when activity goes high in Reykjanes, seems lower in Vatnajokull. Maybe same applies between south Iceland and Reykjanes, as rifting is occuring more in one side and relieving pressure in the other rift-volcanic zone. Right now, and as in recent centuries, almost all rifting is occuring in the rift zone in the south Iceland volcano zone and very little in the west volcanic region. But it can change in the future.

      • First an acknowledgement that i didn’t try hard, just a bit of looking up what happened quakewise before the Eyja eruption, and a realization further down the road that the Reykjanes ridge is strategic from a tectonic perspective.

        What prompted me to risk the query was an internal serendipity a couple weeks ago while reading a post bout the swarms. Not pinning it down to Herðubreiðartögl (eh), just noting something may be up, which seemed a pretty good signal, even given a naiveness ratio not knowing precisely for instance how frequent RR swarms are. I didn’t remember them happening that often, say more than every six months. And true, the current events are more in the middle of it, close to where western systems link up to, rather than to the north.

        A while ago somebody commented over the human mind being skewed towards patterns yielding false impressions. That’s kind of false because almost all of sensory processing and its evaluation by the central nervous system is by patterns. These are of higher dimensionality than allmost all of those we handle in formal analysis which is maybe why most people won’t perceive them as such.

        Now not all of the brain is patterns, and it might be worth to delve into that, given interest.

        Also speaking of such, personally i stay away from pills as far as i can after a headache from thinking, and much prefer pedal treatement with some fresh air vawing around my senses. Best wishes for Carl’s head resurfacing nonetheless.


        And for the rest too as i read.

        • Reading again through your answer, I can remember an impression of Southern Hokkaido volcanoes having many eruptions a few hundred years ago, then falling more or less silent ever since.

          A possible source of confusion is that i was meaning a much more specific location, namely about the same place as the swarm shown below:

  12. “It’s actually quite like a rainbow. When a person looks at a rainbow he sees it starting in a certain position and ending in a certain position. However, when a second person – who is standing in another place – looks at the rainbow he\she will see it starting and ending in a completely different spot. So the two people are effectively seeing different rainbows, with different starting and ending positions. That’s why you will never find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!”

    Remove the rainbows, add some earthquakes, hot temperatures, two continents moving away. Hope you get the picture I am painting.

    Its the best answer I could come up with.

      • Mmh, i did some intense cogitation and write down during a substantial part of the day, even if that was several hours before posting. And than had a bit of logics getting into the fray during formulation. Think that did it rather than simple fatigue… and have slept well, thankfully. Sure, lengthy reading of science blog discussions in general and VC in particular may stretch the mind too.

        Still i’m impressed by the remote diagnosis, but nevertheless would caution against over-interpreting things psychological,

        What hasn’t deconstructed however is the curiosity in those RR swarms, here’s a hopefully improved go at it:

        For instance, mining for two lists (swarms and melt intrusions), then computing average time from swarm to next intrusion versus random time to next intrusion.

        Admittedly brute force plus a couple conventions, so querying for a qualitative impression might be best from there. Nature of the inquisition is both fun and optional.


  13. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy! Rick. Thanks a bunch. 🙂 I now understand why I can put down a gardening tool or even a cup of coffee then I turn round and it’s gone. It’s not me loosing my marbles. It’s decoherence. 🙂 For the first time in my life I understand a physics explanation. OK! OK! I don’t get the formulae and the maths side of things but I totally understand the concept …….. I think 😀

    And here’s another example where people will see different things. In this time lapse sequence if you are a North American Doomsdayer you will be alarmed. If you are in Iceland you will wonder if your country is on the world radar. North America lights up like a Soho night Club yet Iceland and Northern Europe are dark. The clip has no explanations of what criteria was used for the quakes. So two people from different view points will see the same quakes yet the results are different .
    . It’s a pretty clip though and Alaska looks such a busy place 😀


    • If they use USGS data, then globally only quakes above 3.5/4 will be visible. I use an app for “global earthquakes”, that uses USGS data, and it looks quite similar to the video. All down to the smallest quakes in USA are recorded and listed, while globally only the strongest are listed. Total BS if you ask me. The video (and the app) should be called “All USA quakes and a few outside” instead of the “Global” BS. Sorry for the harsh words, but this kind of “non-equality” and “self-centresim” really pisses me off. 🙂

      • Well, to be fair, we would be really swamped if they posted ALL quakes worldwide and yet it is their perogatve to post the little MacBurgers for the US in case anyone there is interested. I guess this is why Alaska is white in the video, because of all the tiny little quakes. But the big stuff worldwide is posted and that is a fair representation. Iceland is actually a pretty quiet place seismically compared with the Australian plate margin precisely because few quakes in Iceland make it up to M4 whereas we have them on a weekly basis. The video should really filter out all the stuff below M4. If memory serves me well I think USGS actually offer an interactive animation where you can set these parameters.

        • That is true and I understand that. But they should be fair enough to put a note that these are not all global earthquakes and why USA lights up like a Christmas tree while the rest of the world seems boring earthquake-wise, to a common person. Videos like these with false titles and also phone apps, should include the info what exactly is the criteria and that not all global quakes are shown. Otherwise you get doomsdayers and conspiracy theorists using this to prove their agenda.

          • I agree with you on this one, a simple note would have been good and helped dimminish the fears of the Americans as they then could have more accurately compared with the rest of the planet.

          • The caption of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) on youtube:
            “Earthquakes happen every day, and as this animation shows, small ones happen more frequently than once per hour. Moderate-to-large earthquakes are less common, however, perhaps 1-2 per month on a long-term average. Therefore April 2014 was unusual not in the total number of earthquakes that occurred but in how many moderate and large ones happened, and PTWC had to issue official message products for 13 different earthquakes in that month for earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.5 or higher, easily a record for this institution. Of those 13, PTWC issued tsunami warnings for 5. …”

            So the emphasize is not at the US, but that so many large earthquakes happened in April 2014, namely 2 in Chile and 3 in the Solomon Islands.

    • Decoherence might also mark the point where philosophy and natural science finally come back together again after a couple of centuries of divergence. The way I see it, our feeble little brains work well on one plane where logic reigns supreme and, given that logic is fundamental to our language, we got kind of stuck on trying to make a representation of the world that fits nicely within our rather two dimensional logically rigid mental framework. 99.9% of the time this works fine. But the edges are frayed and I think that now both philosophers and physicists believe that what we have established so far cannot be the full story. Which is usually the point where I get up and go for a coffee.
      Good morning Diana!

  14. If one or more of our Ploitfarians could plot the earthquakes in the Herdubreid area I could write an update-post this evening.
    Anyone up for it?

    • I know that extensional swarms facilitate decompressional melting but does anyone know how direct the causal chain is? I mean will swams like this lead to melt forming immediately or is that process much more gradual?

    • Including the early 4 May (only those earthquakes which have been manually revised yet) the swarm still looks pretty much like the Herðubreiðartögl swarm in the posted video, so I did not make a new one yet.
      I am curious how the 32 km deep earthquake from today 12:37:41 turns out after revision.

    • Tried to do an update but it was messy (i.e. the plot, itself, was, not the current activity) so waiting until IMO have confirmed more EQs. The gap between the two earlier “columns” may have filled in between 7km & 4km depth from memory,which would indicate activity along a fissure / fault – but I can’t be sure at this stage.

      Can’t do anything until later this evening now so, if anyone can do something sooner, please don’t wait for me.

      • Up date: now re-done the plot using confirmed eqs (see comment below at 18:47). The “gap” has not filled in.

    • Forgot to add: Tho I am not exactly sure where this station is situated, it seems that the deflation was happening just before this swarm began (perhaps some clues in this?). The last two datapoints are Sat. and Sun., when the swarm was ongoing, and it actually seems like there is some inflation back. Tho 2 points are not enough to say that for sure because they are only two points, and there is a possibility of an error. So I assume that a few more points will be needed do give a first estimate/interpretation of the GPS data.

  15. Pingback: Islande : Vers une éruption de l’Herðubreið ? | 80 Jours Voyages

  16. Low quality, but this one is rather deep

    05.05.2014 12:37:41 65.194 -16.249 32.2 km 1.3 53.16 0.9 km WNW of Herðubreiðarlindir

    • Yes, IMO have quite a bit of work ahead of them as they validate the quality of these thousands of earthquakes. Earthquake city does seem more active than the last swarm in southwest Iceland..

  17. plot is on its way. I have the data up to the 4th (but not all day – it is not yet available)

    Edit : the data for the 5th is now available. I’m redoing the plot so it will be available a bit later on.

  18. I will write an update in a while, I first need to sit down and let the headache pills work their wonder…
    And that way we will also hopefully have a plot or two to ad to it 🙂

  19. Langjökull has had a few mag 2 earthquakes. 2 of the 3 are more than at a mile down.
    1. Earthquake at husafell. 2.4 at 15km
    2. Earthquake at Skjaldbreið 2.1 at 14.2km only 3.2km sw of Skjaldbreið
    Is Skjaldbreið a volcano

    • Yes, Skjaldbreidur is a shield volcano roughly half way between central volcano of Langjokull (Prestahnukur), and the central volcano of Hengill. Supposedely it belongs to the central volcano of Langjokull, but the area where the shield is located is an area similar to the dead zone, with a lot of massive lava fissures, long ridges, but also quite a fair share of shield volcanoes.

      Skjaldbreidur is probably the second biggest shield volcano in Iceland. Trolladyngja is biggest, and Theistareykjarbunga is probably the third biggest. Quite tall, up to 1100m, with a 0.5-1km wide crater at the top (quite big). Its lava field is very very wide. The eruption was around 7000-8000 years ago, only one-time event, and lasted around 100 years (estimated) and around 20-40 cu km (so twice as much volume as Laki).

      It has earthquakes once in a while. And eruptions happened in surrounding region last around 3000 years ago. Langjokull system however did had a 10 cu km lava eruption around the year 1000, which is a massively wide lava field. It’s as large as Laki. And eruptions all along the system occur roughly every 1000 to 2000 years. Carl, there’s another big one to add to your top5. Yes, Langjokull-Prestahnukur system.

      • I thought the 10km^3 eruption at Langjökull was 1000BC?
        But yes, it is hovering around the Big 5 mark 🙂

  20. OT If offered a life that I would be a space shuttle command pilot or a senior engineer on a Big Boy Locomotive I’d have to think about it.
    Probably favoring the Big Boy.
    When looking at SP’s 4449 sitting at the Depot in Eugene, and it was chuffing and steaming at rest a young friend who was with wife and I said:”Is it alive?!”
    I said:”Yes”…

    • So your into trains as well!

      I was a passenger behind 4449 5 years ago. My dad and I did the route that paralleled the Mississippi River in August 2009. She should be back after overhaul this Christmas or shortly in early 2015.

      I really hope that everything behind 4014 is not hype. 844 and 3985 aren’t receiving any attention back in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Sad

      • My cousin Gerry was fireman on 844-as was my Uncle Breen- for a few seasons. If you scratch me I bleed UP yellow and Missouri Pacific Red and Silver…
        rode many miles on the Streamliners as a kid..
        Miss that…

  21. Off to Blaenau FFestiniog , North Wales, tomorrow for a short three day break. I’ll keep my eye open for anything Volcanic. As far as I know there’s not a lot there except a whole lot of Slate. The weather looks wet so if I am lucky I may be able to get the internet at the hotel then I will have lots of time to read up on the geology. Why choose this town? We didn’t! Sis in Law gave us the short break vouchers for Christmas and she had no idea where the place is! I have been before and it’s not the most beautiful of places. Very grey. But I am looking forward to a rest from cooking and having time with my husband that isn’t shared with the other love of his life, his Toyota pickup. He spends hours with her. Fettling, painting her underbelly and generally tinkering. He even washes her parts in my dishwasher!

  22. So looking at the most recent quake map on IMO along with the plots here, it really seems more likely that this would be a fissure eruption along that herdubreidarlindir ridge south of Herdubreid (IF an eruption were to take place that is).

    I hadn’t realized it, but apparently Jonfr mentioned increased temperature at the Askja Caldera lake as well, which could be partially related here.

    With that said, I would tend to believe it will take a bit more energy to pop through the top of Herdubreid or the adjacent ridge than it would Askja, Grimsvotn, Katla, or any of the other more active volcanoes in iceland simply due to the amount of time the lid has had to solidify there. If this erupts, I wouldn’t be surprised in any way if there was a strong rhyolitic component at the start of the eruption. The nearest volcano (askja) is a notoriously bimodal volcanic system, and given the repose time since the last eruption, it seems like the most logical guess as to what would occur.

    I really hope to see this erupt, would be exciting!

    • Possibly. But it seems that the rhyolitic component only occurs at Askja. Outside the caldera, even if for a bit, all the eruptions seem to be basalt and mostly efusive.

      Askja surroundings seem to behave similar to Torfajokull or to Katla: potencially rhyolitic and explosive within the caldera, but only large basalt floods outside the caldera.

      • I am just thinking how can Askja and Herdubreid intrusion be working side by side. Both events seem to happen at same time, (much less earthquakes at Askja, but the area is also much hotter and recent eruptions there). Seems like the whole region has been getting active at same time.

        Tectonic or magmatic or tectonic-magmatic event, linked or not, it does happen at roughly same time. Askja caldera and the surrounding region by Herdubreid.

        • Well, I think the eruption would start out explosively then turn to effusive (similar to hekla?). But like anything in Iceland coming from me, It’s just pure speculation without knowing a ton about the area.

          I shouldn’t have said fissure eruption however. If it’s a fissure eruption, it’ll probably just be effusive since evolved magma doesn’t really exist in most fissures. If this comes from Herdubreid’s magma chamber proper, then I think it would be likely to see some explosiveness. If this just opens up as a fissure, I don’t think there will be a ton of explosiveness, although the size of such an eruption would be impossible for me to guess.

  23. Grumpy old man time. OT: May contain profanity.

    Got redirected from a call while on site to go deal with a call of a higher precedence… and 72 miles further along. Got finished with what I could do, the final stage required some info from the staff there, but they had already left. They will have to finish up with platform support tomorrow.

    Decided to pick up a new monitor on the way home, and gained an opportunity to show my ass. So, I did.

    A long time ago, a lady very dear to me told me some of the key things to remember when you are doing retail for a business. She was from the “customer is always right” generation. My mom sold shoes for 47 years as a clerk and did well at it, being cited several times by her employer for outstanding sales. The secret that she told me, had to do with grumpy customers. There are two types. Those that will raise a stink and be almost impossible to satisfy, and those who will just take note of deficiencies and do business somewhere else. That second type you almost never get a second opportunity to sale to. That was me today. In a way, this is my venting so that I don’t accumulate stress and take it out on the dog later, or make a snide remark to my wife, who has to deal with me everyday.

    Being in the IT industry, I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve done service work on just about anything you can think of… short of physically repairing a router. I’ve dangled 67 feet above the water repairing rotary couplers for flexible waveguides, even had a 300 lb display unit hanging from the overhead so that I could align and reattach a gear for the syncro-servo based frequency indicator. Of late, I do a lot of warranty work under contract. That entails anything from replacing laptop screens to re-imaging servers and bringing them up in their parent network.

    The other day, my monitor bit the dust. It’s an Acer 20″ and has been running solid for several years. Ideally, I wanted another Acer. Though inexpensive, I’ve always had good experience with Acer gear. I found a 23″ at the Wallyworld in Crestview FL (Walmart). I picked it up and took it to the clerk standing next to the register in the Entertainment department. They had a register there so people can get their stuff and go and not worry about the cattle chutes at the front of the store. The clerk was on the phone. I quietly waited. She hangs up the phone, doesn’t even give me a glance and then heads around an past me over to a shelf load of low cost gizmos and begins putting price stickers on them. I look over at her incredulously, shrug my shoulders and go place the item back on the shelf. I don’t have time for her games and if she is too busy to take my money, who am I to argue. I get back on the road and come back to Pensacola, stop at one of several Wallywords here and buy a new monitor. Instead of the 23″ Acer, I went with the 24″ Dell. I had wanted to avoid getting a Dell, mainly from not wanting to give forth an air of impropriety since some of my warranty work is on Dell gear, and I have some Dell sparing. Other than that, Dell equipment is not bad at all, no more stupid in their designs than HP. In fact, the only Dell monitors I have had to do were from unfortunate user experiences… such as poking the screen with a pen. As for the impropriety issue, I’ll just tape my receipt to the back of it and call it a day.

    So, now I sit here basking in the glory of my new display. Yay me!

    Note: The twit in Crestview did allow me time to remember to pick up a bag of dogfood. A purchase that was also steered to the other store because of her insolence. I was supposed to pick up both.

    Note2: Back when I got my Acer, it worked out to about $10 per inch of display. Even though the Dell was a bit more that I wanted, it came in at about $7.89 per inch. Just an oddball way of looking at it. {grin}

        • Well, the thing is… In all likelihood I can repair the Acer… if I ever get my shop cleaned out of the “stuff” that I have to have hanging around to run my calls. Thursday is looking good for getting rid a sizable chunk of it, mainly stuff that I no longer need for my calls. I’m already to the point that I can walk from one end of my shop to the other without falling over something…. plus, I found my octopus.

          I just have to keep quiet about the potential of getting my old Acer up and running. No need to make promises to the wife that I am not fully sure I can accomplish. However, I do have have an ace card up my sleeve. I also have an old Dell LCD that needs a power pack. It was given to me by a son-in-law to get it out of his shop. So, if the Acer project fails, I can still crap out a “new” monitor for her.

  24. Alright you culinary bystanders…

    Apparently, Neanderthals were doing a sort of Haggis thing…

    Did Neanderthals invent boiled in the bag cuisine? Ancient cousins cooked stews inside animal skins, study claims

    → University of Michigan Archaeologist thinks Neanderthals boiled food in bags made of skin or a bark trays – but other experts disagree

    → Animal bones found at Neanderthal sites are 90% free of gnawing marks, suggesting that fat had been heated and cooked off

    → Evidence of Stone Age man using heated stones to boil water dates back 26,000 years – after the Neanderthals died out

    → But they used a sophisticated technique to turn birch bark into glue

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2617836/Even-Neanderthals-boiled-bag-Ancient-cousins-cooked-stews-inside-animal-skins-study-claims.html#ixzz30ucpOA2O

  25. So it is usually like this in Iceland, that when one area fires up with quakes, the rest of the country goes quiet? 🙂

  26. I now sadly know how to make a pretty ordinary coffee machine explode.
    Surprising amount of energy in them if they go off. Took out the kitchen window in the office. And the kitchen is not looking like it used to.
    Wonder what the insurance company will say about it, not to mention what the police will have to say about it in a few minutes. Hm… definitely one of those days.

    • I guess you are probably not allowed to tell us how you did it, at least not until after you have spoken to the insurers and the police.

    • Just had a neighbor cook off a propane bottle. seems kid put one on the barbie.
      No one hurt as they were all indoors when it happened outside.
      Local Sheriff deputy was driving by when it happened. Guess it was a nice mushroom cloud and the shrapnel contained bits of beef…
      broke a few windows in his house too..

    • Hope you’re OK and not hurt.
      Doing the update for the plot right now. I’ll put the link in the dungeon

    • Nobody was injured, only my pride…
      My business partner laughed his arse off and said some things about working with a guy who can build a nuke out of a coffee machine.
      Window replaced, kitchen fixed and a new coffee machine is installed (that makes better coffee). All’s well that end’s well.
      Hint, do not put in the steel filter unit upside down. The valve in the unit will then not work and the pressure will just keep on building up. Question is really what moroon designs a coffee machine that will explode if a part that is user handled can go both ways and one way is decidedly wrong?

  27. Q. for the people that plot quakes: Is there by any chance a possibility that the quake data for Iceland is in the NetCDF form? I plot a lot of NetCDF’s (meteorology products), so I could try to plot something if I could get my hands on some actual dataset files for quakes.

    • I read that NetCDF is a gridded, array-oriented data format. The earthquakes are provided as xyz, not evenly spaced data. One could however convert them into something like a multilayer array for a 3D plot. Would blow up the file size a lot.

      • True, tho there are many different dataset formats than can be used to easy plot stuff like quakes. 🙂

        • Most places either delivers a txt file or an IRIS/Bud file. There is also a raw-data file that you can get sometimes, but that requires a specialized program to read it.

  28. Today there is no headache even though I blew up the office, so in a while there will be an update on things 🙂

    • My wife commented that you made a volcano out of a coffee machine. Quite appropriate for this place!

      • It was far from the first thing I blew up, and I am quite certain that it will not be the last thing…

          • I wonder how far out of his skin Carl jumped when it went off
            however it is quite appropriate for a volcanaholic to experiment with steam explosions (kitchen mar)

            • Carl is a special forces vet…
              I landed behind the couch scrambling for a non-existing gun. No joke.

            • Beats grabbing and trying to lock and load the dog…

              At least with the dog, he will just lick you. A cat would try to take your face off.

  29. Not volcano related in any way, but they are pretty awesome nevertheless! I went down the road to Glasgow today but took a route that I’ve not used in a long time…I’d read about the Kelpies so was looking out for them anyway, but they are so much more than I expected. Amazingly Huge Sculptures at around 30m tall, the stainless steel skin reflects the light and shadow in such a way if you look at them for long enough they almost appear to be alive. If you’re ever up in the central belt area of Scotland, then I highly recommend a wee visit.


    • Oh my gosh! Quite awesome-never knew they existed. Imagine traveling that road on a regular basis and getting to see them in morning light or as the sun set turns them to fire or dark and gloomy rising out of fog? Or snow? Not to mention the colors they display. Going to go find the story behind them. . .it has to be a good one. Thanks soooo much for sharing! Don’t ya know horses are magnets to little girls-guess you never loose that deep down. Fell off my first horse when I was two. Mother insisted daddy put me right back on or else she said I would be terrified of them. Mommies know best!

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