Magma at a Depth of 3-7 km in Vatnajökull


Magma at a Depth of 3-7 km in Vatnajökull

The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010

The Eyjafjalljökull eruption in 2010. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The seismic activity in the northwestern part of Vatnajökull glacier, Southeast Iceland, was mostly limited to a swarm between Bárðarbunga and Kverkfjöll last night and proved rather stable. Magma has been detected at a depth of 3-7 km (9,842-22,965 feet).

However, no earthquake of a bigger magnitude than 3 has hit the area in the past 24 hours. The seismic activity fluctuates somewhat, increases for a couple of hours and then subsides again, as geophysicist Bryndís Brandsdóttir at the University of Iceland’s Science Institute pointed out in an interview on RÚV’s Rás 2 Morgunútvarpið radio program earlier this morning.

“We compare data from [a meter which measures how much the land has risen], GPS measurements and earthquake monitors and the initial conclusions indicate that the development of the magma intrusion is the same [as earlier detected]. A similar volume of magma is on the move,” Bryndís stated.

Bryndís added that it is difficult to estimate whether the likelihood of an eruption has increased. “It appears to be at a similar depth. There haven’t been any confirmed numbers but it’s all down in the earth’s crust at a 3-7 km depth.”

Bryndís would like more sensors to be set up by Vatnajökull. There are no indications that the seismic activity is dying down.

A Code Orange was issued yesterday in light of an increased likelihood of an eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano after continuous earthquakes since Saturday.


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