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Iceland Mag

Geology

Powerful earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano, 4.5 magnitude quake near Holuhraun lava field

By Staff

  • Holuhraun lava field Today's earthquake swarm extended from the main caldera of the Bárðarbunga system to the edge of Holuhraun, the site of the last eruption in Bárðarbunga. Photo/Ármann Höskuldsson-Institute of Earth Sciences.

A powerful earthquake swarm was detected in the Bárðarbunga volcanic system around noon today, Wednesday. The largest quake, a 4.5 magnitude quake, took place at 11:24 am. A second powerful 3.4 magnitude quake has also been detected. A dozen or so smaller quakes have also been detected in the swarm.

Read more:  Quick primer on Bárðarbunga, Iceland's most powerful volcano

The swarm does not have one epicenter, but seems to be along the entire volcanic system. The 3.4 magnitude quake was in the North Eastern rim of the main caldera, while the 4.5 magnitude quake took place to the north-east of the caldera, on the western edge of Holuhraun lava field. The last eruption in the Bárðarbunga system took place in Holuhraun in 2014-2015. 

According to the measurements of the Icelandic Meteorological Office the quakes have taken place at a significant depth. The main Bárðarbunga caldera has been showing increasing levels of activity for the past year or so, following the 2014-15 Holuhraun eruption at the northern edge of the Bárðarbunga system. The quakes are caused by the re-filling of the magma chambers of the system.

Read more: Why the constant earthquakes? Iceland is slowly being torn apart

Iceland has seen a high number of significant earthquakes over the past week. Last week a powerful earthquake swarm hit Reykjanes peninsula and Katla, which is named alongside Bárðarbunga as one of Iceland's most feared and powerful volcanoes.

Updated: The size of the quakes has been updated to reflect revised data from the IMO.

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