Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Geology

Sub-glacial giant Bárðarbunga trembles: 4.1 magnitude quake shakes volcano

By Staff

  • Bárðarbunga caldera Bárðarbunga is one of the most powerful volcanoes in Iceland, hidden beneath the north-west part of Vatnajökull glacier. Photo/IMO

A powerful 4.1 magnitude earthquake shook Iceland's largest volcano early afternoon. At 14:18 (2:18 pm) the Seismic Monitoring System of the the Icelandic Meteorological Office detected the sharp quake 6.5 km (4 mi) east-southeast of the center of the caldera. Half a dozen smaller quakes have been detected in the giant sub-glacial volcano in the past 48 hours, according to IMO. The epicenter of the activity has been at a depth of only 1.1 km (0.7 mi).  

Bárðarbunga seismic activity 24.10.17
Quakes in Vatnajökull in past 48 hours The quakes in Bárðarbunga are marked with a green star. Photo/IMO

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

Any quake in an active volcano which is larger than three on the Richter scale is considered a powerful quake. Quakes larger than 4 are relatively rare, and are associated with significant geological activity in the volcano. 

Bárðarbunga, which is one of the most powerful volcanic systems in Iceland, is hidden beneath the north-western part of the ice cap of Vatnajökull glacier. Bárðarbunga has been showing significant signs of seismic activity since the end of the 2014-15 Holuhraun eruption. The activity is believed to be caused by the magma chambers of the giant sub-glacial volcano re-filling.

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

A number of powerful quakes have been detected in the caldera since the end of the Holuhraun eruption, but there are no signs of imminent volcanic activity.

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