Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Geology

Yesterday's earthquake in Bárðarbunga was largest since end of 2014-15 eruption

By Staff

  • Holuhraun lava field The 2014-15 eruption produced the largest lava field in Iceland since the 1783 Skaftáreldar eruption. Photo/Ármann Höskuldsson - Institute of Earth Sciences.

Yesterday's 4.5 magnitude earthquake in the Bárðarbunga system was the largest quake since the end of the 2014-15 Holuhraun eruption, the last eruption in Bárðarbunga. Scientists keep a close eye on Bárðarbunga, as the system has historically erupted in drawn out episodes lasting several years, with alternating eruptions and periods of intense seismic activity.

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

The last eruption in the Bárðarbunga system, which is one of Europe's largest volcanic systems, took place in 2014-15. The Holuhraun eruption took place in the northern part of the system, north of the main caldera of Bárðarbunga, which is located beneath the NW edge of Vatnajökull glacier. The intense seismic activity which has characterized the system since the end of the Holuhraun eruption is caused by the re-filling of the magma chambers of the volcano.

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

Yesterday's quake, a 4.5 magnitude quake to the north-west of the caldera, close to the edge of the Holuhraun lava field, preceded by a 3.8 magnitude quake in the NE edge of the caldera, was the largest quake detected in the system since the end of the Holuhraun eruption. A seismologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that there were no signs of immediate volcanic activity in the region.

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