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Iceland Mag


Second Vatnajökull volcano trembles in 48h: 3.7 magnitude quake in monster Bárðarbunga

By Staff

  • Bárðarbunga One of the most powerful volcanic systems in Iceland, Bárðarbunga is hidden beneath the ice cap of Vatnajökull glacier. Photo/Magnús Tumi

A powerful 3.7 magnitude earthquake was detected in the monster volcano Bárðarbunga this morning. The quake was followed by a second 2.2 magnitude quake. No other afterquakes have been detected. This is the second time this week that the volcanoes of Vatnajökull remind us they are all still very much active.

Read more: Powerful earthquake in Öræfajökull glacier, Iceland's tallest peak

Vatnajökull quakes, 5.10.17

Vatnajökull quakes in past 48 hours The two green stars show the location of the Bárðarbunga quake (upper left) and Öræfajökull (bottom center). Photo/IMO

Bárðarbunga is one of the three major volcanoes hidden beneath Vatnajökull glacier. The other two are Grímsvötn, located underneath the western part of the volcano, to the south-west of Bárðarbunga and Öræfajökull in the south. Bárðarbunga and Grímsvötn are both very active, erupting quite regularly. Bárðarbunga has been especially active since 2014. Öræfajökull, which trembled on Tuesday, is far less active, as several hundred years pass between eruptions in Öræfajökull.

All three volcanoes are among the most powerful in the world. 

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

According to the seismic monitoring system of the Icelandic Meteorological Office the epicenter of the seismic activity in Bárðarbunga this morning was at a significant depth in the south-eastern part of the caldera. The more powerful quake hit at 9:46 at a depth of 4.1 km (2.5 mi) in the east-south-eastern part of the caldera, while the second quake, which was detected only four minutes later had its epicenter at a depth of 2.6 km (1.6 mi). 

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


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