Around 1 AM this morning, a magnitude 3.8 earthquake was recorded by Bárðarbunga, a volcanic system underneath Vatnajökull.
A relatively inactive system, Bárðarbunga last erupted in 2014 in the Holuhraun eruption, which caused relatively little disruption except for decreased air quality in the surrounding area.
The same fissure system has also seen significant seismic activity to its southwest, in the highland area between Vatnajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Significant quakes (magnitude 3.0) were also detected by Góðabunga last night, a volcanic system under Mýrdalsjökull, a glacier on the South Coast of Iceland. These quakes occurred approximately 20 minutes after the activity under Bárðarbunga.
Earthquakes by Mýrdalsjökull Likely Caused by Warm Weather
Reports from the Meteorological Office indicate that the recent quakes on the South Coast have not affected settlements in any way.
Several other significant quakes were detected by Mýrdalsjökull on Saturday night, November 26. Nine earthquakes were recorded around 4 AM, with the largest recorded on Sunday at 3.4.
Lovísa Mjöll Guðmundsdóttir, natural scientist at the Meteorological Office, stated to RÚV that the recent activity can be attributed to warmer-than-average weather. Glacial melt and flooding atop Iceland’s many volcanic systems have been known to trigger both seismic and volcanic activity, as often happens in the Grímsvötn system.
The most recent quakes underneath Mýrdalsjökull are attributed to activity in the Katla system.
“There are changes in tension when there are warming periods, and it has been unusually warm for this time of year,” stated Lovísa. “It often comes in pulses like this, but it is often a long time between these periods.”
See the Meteorological Office of Iceland for more information.