Uh-oh! Icelandic Volcano Just Rumbled at Vatnajokull



Indications of magma movement is evident underneath Europe’s largest ice cap glacier, Vatnajokull, located in southeast Iceland. Seven volcanoes lie underneath Iceland’s largest glacier, and most of them are active. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge plate boundary passes right underneath the west side of the glacier separating the North American plate and Eurasian plate, where recent very active earthquake activity has taken place near the Bardarbunga volcano and is apparently ongoing at this moment, albeit slightly subdued from yesterday’s cluster.

More than 30 earthquakes have quickly occurred during Sunday, 27-Sep-2010, many within minutes of each other and most of them at depths ranging from 5 km to 10 km. Magnitudes of most all the earthquakes have ranged from 1.5 to 3.7. Tremor measurements from nearby stations clearly recorded the activity and is viewable at the Icelandic Met office website.


The very active region is located very near the western edge of Vatnajokull glacier, about 15 km southwest from the Bardarbunga volcano and 25 km northwest from the Grimsvotn volcano. Interestingly, this particular earthquake pattern has formed into a broad line. This could be indicative of a magma channel undergoing bulging stress.


Iceland remains the world’s hot spot for volcanic activity. With the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajokull during April-2010 having caused great disruption in European air travel and European economies, all eyes remain on the Island to the north as we watch for signs of a dangerous Katla eruption (which has always historically followed Eyjafjallajokull soon thereafter), and now this new suspicious activity beneath the mammoth Vatnajokull glacier.

The Earth is restless.

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  1. Tom Dennen October 24, 2010 6:34 AM
    • Ken J. October 24, 2010 5:00 PM
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