Small phreatic eruption at subglacial Kverkfjöll volcano, Iceland

Small phreatic eruption at subglacial Kverkfjöll volcano, Iceland

A small phreatic eruption seems to have taken place on August 16, 2013 at the subglacial Kverkfjöll volcano, Iceland. The steam-driven explosion followed a small glacial flood on August 15.

Aerial photo of the NE rim of the Kverkjökull glacier with deposits of the flood and ash from the phreatic explosion.

On October 20, 2013 a small earthquake swarm occurred at the volcano with about 20 quakes. The largest was a magnitude 2.6 event at 1.1 km depth.

This swarm is similar to several ones in the past years and could indicate a small magma intrusion under the volcano (VD).

GVP has no records in their weekly volcano overview database. Last known eruption of this volcano occurred in 1968.

Kverkfjöll is a large subglacial volcano at the NE end of the Vatnajökull icecap. Two elliptical ice-filled calderas, 8 x 5 km in diameter, have been identified. An associated fissure swarm can be traced 60 km to the NE. A half dozen ridges of subglacially erupted pillow lavas are now exposed and extend beyond the glacial icecap to the NE.

Subglacial historical eruptions have been recorded since the mid-17th century. Several other historical eruptions once attributed to Kverkfjöll are now thought to have originated from Bárdarbunga volcano to the west (GVP).

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