Svartsengi continues to inflate, ongoing possibility of additional dikes forming or an eruption, Iceland

reykjanes grindavik svartsengi earthquakes from december 8 - 15 2023

Although the rate of inflation at Svartsengi has decreased somewhat since Friday, December 8, 2023, it’s still greater than it was prior to the formation of the dike that traveled under Grindavík on November 10.

While magma continues to accumulate around Svartsengi, further dikes or an eruption remain possible, the Icelandic Met Office warns.

If another dike forms it is considered to be likeliest that it would follow the same path as the November 10 dike. The most likely location for a potential eruption under these conditions is assessed to be north of Grindavík in the direction of Hagafell and the area around Sundhnúkagígar. 

Seismic activity continues at a similar level to the previous days. It is generally weak and mostly in the area around Hagafell.

“The ongoing activity at Svartsengi, which began in October, is not yet over and a new chapter may have begun with an increased chance of a new magma propagation and, subsequently, increased likelihood of an eruption,” IMO said on December 6, 2023.

“As previously mentioned, the dike beneath Grindavík was fed by magma accumulating beneath Svartsengi. It is likely that this sequence of events will repeat. When looking at the overall pattern with repeated magma accumulation, it can be estimated that the next magma propagation from Svartsengi might be on a smaller scale than the one previously formed on November 10. A magma propagation could persist for several hours or days with an increased risk due to seismic activity and deformation during that period.”

Following a magma propagation, the likelihood of an eruption increases. As mentioned above, it is most likely that magma will propagate from Svartsengi into the previously formed dike on November 10. Making it the most likely area for an eruption. 

It is not possible to estimate when the next magma propagation will occur. The uncertainty is considerable, and a magma propagation could happen in the next few days or possibly after several months.


1 Svartsengi continues to inflate – IMO – December 6 and 13, 2023


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