Photo from IMO’s webcam located in Askja caldera looking at the southern part of the caldera rim. Photo is taken 10. March 2024

Seismic swarm in the northwest past of the caldera in Askja yesterday

Deformation continues in the area


Yesterday (25 March) a seismic swarm occurred in the NW part of the Askja caldera. About 30 earthquakes were detected between 08.00UTC and midday. The largest earthquake detected had a magnitude M3,5 at a depth of about 5 km. Three earthquakes with magnitudes between M2 and M2,5 were also detected, the rest of the activity was characterized by smaller events. Overall, the seismic activity in the Askja has been quite stable between months and unchanged until yesterday. Looking back, we can see that earthquakes with magnitude above M3 were detected in January 2022 and October 2021.


The map shows the location of the earthquake swarm yesterday on the NW-ern rim of Askja caldera. Blue boxes mark the locations of GNSS monitoring instruments.

Deformation at Askja continued with a stable rate for two years since the end of summer 2021. In the last autumn, the GNSS data indicated though a change in velocity as reported in a dedicated news piece.

However, the most recent ground deformation measurements based on GNSS data suggest that the rate has increased again, even though it remains at lower rates as observed prior the autumn in 2023. Additional data, which will be collected in the next days, will help in clarifying and confirming the trend of the deformation process in the area. 


These graphs show data from GNSS station Tanni on the northern rim of Askja caldera. The top graph shows North movement, middle graph shows East movement, and the bottom graph shows vertical movement.

A satellite image acquired on 19 March shows a typical winter view of Askja lake, where most of the lake is covered by ice except for those two well-known areas characterized by persistent geothermal activity. In February last year, Askja lake was ice-free and considered unusual for that time of year.


Satellite image from 19 March 2024 showing winter conditions at Askja. Ice free area on the western part of the lake are close to a well known geothermal area

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