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Herðubreið is a bit of an oddity for Iceland since it is not situated on a known fissure swarm and seems to not have a fissure swarm of its own.
And no volcano on earth is a better example of this process than Herðubreið.
Seismic unrest at Herðubreið Before I write about what has happened in the last few days and about what is going to happen in the near geological future we need a geological background.
The Herðubreið volcano formed during the last glacial-period when Iceland was covered by a 2km thick layer of ice.
Second rule is to wait for the manual check of the earthquakes.
The automatic system is giving unreliable depth locations.
At the moment the swarm seems to be dropping in intensity, so it is unlikely that something will happen right now.
I have seen a couple of comments around the internet that this earthquake swarm is not caused by magma, all of them based on the IMO specialist remark about the swarm stating that there is no fluid signature detected.
And the third reason is that the system must have stayed reasonably active, otherwise the volcanic system would have solidified beyond the ability to form new magma tubes towards the volcanic edifice.
During the last 3 years we have seen earthquake stack after earthquake stack form as the magma has tried to find pathways towards the surface, and every time the magma has come a little bit further up.
This lead to lead to layers of pillow lava forming, pretty much as they would during a sub-aquatic eruption, but with a small twist.
Due to the ice-walls of the cauldron the sides of the volcano became very steep, almost at a 90 degree angle and the top became flat.
What happened as the magma entered the old system of Herðubreið was so fantastic that it made me do splits while playing lip-banjo out of joy. The first one is that something almost magical happened, as the magma entered the old system it started to form earthquake stacks towards the surface indicating reformation of the old volcanic system.