Torfajökull

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 63.892°N
  • 19.122°W

  • 1280 m
    4198 ft

  • 372050
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Torfajökull.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Torfajökull.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Torfajökull.

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Eruptive History


There is data available for 10 Holocene eruptive periods.


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1477 Mar Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations N of caldera (Namshraun, Laugahraun)
1170 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology W side of caldera (Hrafntinnuhraun)
0870 (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Tephrochronology W side of caldera (Hrafntinnuhraun)
0150 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Tephrochronology N of caldera (Domadalshraun)
1150 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology N of caldera (Domadalshraun)
1550 BCE ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology W side of caldera (Markafljot domes)
4550 BCE ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology N of caldera (Haolduhraun)
4850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology W of caldera (Laufafell domes)
5050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Hrafntinnusker and Domadalshraun
6050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology W side of caldera (Slettahraun)

Deformation History


There is data available for 3 deformation periods. Expand each entry for additional details.


Deformation during 2003 - 2007 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 2003 Stop Date: 2007 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

InSAR images of Torfajokull caldera generated from SAR images acquired over the caldera from (a) 1993 to 2000 and (b) 2003 to 2007. In both cases the satellites were flying in a descending orbit, and the line-of-sight vector is to the ESE, ?21? from the vertical for (a) and ?23? for (b). Line-of-sight lengthening is seen in the western part of the volcano, and assuming that this motion is predominantly vertical gives subsidence rates of up to ?8 and ?13 mm yr?1, respectively. Black outlined star is the location of the centre of subsidence. Note difference in scale between (a) and (b).

From: Scheiber-Enslin et al. 2011.


Reference List: Scheiber-Enslin et al. 2011.

Full References:

Scheiber-Enslin, S. E., LaFemina, P. C., Sturkell, E., Hooper, A. J., & Webb, S. J., 2011. Geodetic investigation of plate spreading along a propagating ridge: the Eastern Volcanic Zone, Iceland. Geophysical Journal International, 187(3), 1175-1194.

Deformation during 1993 - 2000 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 1993 Stop Date: 2000 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

InSAR images of Torfajokull caldera generated from SAR images acquired over the caldera from (a) 1993 to 2000 and (b) 2003 to 2007. In both cases the satellites were flying in a descending orbit, and the line-of-sight vector is to the ESE, ?21? from the vertical for (a) and ?23? for (b). Line-of-sight lengthening is seen in the western part of the volcano, and assuming that this motion is predominantly vertical gives subsidence rates of up to ?8 and ?13 mm yr?1, respectively. Black outlined star is the location of the centre of subsidence. Note difference in scale between (a) and (b).

From: Scheiber-Enslin et al. 2011.


Reference List: Scheiber-Enslin et al. 2011.

Full References:

Scheiber-Enslin, S. E., LaFemina, P. C., Sturkell, E., Hooper, A. J., & Webb, S. J., 2011. Geodetic investigation of plate spreading along a propagating ridge: the Eastern Volcanic Zone, Iceland. Geophysical Journal International, 187(3), 1175-1194.

Deformation during 1991 - 2002 [Subsidence; Observed by Tilt]

Start Date: 1991 Stop Date: 2002 Direction: Subsidence Method: Tilt
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Sturkell et al. 2006.

Full References:

Sturkell, E., F. Sigmundsson, and R. Slunga,, 2006. 1983-2003 decaying rate of deflation at Askja caldera: Pressure decrease in an extensive magma plumbing system at a spreading plate boundary. Bull. Volc., 68, 727-735.

Emission History


There is no Emissions History data available for Torfajökull.

Photo Gallery


The viscous Laugahraun lava flow was emplaced in 1477 just inside the northern rim of Torfajökull caldera. Minor amounts of silicic tephra and lava were erupted from Torfajökull at the southern end of the Veidivotn fissure, which produced a major basaltic explosive eruption in March 1477. Three silicic lava flows--north and south Namshraun and Laugahraun--were emplaced near the northern margin of the Torfajökull caldera.

Photo by Richie Williams, 1981 (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
The silicic Hrafntinnuhraun lava flow and tephra were erupted about 870 CE at the SW end of a fissure system that also produced basaltic eruptions from the Vatnaoldur fissure of Bardarbunga volcano at this same time. The Hrafntinnuhraun crater row was the source of the roughly 870 CE "Settlement Layer" tephra that forms a prominent time marker throughout SW Iceland.

Photo by Richie Williams, 1981 (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
The Torfajökull central volcano is cut by a 12-km-wide caldera that formed during the Pleistocene. Torfajökull is of one of the largest areas of silicic and intermediate volcanism in Iceland. The Laugahraun (lower left) and Domadalshraun (right center) lava flows, seen here from the SE, are located just within and north of, respectively, the northern caldera rim. During postglacial times only a narrow fissure zone at the western end of Torfajökull has been active, producing mostly silicic lava flows, lava domes, and tephras.

Photo by Oddur Sigurdsson, 1977 (Icelandic National Energy Authority).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


The following 5 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections, and may be availble for research (contact the Rock and Ore Collections Manager). Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description Lava Source Collection Date
NMNH 117551-114 Unidentified -- --
NMNH 117551-115 Unidentified -- --
NMNH 117551-54 Unidentified Domadalshraun Lava Field --
NMNH 117551-55 Obsidian Hrafntinnuhraun --
NMNH 117551-56 Obsidian Laugahraun lava flow --

Affiliated Sites