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Reykjanes

Photo of this volcano
  • Iceland
  • Iceland and Arctic Ocean
  • Crater rows
  • 1831 CE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 63.85°N
  • 22.566°W

  • 140 m
    459 ft

  • 371020
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number
Most Recent Weekly Report: 21 October-27 October 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

IMO reported that a M 5.6 earthquake was recorded at 1343 on 20 October beneath Nupshlidarhals, a hill about 5 km W of the geothermal area in Seltun. This was the largest earthquake since 2003 recorded in the Reykjanes peninsula. There were about 1,700 aftershocks recorded in the following 24-hour period. IMO received reports of rockfalls in steep areas and increased gas odors in the vicinity of Graenavatn at Nupshlidarhals. Four landslides were noted near the epicenter; some existing ground cracks were displaced and new cracks had formed in Krysuvikurbjarg. On 26 October IMO stated that seismic activity had significantly decreased in recent days; about 180 earthquakes below M 2.2 had been detected during the previous two days.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)

Weekly Reports - Index


2020: January | February | March | April | June | October


21 October-27 October 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

IMO reported that a M 5.6 earthquake was recorded at 1343 on 20 October beneath Nupshlidarhals, a hill about 5 km W of the geothermal area in Seltun. This was the largest earthquake since 2003 recorded in the Reykjanes peninsula. There were about 1,700 aftershocks recorded in the following 24-hour period. IMO received reports of rockfalls in steep areas and increased gas odors in the vicinity of Graenavatn at Nupshlidarhals. Four landslides were noted near the epicenter; some existing ground cracks were displaced and new cracks had formed in Krysuvikurbjarg. On 26 October IMO stated that seismic activity had significantly decreased in recent days; about 180 earthquakes below M 2.2 had been detected during the previous two days.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


10 June-16 June 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

IMO reported that a third injection of magma since the beginning of the year was occurring beneath the Reykjanes peninsula. Data suggested that the current inflationary period began in mid-May, though earthquake activity did not increase until around 30 May. During 30 May-15 June the seismic network recorded more than 2,000 events, with the largest, an M 3.4, recorded on 13 June. The intrusion was located about 1 km W of Thorbjorn at a depth of 3-4 km, and had an estimated volume of about 1.2 million cubic meters. This third intrusion was similar to the previous two intrusions, characterized as a sill that was a few hundred meters wide and about 6 km long. In total about 12 cm of uplift has been recorded since January. The Svartsengi geothermal plant noted no chemical changes in the geothermal system, though measurements showed increased fluid flow in the rocks within the system, along with the opening of old cracks and the formation of new ones.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


29 April-5 May 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

IMO reported that uplift detected in the Thorbjorn area decreased in the beginning of April and stopped later in the month. Seismicity, which had occurred across three main volcanic systems: Eldey, Reykjanes-Svartsengi, and Krýsuvík, had significantly decreased. These data indicated that the injection of magma beneath Thorbjorn had stopped, though there were indications of deformation over a larger area. On 4 May the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


25 March-31 March 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

There were more than 6,000 earthquakes recorded beneath the Reykjanes peninsula as of 26 March, making this period of unrest the largest seismic crisis ever recorded in this part of the country since digital monitoring started in 1991, according to IMO. The seismicity occurred across three main volcanic systems: Eldey, Reykjanes-Svartsengi, and Krýsuvík. Uplift continued to be detected in the Thorbjorn area totaling about 70-80 mm; the deformation rate was lower than in January and February. Deformation modeling suggested that recent inflation was caused by a second magmatic intrusion at a depth of 3-4 km in an area W of Thorbjorn, close to the intrusion that occurred at the beginning of the year. GPS data suggested a small deformation pattern detectable over a regional area, far beyond the Thorbjorn area.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


11 March-17 March 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

On 18 March IMO raised the Aviation Color Code for Reykjanes to Yellow noting that recent InSAR and GPS data indicated that during the second week of March deformation had restarted. The uplift was concentrated in the same place as that recorded in January-February, though at a slower rate. The cause of the deformation was likely an intrusion of magma at 4.5 km depth.

A large (M 4.6) earthquake was recorded on 12 March and located 3.5 km NE of Thorbjorn, possibly connected to the inflation. A sequence of aftershocks lasted for a few days and was characterized by eight earthquakes over M 3 and about 80 events with magnitudes between 2 and 3. Since the large event a total of 850 earthquakes were recorded in the area.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


19 February-25 February 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

On 25 February IMO reported that seismic activity at Reykjanes, in an area N of the town of Grindavík, had significantly decreased during the previous few days, and inflation was not detected in GPS and InSAR data. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green. Preliminary data suggested a small deflation signal beginning mid-February, though further analysis was needed for confirmation. The report warned the public not to explore lava tubes in the Eldvörp area as gas measurements showed a dangerous level of oxygen depletion; there are no pre-unrest measurements existing for comparison.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


12 February-18 February 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

On 15 February IMO reported that seismicity at Reykjanes, in an area N of the town of Grindavík, remained above background levels even though activity had been decreasing since the end of January. Two earthquakes larger than M 3 were detected; one of them, an M 3.1, was recorded at 0826 on 14 February. The rate of deformation had slightly increased. The Aviation Code remained at Yellow.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


5 February-11 February 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

On 7 February IMO reported that data collected during the previous week indicated that a magma body was located 3-5 km beneath Reykjanes. Earthquake activity had decreased during the previous two days, though inflation was ongoing, reaching 5 cm. The Aviation Code remained at Yellow.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


22 January-28 January 2020 Citation IconCite this Report

IMO reported possible magma accumulation beneath Reykjanes, centered along the plate boundary below the Svartsengi fissure system, just W of Thorbjorn. Deformation began on 21 January and was unusually rapid, with the rate of inflation occurring at 3-4 mm per day (3 cm total by 29 January), as detected by InSAR and continuous GPS data. Magma accumulation, if that was causing the inflation, was small with an estimate volume of 1 million cubic meters, at 3-5 km depth. Deformation on the Reykjanes peninsula had been measured for three decades with no previously comparable signals.

An earthquake swarm accompanied the deformation, just E of the center of the inflation. The largest earthquakes were M 3.6 and 3.7, recorded on 22 January, and felt widely on the Reykjanes peninsula and all the way to Borgarnes region. Earthquake swarms are relatively common, though coupled with deformation caused IMO to raise the Aviation Code to Yellow on 26 January. The swarm was declining by 26 January. On 29 January IMO stated that data showed continuing uplift and the earthquake swarm was ongoing.

Source: Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO)


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

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 22 Holocene eruptive periods.

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1970 Jul 2 (?) ± 182 days ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Reykjaneshryggur (Eldeyjarbodi)
[ 1966 Jul 2 ± 182 days ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Reykjaneshryggur (Eldeyjarbodi)
1830 Mar 13 (?) 1831 Mar (?) Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur (Eldeyjarbodi)
1783 May 1 (in or before) 1783 Aug 15 ± 60 days Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur (Nyey)
[ 1661 Dec ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
1583 Jul 15 ± 45 days Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur (near Eldeyjar Islands)
1240 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur, Arnarsetur, Illahraun
1238 Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur
1231 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur, R-10 tephra
1226 Jul 15 ± 45 days 1227 (?) Confirmed 4 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur, R-9 tephra
1223 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur, R-8 tephra
1211 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Stampar, Karlsgigur
1210 Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Vatnsfellsgigur
1179 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Reykjaneshryggur, R-5 and R-6 tephras
0920 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Reykjaneshryggur (near Eldey), R-4 tephra
0200 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 0 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Lambagjá
0400 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Sundhnukar
1800 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Tephrochronology Reykjaneshryggur, Stampar, R-2, R-3 tephras
3800 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Reykjaneshryggur, R-1 tephra
4000 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 0 Tephrochronology Sandfellshaed
5040 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Hopsnes
8000 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 0 Tephrochronology Thrainskjöldur
Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Reykjanes.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Reykjanes.

Photo Gallery

The Reykjanes volcanic system at the SW tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level, comprises a broad area of postglacial crater rows and small shield volcanoes. Snow-covered Sandfellshæd shield volcano (lower center), capped by a small crater, rises only 74 m above the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Most of the volcanic system is covered by Holocene lava flows. Eruptions have occurred in historical time during the 13th century at several locations on the NE-SW-trending fissure system.

Photo by Helgi Torfason (courtesy of Richie Williams, U S Geological Survey, published in Gudmundsson, 1986).
See title for photo information.
The two westernmost of five NE-SW-trending volcanic systems on the Reykjanes Peninsula cut diagonally across this aerial photo. The Reykjanes volcanic system, which lies near the SW tip of the peninsula, where the Mid Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level, has produced Holocene lava fields that extend to the western and southern coasts. The Krísuvík volcanic system, on the right side of the photo, has produced several eruptions since the settlement of Iceland. The latest of these took place during the 14th century.

Photo courtesy of Richie Williams (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
The snow-mantled Reykjanes volcanic system forms the SW tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level. The Reykjanes volcanic system is the westernmost of a series of four closely spaced, NE-SW-trending en echelon fissure systems that extend diagonally across the Reykjanes Peninsula. Most of the Reykjanes volcanic system is covered by Holocene lavas, and eruptions have occurred in historical time during the 13th century at several locations.

Photo by Oddur Sigurdsson, 1998 (Icelandic National Energy Authority).
See title for photo information.
The submarine Reykjaneshryggur volcanic system, lying off the SW tip of Iceland at the top of the photo, is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which extends onto the Reykjanes Peninsula in the foreground. Numerous submarine eruptions at Reykjaneshryggur dating back to the 12th century have been observed during historical time, some of which have formed ephemeral islands. Tephra deposits from earlier Holocene eruptions are preserved on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the foreground.

Photo by Oddur Sigurdsson, 1998 (Icelandic National Energy Authority).
See title for photo information.
GVP Map Holdings

The maps shown below have been scanned from the GVP map archives and include the volcano on this page. Clicking on the small images will load the full 300 dpi map. Very small-scale maps (such as world maps) are not included. The maps database originated over 30 years ago, but was only recently updated and connected to our main database. We welcome users to tell us if they see incorrect information or other problems with the maps; please use the Contact GVP link at the bottom of the page to send us email.


Title: Geomorphology of Iceland
Publisher: University of Goteborg, Dept Phys Geog
Country: Iceland
Year: 1984
Map Type: Geology (Geomorphology)
Scale: 1:1,750
Map of Geomorphology of Iceland

Title: Geographical Names of Iceland
Publisher: University of Goteborg, Dept Phys Geog
Country: Iceland
Year: 1984
Map Type: Unknown
Scale: 1:1,750
Map of Geographical Names of Iceland
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 17 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 115614 Tholeiite ARNARSETUR --
NMNH 115616 Tholeiite -- --
NMNH 115618 Tholeiite TJALDSTADAGJA --
NMNH 115619 Tholeiite SYRFELLSHRAUN --
NMNH 115621 Tholeiite STAMPAR --
NMNH 115622 Olivine Tholeiite LANGHOLL --
NMNH 115625 Picrite Basalt -- --
NMNH 115626 Picrite Basalt -- --
NMNH 115627 Olivine Tholeiite THRAINSSKJOLDUR --
NMNH 115628 Olivine Tholeiite THRAINSSKJOLDUR --
NMNH 115629 Olivine Tholeiite LANGHOLL --
NMNH 115630 Olivine Tholeiite LANGHOLL --
NMNH 115631 Olivine Tholeiite THRAINSSKJOLDUR --
NMNH 115632 Olivine Tholeiite THRAINSSKJOLDUR --
NMNH 115633 Tholeiite -- --
NMNH 115634 Picrite Basalt VATNSHEIDI --
NMNH 115636 Picrite Basalt HROLFSVIKURHRAUN --
External Sites