Sep 01 2007

Kárahnjúkar Reservoir Causes Major Movements of Volcanic Magma

Updated 1 October 2007

Icelandic geologists have now confirmed that the earthquakes at Upptyppingar were caused by the inundation of Halslon at Karahnjukar. Now that the inundation of the Karahnjukar area is completed the earthquakes have subsided, but only for the time being. The water levels of Halslon will be constantly fluctuating while the reservoir is operational.

This proves that the warnings of geologists like Grimur Bjornsson and Gudmundur Sigvaldason were very valid. The Kárahnjúkar dams are situated on a cluster of active geological fissures. The government withheld geological reports from parliament when voting on the dams took place.
The suppression of these reports, the official gagging order placed on Grimur Bjornsson and the general defamation that the concerned scientists experienced from government ministers, power companies and other State institutions was criminal. Those responsible should be made to answer for this.

Most serious of all is that the dams at Karahnjukar remain in place and continue to pose a threat to the local population.

An additional threat to the dams at Kárahnjúkar is how the rapid melting of glaciers has been shown to trigger earthquakes. The Hálslón reservoir laps on to the edge of Vatnajökull glacier. Friðrik Sóphusson, director of Landsvirkjun, joked in 2003 about how the icebergs that will break off Vatnajökull and float into Hálslón would be like “icecubes in the cocktail”. A cocktail of impending disaster.

What a great sense of humor some technocrats have.

Also see:

UPDATE 11 August

Geologists have discovered that the earthquakes do not originate from the Askja volcanic center, as assumed before. This makes these quakes more special and is very interesting in terms of the Karahnjukar context. Upptyppingar are only 20 km. from the Halslon reservoir and are a part of the Kverkfjoll volcanic system.

Is the weight of the water of the almost fully inundated Halslon reservoir at Karahnjukar already having the effects that geologist feared?

Iceland Review

A series of small earthquakes around Upptyppingar north of Vatnajökull since this February has prompted speculations from geologists that a volcanic eruption could be imminent in the area.

According to national radio RÚV, a particularly intense sequences of quakes occurred during the nights of July 31 and August 1. Around 130 small quakes were reported during that period.

Geologists believe the quakes are related to movements of magma underneath the surface and if they continue with increasing power a volcanic eruption might take place.