A Re-Appraisal of the 1996 Gjalp Eruption in Iceland Using Modern Seismological Techniques

Project Details


During late September 1996, a major eruption took place at the NW part of the Vatnajokull glacier incentral Iceland. The eruption was preceded by intense seismic activity, which began with a Mw~5.6earthquake two days previously. Two very active volcanic systems, Bardarbunga and Grimsvotn, aresituated in that area underneath the permanent ice cap. The volcano-seismic phenomena associatedwith the eruption were recorded by HOTSPOT, a temporary seismic network consisting of 30broadband, three-component stations covering the whole of Iceland. While previous seismologicalstudies focused only on the gross characteristics of the earthquake sequence, this proposal aims atusing modern seismological techniques in order to reveal details of the location and source propertiesof these earthquakes. This will be achieved by deriving a minimum 1-D velocity model and therelocation of all events using a nonlinear probabilistic location algorithm. The waveforms of thelargest earthquakes will be inverted for deriving the corresponding full and deviatoric moment tensor,while statistical tests will be performed in order to check whether source volume changes are indeedsignificant. It is also planned to obtain Green's functions from noise cross-correlations in order toinvestigate any temporal variations in the properties of the medium prior to the eruption. Theresearch described in this proposal will be conducted in collaboration with a graduate student as partof her Master's degree thesis requirement.
Effective start/end date1/08/1731/07/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Iceland
  • Gjalp eruption
  • volcano-seismic
  • moment tensor
  • Bardarbunga
  • Grimsvotn


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