New insights into volcanic activity from strain and other deformation data for the Hekla 2000 eruption

Erik Sturkell*, Kristján Ágústsson, Alan T. Linde, Selwyn I. Sacks, Páll Einarsson, Freysteinn Sigmundsson, Halldór Geirsson, Rikke Pedersen, Peter C. LaFemina, Halldór Ólafsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes; its eruptions, characterized by surface fissuring and repeated lava flows during its post-glacial activity, have built up an 800. m high elongated mountain. Since 1970 it has erupted every ~. 10. years; the previous repose interval averaged ~. 60. years. For the last eruption in 2000 we constrain the magma geometry by using a wide variety of deformation data: campaign GPS; an InSAR interferogram; dry tilt data, and borehole strain data. The dike that causes surface fissuring extends no more than ~. 0.5. km in depth, and the reservoir depth is ~. 10. km. These are connected by a conduit of small lateral extent. Data for previous eruptions are consistent with this model. We propose that the marked change in eruption interval is because this conduit remains liquid during the short interval between recent eruptions; only a small pressure increase is required to rupture the thin crustal seal. Such a state is consistent with precursory seismicity being confined to very shallow depths and may be applicable to other volcanoes that undergo abrupt changes in eruption interval.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by research grants from the Icelandic Center of Research (RANNÍS) .

Other keywords

  • Deformation
  • Dike
  • Eruption
  • Hekla
  • Magma chamber
  • Strainmeters


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