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Development of the Hekla volcano real-time seismic monitoring network, HERSK

Development of the Hekla volcano real-time seismic monitoring network, HERSK


​This research has been carried under the Geological Survey Ireland 2017 Short Call. This call provided funding for researchers in academia or industry on the island of Ireland for projects of less than 12 months duration and less than €25,000. 

Please note that the final report has been redacted to remove staff, financial and sensitive information. Some file sizes have been reduced to allow easier uploading/downloading, higher quality files are available on request. Supplemental information is also available on request in most cases. Please contact research[AT]

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and not of Geological Survey Ireland or the Department of Climate Action, Communications and Environment.

Lead Applicant: Dr Martin Moellhoff

Host:  Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Project Title:  Development of the Hekla volcano real-time seismic monitoring network, HERSK

Project Description: In this project we will develop HERSK, the HEkla Real-time Seismic monitoring networK. Hekla is one of the most active and dangerous volcanos in Iceland and currently erupts about every 10 years. The next Hekla eruption is considered overdue and could be hazardous to air travel. During the last major eruption in 1947 the volcanic plume reached a height of about 30km. Hekla is seismically surprisingly quiet, resulting so far in a dangerously short pre-eruption warning time of only around one hour. Although the volcano is currently monitored with several seismometer and GPS installations, the nearest seismic station is about 4km from the summit – too far away to detect microseismicity. We propose a new method of installing seismometers with real-time data transmission directly on top of the volcano, a logistical challenge not yet achieved due to harsh near-summit winter conditions. This will lower the detection threshold of seismic events significantly. The result will be a better scientific understanding of the processes driving the evolution of pre-eruptive seismicity at Hekla and a substantial improvement in early warning capability. All data will stream in near real-time to the seismic data centres in both the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and DIAS.