• Warning

    Fissure eruption in Holuhraun (north of Vatnajökull).
  • Warning

    Today and tomorrow gas polltuion is expected to the north of the eruption site. More
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Articles

Bárðarbunga - updated information

Seismic events from 16 August 2014 and volcanic activity

Updated information on the Bárðarbunga seismic events and volcanic activity is given here with daily notes, fact sheets and/or status reports. New material is added to the top of the article. The original information is at the end of the article. Bottom to top, this article gives an overview of events.

Calender

Below is a calender with a short-cut to each day within this long text:

August: 16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31 - on the Bárðarbunga central volcano

Sept.:1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-

Panoramic view towards the eruptive site in Holuhraun 3rd September 2014. Photo: Richard Yeo.

Updated information

30 September 2014 11:10 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Directorate of Health.

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board: (pdf 0.4 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

30 September 2014 07:00 - from geoscientist on duty

The largest earthquake since midnight was M4.0 at 03:06, located at the northern caldera rim of Bárðarbunga. Other earthquakes at the northern caldera rim were smaller than 3, of them the largest M2.4 at 00:26. Since midnight 7 earthquakes have occurred in Bárðarbunga and 12 in the northern part of the dyke. Some earthquakes have occurred at Herðubreið and Askja. 
Webcam at Vaðalda shows that the volcanic activity in Holuhraun continues with similar intensity as in previous days.

29 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

There are no significant changes in earthquake activity other than the fact that fewer earthquakes have been detected today than in recent days but probably that stems from the high winds that have prevailed (with the consequence that smaller earthquakes go undetected). Since midnight, 30 earthquakes have been located in Bárðarbunga and 15 in the intrusive dike.

The largest earthquake since midnight was M 5.5, located at the southeastern caldera rim. This earthquake is among the largest measured at this central volcano since the onset of these events, 16 August. Up til now, four other quakes have been about 5.5 and one more definately larger, M5.6. All in all, 39 earthquakes have been M 5.0 or more during these events. However, data on the largest earthquakes is still being processed and therefore these numbers might change slightly.

Cloudy with a clue
""
This LANDSAT 8 satellite image from NASA at noon today, 29.09.2014, shows the craters and the lava stream in the center of the lava field, but since 26 September an almost 4 km long trail, about 2 square kilometers, has found its way parallel to other flows. Therefore, the combined surface area of the lava field is no less than 46 km2.

29 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Directorate of Health.

From the Scientific Advisory Board:

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

29 September 2014 06:58 - from geoscientist on duty

The largest earthquake in Bárðarbunga since midnight was M4.9 and occurred at 03:52 at the northern rim of the caldera. Two other were larger than M3.0; M4.2 at 20:55 and M4.0 at 06:24, both at the northeastern rim of the caldera. In total 22 earthquakes have occurred in Bárðarbunga since midnight, 14 of them at the northern rim of the caldera and 8 in the southern part. Twelve earthquakes have occurred in the dyke, the largest one ca M2.

28 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

No considerable changes can be seen on earthquake activity in northwestern Vatnajökull other than the slow decrease of activity in the northern part of the intrusive dike; this slow decrease has been ongoing during the last few days. There, as before, the great majority of earthquakes occur under northwestern Dyngjujökull and about 15 earthquakes have been located there today. On the other hand, there is no decrease in activity in Bárðarbunga itself; over 50 earthquakes have been located there today, the largest one M 5.2 at 12:34. According to web cameras, the eruption in Holuhraun is still going strong.

Two plumes
""
The eruptive fissure, seen from NW 28 September at 13:20. Most of the degassing takes place on two vents along the fissure, from the northernmost part of the rampart and from the central part of the rampart. These two sources merge into one plume. Downwind, dense volcanic gases separate and descend. Further downwind a second plume, rich in water vapour, reaches higher elevation than the first plume. Photo: Morten S. Riishuus.

28 September 2014 11:00 - joint overview from VÍ and IES

Earthquakes: Seismic activity continues at a similar rate at Bárðarbunga and the nothern part of the dyke intrusion. For the last 24 hours, seven earthquakes exceeding magnitude M3 have occurred at the northern rim of Bárðarbunga. The largest was of magnitude 5.2 at 19:31 yesterday evening.

Volcanic activity: The volcanic activity continues with similar intensity as in previous days.

Displacement: The rate of subsidence of the Bardarbunga caldera is similar to that of previous days. GPS measurements show continuing slow movements.

Water: No change was detected in water monitoring.

Forecast for gas dispersion

Sunday: Westerly winds. Gas pollution from the volcanic eruption is expected east of the eruption site, over the southern East Fjords. This evening, the pollution will reach north to Hérað and over the northern East Fjords.

Monday: A strong gale (more than 20 m/s) is expected in a wide area tomorrow and heavy rain in the southeast. Gas pollution can be expected north and northwest of the eruption site.

28 September 2014 07:00 - from geoscientist on duty

During the night, no significant changes were seen in earthquake activity. Last night, at 19:32, an M5.2 earthquake occurred at the northern rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. The largest earthquakes during the night were in the northeastern part of the caldera, at 22:51 M3.5, at 02:04 M3.4 and at 04:44 M4.1. All in all, 16 earthquakes have been detected in Bárðarbunga from midnight, the majority at the northern caldera rim. Only 5 earthquakes have been detected under Dyngjujökull, the largest about M2 in size. According to web cameras the intensity of the eruption is unchanged.

The extent of the lava field
""
The extent as estimated yesterday, based on radar images and observations in the field; area measurements since 26.9.2014. Little changes on the northern edge 27.9 (dark red line), no new information on the southern edge yet. The total area 26.9 was about 44,2 square kilometers, thereof the main field is 43.8 but the southern one 0.37. Vents and/or craters are marked with red triangles, see the trail on the southwestern end. Enlarge. Institute of Earth Sciences.

27 September 2014 18:50 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity under northwestern Vatnajökull is similar to the activity in recent days. Just over 50 earthquakes have been located at Bárðarbunga today, somewhat more than at the same time yesterday. Two earthquakes were over three in size; first at 02:00 M5.1 and then at 08:11 M4.5, both at the northern rim. About 20 earthquakes were located in the dyke under northern Dyngjujökull, as yesterday. One of these reached 2 in size, others were smaller.

Ominous
""
The eruptive fissure and the plume 27.09.2014, seen from ENE at 17:37. Photo: Morten S. Riishuus.

27 September 2014 11:00 - a joint overview from IMO and IES

Seismic activity: Seismic activity continues at a similar rate at Bárðarbunga and the northern part of the dyke. For the last 24 hours, six events of M>=3 have occurred, the largest ones at northern Bárðarbunga yesterday afternoon M5.2 and at 02:00 this morning M5.1.

Plume and lava: Visibility in the eruption area is poor due to weather. The plume was observed again on webcam late this morning. Last field observations yesterday indicated that the lava was still flowing northwards, possibly also east according to thermal images but that has not been confirmed by the field team.

Displacements: The subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera continues with same rate as before. GPS measurements show continuing slow movements.

Water monitoring: No change was detected in water monitoring.

Forcast for gas dispersion: For the next few days many low pressure areas will pass Iceland. Wind direction will be changing quite frequently. In such conditions gas dispersion forecasting is difficult. The gas should move quite rapidly with the winds, and not accumulate in one specific area.

After the weekend, south and southeast winds are prevalent. The forecast for the weekend:

Saturday: Easterly or variable winds. Pollution mostly expected west of the eruption site.

Sunday: Westerly winds. Pollution mostly expected to southeast and later east of the eruption.

27 September 2014 07:00 - from geoscientist on duty

No significant changes have taken place in the earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga during the night. The largest earthquake since midnight occurred in northern Bárðarbunga about two o‘clock AM, size M 5.0 and therefore somewhat smaller than the earthquake there yesterday afternoon. In all, 17 earthquakes have been detected in Bárðarbunga this night, the majority at the northern caldera rim, but fewer in the intrusive dike under Dyngjujökull, only 8. Eruptive activity could not be monitored on web cameras because of weather conditions; sleet or incipient snow in the area. Visibility was reduced before scientists left the area last night, reporting that the eruption was still going strong.

New north- and eastern extent
""
The northeastern extent of the flow field as estimated yesterday (26/9). MODIS satellite image suggests the formation new lobes east of the eruptive fissure. Whether the lava has extended towards southeast also is not known yet. Institute of Earth Sciences.

26 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

About 40 earthquakes have been located at Bárðarbunga today which is a similar number to same time yesterday. Two were over three in size; first at 03:42 M4.1 and then at 16:49 M5.2, both at the northern rim. About 20 earthquakes (bit less than at the same time yesterday) have been located in the dike intrusion, most of them under northern Dyngjujökull. The largest one was a M2.4 at 03:57.

Lava across the track
""
According to information from the field, the lava margin (dark red line) has crossed the road, where it spreads toward north. Information is still lacking about the south- and eastern margins. Enlarge. Institute of Earth Sciences.
Low plume
""
26 September 2014, the eruptive fissure and plume seen from WNW at 17:33. The plume height reached about 2 km above Dyngjusandur at distances of 2-5 km downwind of the eruptive fissure at 17:30. The plume thickness was 1‐1.5 km and hence rather low. The plume did not separate a low-hanging yellow‐bluish plume within 5‐10 km from the vent, as has been observed on earlier occasions. The direction of the plume was toward the southeast. About 10 km downwind from the vents, the width of the plume was ~8 km.The prevailing wind direction on the ground was from WSW. Photo: Martin S. Riishuus.

26 September 2014 11:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Directorate of Health. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, air quality and scenarios. The next meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board will be held on Monday 29 September unless deemed necessary.

From the Scientific Advisory Board:

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

26 September 2014 06:48 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight ten events have been automatically located in Bárðarbunga and ten in the dyke (beneath northern Dyngjujökull). This is a similar rate as observed yesterday morning. Largest event was around M4 at 03:42 in northern Bárðarbunga. No visible changes in the eruption at Holuhraun from webcams.

25 September 2014 23:10 - a late night photo

Flow in two directions
""
Photo taken at 23:10 on 25 September 2014. Two active flow fields visible, to the left (east) and right (northeast). Photo: Morten S. Riishuus.

25 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity around Bárðarbunga and the dyke intrusion has been persistent today and at similar rates as in recent days. About 40 earthquakes have been manually located in the northern part of the dyke intrusion and about 35 on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga. Although the vast majority of events around the caldera occur on the northern rim, the ongoing occurrence of M>5 events on the southern rim, like this morning at 05:00, evidences still significant release of seismic moment in this area. It can not be concluded that activity on the southern rim is declining based only on the low number of events. The strongest earthquake in the dyke was M2.3 at 09:55. Six earthquakes on the caldera rim exceeded magnitude 3; the strongest of them were M4.2 at 04:25 (northern rim), M5.2 at 05:00 (south-eastern rim), M4.4 at 05:16 (northern rim) and M5.0 at 16:35 (northern rim).

25 September 2014 11:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection, the Environmental Agency of Iceland and the Directorate of Health. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, air quality and scenarios.

From the Scientific Advisory Board:

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

25 September 2014 07:07 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight 10 earthquakes have been automatically detected in Bárðarbunga and the same number of events in the dyke under the northern part of Dyngjujökull. At 22:35 last night (24 Sept) an earthquake M4.9 occurred by the northern rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. Today, 3 earthquakes over magnitude 4 have been located in Bárðarbunga:
At 04:25 M4.2 and 05:16 M4.4 by the northern rim of the caldera.
At 05:00 M5.2 by the southeastern rim.
All the earthquakes in the dyke are around M2 or less. The volcanic activity at the eruption site appears to be stable, based on webcam observations.

24 September 2014 19:10 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity today (until 19:00) was similar to recent days. Around 35 earthquakes have been manually located around the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga and around 60 events in the northern part of the dyke intrusion. The strongest events were magnitude 5.2 at 08:14 on the northern caldera rim and magnitude 4.0 at 18:41 on the western rim. Eight additional events have exceeded magnitude 3 today. The strongest event in the dyke was magnitude 2.1 at 16:35. According to scientists in the field, and also based on webcam observations, the volcanic activity at the eruption site is stable.

24 September 2014 11:00 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Environmental Agency of Iceland. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios.

From the Scientific Advisory Board:

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

Lava and river
""
The lava margin along Jökulsá á Fjöllum in a morning flight by Mýflug, 24 September 2014. Mountain Herðubreið in the background (right). Photo: Jara Fatíma Brynjólfsdóttir.

24 September 2014 07:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity around Bárðarbunga is unchanged compared to recent days. Around 20 earthquakes have been automatically detected on the Bárðarbunga caldera rim, the strongest events were magnitude M3.3 at 00:24 and M3.4 at 04:58. Around 15 earthquakes of magnitude smaller than 2 have been detected in the dyke intrusion, under Dyngjujökull. The volcanic activity at the eruption site appears to be stable, based on webcam observations.

New coordinates for the northern margin
""
New coordinates were sent from the northern margin of the lava field, late in the evening of 23 September (dark red line). No information was received regarding the southern margin. Minimal extent towards the south (yellow line) is drawn onto the map, based on a LANDSAT 8 satellite image from noon 22 September. The question marks indicate the uncertainty on how much the lava has spread since then. Institute of Earth Sciences. Enlarge.

23 September 2014 19:30 - from geoscientist on duty

No changes in seismicity observed in the afternoon. Ten events of M>=3 have been manually checked since midnight. Three of these have M>=4:
at 07:57 Mlw 4.0
at 13:44 Mlw 4.4
at 04:33 Mlw 5.2 all in northern Bárðarbunga.

Between 50 and 60 events have been manually located in Bárðarbunga since midnight and similar number in the dyke. For Bárðarbunga this is similar compared to the average of last three days.

23 September 2014 - earthquake maps for each day - NEW

Specific earthquake maps for northwestern Vatnajökull have received attention. A new feature is available: Earthquake map for each day, and the possibility of running these maps in chronological order.

""
An example from the webpage with the Bárðarbunga earthquakes.

23 September 2014 11:45 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Environmental Agency of Iceland. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios. Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

23 September 2014 06:45 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity around Bárðarbunga since midnight is unchanged compared to recent days. Around 20 earthquakes have been automatically detected on the Bárðarbunga caldera rim, the strongest events were magnitude M5.2 at 04:33, as well as M3.9 at 01:51 and M3.6 at 01:54, all on the northeastern rim. Around 15 earthquakes of magnitude smaller than 2 have been detected in the dyke intrusion. The volcanic activity at the eruption site appears to be stable, based on webcam observations.

22 September 2014 19:40 - from geoscientist on duty

Around 60 earthquakes larger than magnitude 1 have been detected since midnight, 24 of them are localized in Bárðarbunga. The largest was at 9:50 this morning at the southeastern end of the caldera, magnitude 4.8. The second largest was at 13:36 in the northern part of the caldera; magnitude was 4.7. Six more earthquakes magnitude 3.3-3.8 have ocurred in the caldera today. Microearthquake activity is still ongoing under northern part of Dyngjujökull as well as some microearthquakes that were detected close to Askja and Herðubreið.

One lava stream or two
""
According to satellite images of the eruption in Holuhraun midday today, 22 September 2014, there are strong indications that the lava now flows in two main streams, one to the north and the other towards east. Institute of Earth Sciences. Landsat 8, NASA & USGS.

22 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Environmental Agency of Iceland. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios. Notes from the Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

22 September 2014 06:55 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity has been persistent, but at comparably low levels during the last hours. Since midnight around 10 earthquakes have been automatically detected on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga. Another around 10 earthquakes were detected in the northern part of the dyke intrusion, all smaller than magnitude 2. Yesterday (21 September), between 19:00 and 24:00, 25 earthquakes were measured: 8 at Bárðarbunga, 13 at the northern end of the dyke and 2 at Herðubreið.
Earthquakes over M3.0 at Barðarbunga between19:00 21 September and 06:00 22 September:
at 19:51 M3.5
at 20:07 M3.7
at 23:08 M3.5
at 00:19 M3.6
at 03:13 M3.7
at 05:28 M3.5
The volcanic activity at the eruption site appears to be stable, based on webcam observations this morning.

21 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

About 85 earthquakes have been detected since midnight, thereof 36 occurred in Bárðarbunga. The largest earthquake was of magnitude 5.5 at the southeastern rim of the caldera at 10:51. A recently mounted GPS station within the caldera showed about 20 cm subsidence at the same time. The second largest earthquake was of magnitude 4.8 at the northern rim of the caldera at 00:57. Two other earthquakes of magnitude between 4 and 5 also occurred there and altogether 7 earthquakes greater than 3 have been detected within the caldera since midnight. About 24 earthquakes were recorded along the northern part of the dyke, all less than magnitude 2. About 18 earthquakes were recorded by Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl, all with magnitudes below 1.5.

21 September 2014 11:40 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection and the Environmental Agency of Iceland. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios. Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

21 September 2014 07:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Last evening (19:00-24:00) about 30 earthquakes were detected, 10 at Bárðarbunga, 10 at the northern end of the intrusion and 5 at Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl (Töglin). The largest one was at Bárðarbunga at 22:46 3.9 and five more in the same area were over 3 in size.

From midnight til morning (24:00-07:00), automatically detected events are also around 30, most of them around northwestern Vatnajökull. The four largest events were all in northern part of Bárðarbunga caldera:
at 00:57 magnitude 4.8
at 02:21 magnitude 3.8
at 03:05 magnitude 3.7
at 03:30 magnitude 3.4
No visible changes in eruption at Holuhraun from webcams.

20 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight about 65 earthquakes have been detected at the Bárðarbunga caldera and similar number at the northern part of the dyke. The largest earthquakes were at the northern rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera at 01:10 with magnitude 5.1 and at 17:11 with magnitude 5.0. Two earthquakes of magnitude 4 and 4.5 occurred at the southern rim of the caldera at 17:04 and 17:05. Seven earthquakes between 3-4 were also detected at the Bárðarbunga caldera.  About 15 earthquakes have been detected at Herðubreið and/or Herðubreiðartögl and also a few at Tungnafellsjökull volcano, all less than 2 in magnitude.

Expansion towards south and east
""
Holuhraun, a new estimate (enlarge) by the Institute of Earth Sciences of the lava extension towards south and east (yellow). Today, Bárðarbunga was also clearly visible on a satellite image, NASA & USGS.

20 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection, the Environmental Agency of Iceland and Directorate of Health. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios. Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

20 September 2014 06:50 - from geoscientist on duty

Around 30 earthquakes have been automatically detected around northwestern Vatnajökull since midnight. Of these, around 10 were located on the Bárðarbunga caldera rim and another 15 in the northern end of the dyke intrusion. The strongest event was a magnitude 5.1 on the north-eastern caldera rim at 01:10. All events in the dyke were smaller than magnitude 2. Minor activity was seen at Tungnafellsjökull, Askja and Herðubreið/Herðubreiðartögl. The fissure eruption in Holuhraun appears to be continuing at similar levels as in recent days (based on webcam observations this morning and on the last field report of yesterday evening). Summarizing, no obvious changes are observed, neither in seismic nor volcanic activity.

19 September 2014 18:50 - from geoscientist on duty

About 120 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. Over 20 are sourced in the Bárðarbunga caldera, six over magnitude 3. The largest were of magnitude 4.7 at 06:45 and magnitude 4.3 at 14:48. Both occurred at the northeastern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera. Over 70 earthquakes have been recorded in the northern part of the dyke, all less than magnitude 2. Few earthquakes have been recorded by Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl and none by Askja.

Gas rising
""
The gasplume above the eruption site in Holuhraun 19.09.2014 at 20:05. Photo: Gro B.M. Pedersen.

19 September 2014 11:50 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection, the Environmental Agency of Iceland and Directorate of Health. Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios. Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb).

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

19 September 2014 07:43 - from geoscientist on duty

Since 19:00 yesterday evening only about 10 earthquakes were recorded at the Bárðarbunga caldera and only 3 from midnight until 06:00 this morning. One, with magnitude 4.5, occurred at the northern rim of the caldera at 21:43. Two other earthquakes with magnitude over 3 occurred there at 23:44 and 01:57. At 06:44 this morning an earthquake of magnitude 4.7 occurred at the northeastern rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. Since midnight about 35 earthquakes have been recorded in the northern part of the dyke, a similar number as the day before. From midnight only 2 earthquakes were recorded by Herðubreið and/or Herðubreiðartögl, all below magnitude 2.

18 September 2014 18:50 - from geoscientist on duty

Nearly 150 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. About 45 of them occurred in Bárðarbunga, the largest a magnitude 5.3 at the northern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera at 14:22. The GPS station on Bárðarbunga showed a drop of 15 - 20 cm at the time of the earthquake. Two earthquakes occurred with magnitudes between 4 and 5 and four of magnitudes between 3 and 4. Over 50 earthquakes were recorded along the northern part of the dyke, all within magnitude 2. About 30  earthquakes were recorded by Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl, all with magnitudes below 2.

18 September 2014 - gas emission rates

Measurements of SO2 emission rates with permanently installed scanning DOAS instruments preliminarily indicate 200-600 kg/s SO2 over the last week of the eruption.

Relating SO2 to other gases measured by FTIR preliminarily indicates 250-700 kg/s CO2, 2-6 kg/s HCl, 3-8 kg/s HF, and <1 kg/s CO.

These emission rates may be underdetections due to measurement conditions. Experiments will be made this week to help us constrain the measurement bias and uncertainty, and these emission rates will likely change. These values are not to be used for further research as they are preliminary and all rights to the data belong to the scientists who are acquiring and interpreting the data.

The participating institutions include: Icelandic Meteorological Office, Chalmers University of Technology, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences, University of Palermo, University of Cambridge, and British Geological Survey.

18 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection, the Environmental Agency of Iceland and Directorate of Health.

Main points: Volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, Air quality, Scenarios.

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

18 September 2014 06:55 - from geoscientist on duty

The largest earthquakes recorded in Bardarbunga since 19:00 yesterday. A magnitude 3.2 earthquake occurred at 22:28, M4.1 earthquake at 22:52, M3.5 at 23:35, M4.5 at 03:17 and M3.4 at 06:05. From midnight 13 earthquakes have been detected in Bárðarbunga, about 27 in the northern part of the dyke and around 20 by Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl, all below magnitude 2.

Names for a while
""
Eruption site in Holuhraun 18.09.2014 at 09:30. Names make the registration of observations easier as well as the communication between scientists in the field. Photo: Ármann Höskuldsson.

17 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

About 115 earthquakes have been located by the automatic system since midnight. Over 20 of them were located in Bárðarbunga and almost 40 in the dike, especially in the northern part under Dyngjujökull. The strongest quake occurred at 18:09:52 UTC in the southeastern part of the Bárðarbunga caldera, of magnitude 5.2. Subsidence in the caldera is about 25 cm since midnight and no abrupt cange was observed during the quake. Other earthquakes are less than or about magnitude 2.

17 September 2014 - measuring subsidence

This morning, the Institute of Earth Sciences measured the subsidence of the glacier surface above Bárðarbunga, see comparison map, the maximum depth was 24.5 m. In broad terms the subsidence seems to be slower than it was 5 - 8 September. The change in volume is possibly comparable to the volume of the lava field extruded at Holuhraun, although such estimate has high uncertainties.

17 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection, the Environmental Agency of Iceland and Directorate of Health.   

Main points: Volcanic eruption, air quality, information, scenarios

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

17 September 2014 06:50 - from geoscientist on duty

The largest earthquakes recorded in Bárðarbunga since 19h yesterday occurred in the evening. A magnitude 4.8 earthquake occurred at 20:20 and a 5.4 earthquake at 21:34. From midnight 40 earthquakes have been recorded: 5 in Bárðarbunga, about 15 in the northern part of the dyke and around 20 by Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl, all below magnitude 2.

16 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Nearly 100 earthquakes have been detected in the automatic network since midnight. Just over 20 at Bárðarbunga and over 30 in the intrusion under Dyngjujökull and near the eruptive site. Earthquakes at the northern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera today were at 09:13 M3,4 and at 10:36 M4,8 and at 16:13 M3,7. At the southwestern rim there was an earthquake at 14:47 M5,2. No distinctive subsidence was associated with that earthquake. Some of the GPS stations have shown a change in direction since yesterday. Scientists will take a closer look on that change.

Twilight
""
The eruption site in Holuhraun at 18:40 today, 16 September 2014. Photo: Freysteinn Sigmundsson.

16 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Attending: Scientists from Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland along with representatives from the Icelandic Civil Protection, the Environmental Agency of Iceland and Directorate of Health.   

Main points: Volcanic eruption, air quality, scenarios

Notes from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (pdf 0.4 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

16 September 2014 10:00 - earthquakes since 16 August 2014

Earthquakes during the first month of events (from 16.09.2014 at 00:00 until 15.09.2014 at 22:20):
  all intrusion caldera Kistufell Askja HB / HBT TFJ Kverkfj.
automatic ~ 25.000 - - - - - - -
checked ~ 5.900 ~ 4.100 ~ 760 ~ 120 ~ 250 ~ 680 ~ 70 ~10
M3.0-3.9 186 99 74 6 2 3 1 1
M4.0-4.9 43 7 34 1 1 0 0 0
M>5.0 23 0 23 0 0 0 0 0
  • HB/HBT: Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl
  • TFJ: Tungnafellsjökull
  • Kverkfj.: Kverkfjöll
  • Kistufell: Cluster north of Bárðarbunga that was active during the first days
  • automatic: Automatically detected events in the whole country, number of events outside the Vatnajökull are comparably small in number, contains also false detections. A safe number is “around 20.000 events”.
  • checked: Manually revised events.

In "normal" circumstances 10.000-15.000 events occurs per year in Iceland.

16 September 2014 06:45 - from geoscientist on duty

About 50 earthquakes have occurred since midnight. The largest were within magnitude three, sourced at the rim of Bárðarbunga. Eleven earthquakes have been recorded there and nearly 20 in the dyke under Dyngjujökull and under the eruption site.

15 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake rates are similar to recent days. Around 120 events have been detected since midnight, the vast majority in the northern part of the intrusion. Some events were located in the old part of the intrusion, i.e. a bit southwest of where the dyke was bending more northerly into Dyngjujökull on 23 August. All events in the intrusion are smaller than magnitude 2.

Occasional earthquakes on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga. No event exceeded magnitude 2 after the M5.4 this morning at 08:04. Microseismic activity around Dreki (east of Askja) continues at low rates, same at Herðubreiðartögl.

15 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. A representative from The Environment Agency of Iceland and Icelandic Directorate of Health was also present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection: Factsheet (pdf 0.3 Mb)

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

15 September 2014 06:55 - from geoscientist on duty

No major changes are observed in the seismicity. Between 00:06 and 06:00 23 events were measured near Bárðarbunga and the dyke, of these nine occurred in Bárðarbunga. This rate is similar as two nights ago.  The largest events were of magnitude M3.6 at 00:11 and M3.7 at 00:14 at the southern rim. One, M3,8 at the western rim occurred at 02:27. Swarms at Herðubreið, Herðubreiðartögl and Dreki continue (around 15 events in these areas in total). Eruption continues at Holuhraun.

14 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake rates remain stable compared to recent days, around 140 events have been detected since midnight (until now 18:50). Most events concentrate in the northernmost part of the dyke intrusion, from the eruption site to about 6 km into Dyngjujökull. Earthquakes in the intrusion hardly exceed magnitude 2. There are still several earthquakes located on the Bárðarbunga caldera rim, one of magnitude around 5 today at 14:06 on the northern rim, five of magnitude 3-4. A small series of events occurred around 17:00 close to Dreki (east of Askja), all events lower than magnitude 1.5.

Stable subsidence is seen on the GPS in the Bárðarbunga caldera, crudely 50-60 cm since midnight. A short step of 10-15 cm lowering might be associated with the 14:06 earthquake.

14 September 2014 12:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. A representative from The Environment Agency of Iceland was also present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity. The lava flows at slower rates than it did yesterday. The lava is now spreading more to the sides and there is less visible activity is in the eruptive craters.
  • The subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera continues and is now up to 23 meters.
  • Scientists flying over the area saw new tongues of lava breaking out from the main lava stream towards the east and west. The largest one of these lava tongues stretches towards the east and had become 300 m wide and 2 km long at 18:00 yesterday. An eruption cloud reaches 4 km in height but lowers with distance from the eruption site.
  • Seismic activity is similar to what it has been in the past days but earthquakes are starting to go down in numbers and magnitude. Over 60 earthquakes have been detected since midnight. Most of them have been by Bárðarbunga and the dyke under Dyngjujökull. The biggest earthquake, of magnitude 4.0, was detected today at around 07:00 in the south of Bárðarbunga. Three other earthquakes of 3.0 in magnitude or more have been detected today.
  • GPS monitoring shows continuing subsidence in Bárðarbunga and insignificant crustal movements north of Vatnajökull around the dyke.
  •  Air quality in urban areas in the East of Iceland:
    • High air pollution was detected yesterday in Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður. Forecasts indicate that the gas cloud will blow towards the north in the next 24 hours. High concentrations of sulphuric gases can be expected in Mývatnssveit, Kelduhverfi, Tjörnes, Húsavík, Aðaldalur and Reykjahverfi.
  • Instructions:
    • People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close their windows, turn up the heat and turn off air conditioning. Use periods of good air quality to ventilate the house. Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage www.loftgaedi.is. The Meteorological Office issues forecast on its web-page and warnings if conditions change to the worse.
    • Instructions from the office of the Chief Epidemiologist and The Environment Agency can be found on their web-sites.
    • The Icelandic Met Office will read forecasts for sulphuric gases along with weather news on the national radio and TV.
    • The Environment Agency is working on getting more measuring equipment to better monitor the gases coming from the volcanic eruption.
    • Information and any questions on air pollution can be sent to The Environment Agency through the email gos@ust.is. The Environment Agency is especially looking for information from people who have been in contact with high concentrations of gas; where they were, at what time it happened, how the gas cloud looked (colour and thickness of the cloud) and how they were affected by it. In the near future, there will be a page on the IMO's webpage for this type of information.
  •  Air quality at the eruption site:
    • Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. As local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening, people at the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters. At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably. Scientists in the field have gas meters for their security.
  •  Three scenarios are considered most likely:
    • Subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera stops and the eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup, accompanied by ashfall.

Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja is ‘green'.

This Factsheet (pdf 0,3 Mb)

14 September 2014 07:10 - from geoscientist on duty

No changes have been observed since midnight. Around 40 events have been detected in Bárðarbunga and the dyke, also a few events near to Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl. No major events have occurred since midnight, the largest events were at 01:47 M 3.5 and at 06:54 M 4.0 at the south- and southeastern rim of Bárðarbunga, see map. According to webcam the eruption in Holuhraun still continues on one central crater (Baugur). The vertical displacement of the GPS-instrument on the ice-shelf at Bárðarbunga is around -20 cm from midnight.

13 September 2014 21:10

The advance of the lava has been slow today according to a report from the field, see map (IES).

13 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Comparatively quiet at the eruptive front, 85 earthquakes have been detected. Most of them, 38, near the northern end of the intrusive dike but 22 in Bárðarbunga, 19 around Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl and 6 elsewhere in the country.

The largest earthquake of the day occurred at 07:58 this morning in the nortern part of Bárðarbunga, M4.9, and it was accompanied by ca. 25 cm lowering of the caldera according to the newly installed GPS meter there. In the afternoon, two earthquakes close to M3.5 occurred, both in Bárðarbunga. Other earthquakes have been smaller. According to scientists in the field the activity has diminished and the only crater which is active, is the one named Baugur.

Without ceasing
""
From the eruption site in Holuhraun, 13 September 2014. Photo: Martin Hensch.

13 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. Representative from The Environment Agency of Iceland and the Chief Epidemiologist and the Directorate of Health, were also present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun and the the subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera floor continues at similar intensity.
  • The subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera and seismic activity continues the same as the last few days. The GPS station on top of Bárðarbunga shows a subsidence of the caldera around half a meter over the last 24 hours.
  • The volcanic eruption in Holuhraun is still ongoing with similar strength as last few days. Lava flows at similar rates as yesterday towards East into Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
  • The lava filed was measured yesterday afternoon to be 24,5 square kilometres.
  • Accumulated volume of the lava is now estimated to be at least 200 million cubic meters.
  • Gas cloud from the eruption drifts to the east. High level of SO2, sulphur dioxide, was measured at Reyðarfjörður last night around 10:00 o'clock. The highest value measured were just under 4000 micrograms per cubic meter. These are the highest values measured in Iceland. High level, 685 micrograms per cubic meter, was also measured in Egilsstaðir.
  • Warning was sent via the GSM system to all mobile phones in Fjarðarbyggð.
  •  Air quality in urban areas in the East of Iceland:
    • Forecasts indicate that high concentrations of sulphuric gases may be expected in the northern part of the Eastern fjords, Fljótsdalur, Hérað, Jökuldalur, and on Langanes. Forecast indicates that concentration may become higher later today. The Environment Agency will set up new monitoring stations in Akureyri and in South Iceland. Geographical conditions must be considered when estimating air quality.
  • Instructions:
    • People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close the windows, turn up the heat and turn off air conditioning. Use periods of good air quality to ventilate the house. Measurements of air quality can be found on a map from the Environment Agency. The Icelandic Met Office issues text forecasts and warnings in header if conditions change to the worse.
    • Some advise from The Environment Agency can be found on their web-site.
    • The Icelandic Met Office will read forecasts for sulphuric gases along with weather news on the national radio and TV.
    • The Environment Agency is working on getting more measuring equipment to better monitor the gases coming from the volcanic eruption.
  •  Air quality at the eruption site:
    • Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. As local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening, people at the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters. At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably. Scientists in the field carry gas meters for their security.
    • Degassing from the volcanic eruption is now estimated to be up to 750 kg/sec.
  •  Three scenarios are considered most likely:
    • Subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera stops and the eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup, accompanied by ashfall.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

 From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange'.

This Factsheet (pdf - 0.3 Mb)

13 September 2014 06:50 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight, around 20 earthquakes have been recorded in the north-west region of Vatnajökull. Earthquake locations are similar to recent days: in Bárðarbunga, in the dyke intrusion near to the edge of Dyngjujökull, and occasionally at Herðubreiðartögl. See maps (second image) and weekly overview. At 23:59 (12 Sept.), an earthquake of magnitude 4,7 occurred on the rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. Web camera views of the eruption site during the night showed volcanic activity at similar levels to yesterday.

12 September 2014 - from the field

The fissure
""
All the active part of the fissure, at noon 12 September 2014. Photo: Ármann Höskuldsson.

The lava is still advancing in the riverbed of Jökulsá á Fjöllum. A narrow flow with heavy current is between the lava and the eastern wall of the riverbed. Occasionally, small steam explosives occur at the edges. The lava advanced 600 m in the past 24 hours. It is still expanding towards north, away from the path of the river. The activity on the fissure is mostly confined to craters Suðri and Baugur.

The gas plume has been continuous and stable; mostly from crater Baugur. Lava fountains from Baugur have been 70-120 m high and this is the only crater still giving rise to fountains.

12 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismicity rates have been comparably low today, but there is still persistent seismic activity in the northern part of the dyke intrusion and around the Bárðarbunga caldera rim. A bit less than 100 events occurred since midnight (now 18:50), most of them automatically detected, some of them found in the continuous data during manual revision. The last earthquake above magnitude 4 occurred at 09:32 this morning (M4.7) on the northern caldera rim. The volcanic activity at the eruption site appears to be stable, based on webcam observations and reports from scientists in the field.

The extent of the lava
""
The extent of the lava in Holuhraun, 12 September 2014. Institute of Earth Sciences. Enlarge.

12 September 2014 11:30 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. Representative from The Environment Agency of Iceland and the Chief Epidemiologist and the Directorate of Health, were also present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity. Lava flows at similar rates as yesterday. The lava is flowing towards East into Jökulsá á Fjöllum, slightly narrowing its path. No explosive activity due to the lava and river water interaction has been observed, but steam rises from the lava.
  • Scientists flying over the Bárðarbunga area yesterday reported no new changes in the surface.
  • Air quality in urban areas in the East of Iceland:
    • Forecasts indicate that high concentrations of sulphuric gases may be expected in the northern part of the Eastern fjords, Fljótsdalur, Hérað, Jökuldalur, and Vopnafjörður. Forecast indicates that concentration may become highest in Hérað later today. High concentrations could occur in other areas as well. The Environment Agency will set up new monitoring stations in Akureyri and in South Iceland today. Geographical conditions must be considered when estimating air quality. People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close the windows and turn off air conditioning.  Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage loftgaedi.is. The Meteorological Office issues forecast on its web-page and warnings if conditions change to the worse.
    • Instructions from the office of the Chief Epidemiologist and The Environment Agency can be found on their web-sites.
  • Air quality at the eruption site:
    • Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. As local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening, people at the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters. At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably. Scientists in the field carry gas meters for their security.
  • Earthquake activity in the caldera of Bárðarbunga remains similar to that of the last days. Epicenters are distributed along the northern and south-eastern caldera fault. Earthquake activity at the dyke tip has decreased. More than 50 events have been detected since midnight. Low frequency tremor has decreased.
  • GPS observations:
    • There are minor crustal movements around the dyke supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke slightly exceeds the flow of magma erupted to the surface.
    • Considering the time period since the beginning of the eruption slow movements towards the Bárðarbunga caldera indicate continuing subsidence of the caldera.
    • A new GPS station was installed on top of Bárðarbunga yesterday to monitor the subsidence of the caldera floor.
  • Three scenarios are considered most likely:
    • Subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera stops and the eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup, accompanied by ashfall.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja is ‘green'.

This factsheet (pfd 0.3 Mb)

12 September 2014 06:22 - from geoscientist on duty

No changes have been observed since midnight. Thirty earthquakes have been recorded, mostly located in the dyke under Dyngjujökull and at the eruption site, and at the northern rim of Bárðarbunga. The largest earthquakes are around magnitude 2. A few earthquakes have occurred by Askja, Herðubreiðartögl and Tungnafellsjökull.

Yesterday, between 18:00 and 24:00 was low but persistent activity in the dyke, most events under Dyngjujökull, few around the eruption site. The strongest events in the caldera were M5.2 at 19:57 and M3.1 at 23:33. Occasional events up to M2.8 in Tungnafellsjökull.

Into the river
""
 The edge of the lava has reached into the river. Evening 11.9.2014. Institute of Earth Sciences. Enlarge.

11 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Activity in the Bárðarbunga region is fairly similar to yesterday. Altogether around 150 events have been automatically detected since midnight, most of them in the northern part of the intrusion. None of the events in the dyke has exceeded magnitude 2 until now (18:50). About 40 earthquakes occurred on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga; the strongest events today were 5.3 at 00:07 and 4.3 at 05:00 and 4.5 at 14:23. Several small events were detected in Tungnafellsjökull and around Herðubreið and Herðubreiðartögl, all smaller than magnitude 3. No significant changes were observed.

11 September 2014 - the extent of the lava

Extent
""
The extent of the lava, Thursday morning. The edge (yellow line) is creeping closer to mountain Vaðalda as compared to such map from two days ago. Institute of Earth Sciences. Enlarge.

11 September 2014 11:45 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. Representative from The Environment Agency of Iceland and the Chief Epidemiologist and the Directorate of Health, were also present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity. Lava flows at similar rates as yesterday. The lava is flowing towards East but widens slightly towards North. The main flow follows the river bed of Jökulsá á Fjöllum. No explosive activity due to the lava and river water interaction has been observed, but steam rises from the lava.
  • Air quality in urban areas in the East of Iceland:
    • Forecasts indicate that high concentrations of sulphuric gases may be expected in the northern part of the Eastern fjords, Fljótsdalur, Hérað, Jökuldalur, and Vopnafjörður. High concentrations could occur in other areas as well. People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close the windows and turn off air conditioning.  Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage loftgaedi.is. The Meteorological Office issues warnings if conditions change to the worse.
    • Instructions from the office of the Chief Epidemiologist and The Environmental Agency can be found on their web-sites.
  • Air quality at the eruption site:
    • Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. As local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening, people at the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters. At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably.
  • Earthquake activity in the caldera of Bárðarbunga remains similar to that of the last days. Epicenters are distributed along the northern and south-eastern caldera fault. An earthquake of M 5.3 occurred at 00:07 h. Earthquake activity at the dyke tip has decreased. More than 30 events have been detected since midnight. Low frequency tremor is similar to what has been observed in the last few days.
  • GPS observations show insignificant crustal movements supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke continues to be similar to the magma erupted to the surface. Considering the time period since the beginning of the eruption slight movements towards the Bárðarbunga caldera indicate continuing subsidence of the caldera.
  • Three scenarios are considered most likely:
    • Subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera stops and the eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.
    • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' but the code for Askja has been changed to ‘green'.

11 September 2014 06:55 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity is continuing in Bárðarbunga and in the northern part of the dike intrusion. Around 20 earthquakes were measured this night  in the Bárðarbunga area between 00 and 06:30; this is about half the number of events detected during same period yesterday. The largest events occurred just after midnight (00:07:38, M5.3) at the southern caldera rim of Bárðarbunga and around five o'clock (05:00:38 of M4.3 and 05:04:49 of M3.0) at the northern rim of Bárðarbunga. Eruption is still ongoing. Seismic activity at Herðurbreiðartögl is diminishing and has migrated north of Herðubreið where 16 earthquakes were detected (by the automated network) since midnight.

10 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Around 150 earthquakes have been automatically detected since midnight, most of them in the northern part of the dyke intrusion between the eruption site and south to about 6 km into Dyngjujökull, but around 30 were located in the Bárðarbunga caldera and around 20 in the rest of the country.

All events in the intrusion were smaller than magnitude 2.5. Strongest events in the caldera were magnitude 5.5 at 05:28 this morning on the northern rim, as well as two events of M4.1 at 15:51:00 and M4.8 at 15:51:14, both on the southern rim. The magnitude of the second event might be slightly overestimated as it was biased by the coda of the previous event. It was however clearly stronger than the first event.

Summarizing, the activity remains unchanged. Event rates in the intrusion were slightly lower than in recent days, but activity is persistent.

Grayish blue
""
MODIS satellite image from NASA at 13:10 shows the plume under the clouds. Enlarge.

10 September 2014 11:55 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. Representative from The Environment Agency of Iceland and the Chief Epidemiologist and the Directorate of Health, were also present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity. Lava flows to the East at similar rates as yesterday. The lava is flowing in the river bed of Jökulsá á Fjöllum. No explosive activity due to the lava and river water interaction has been observed, but steam rises from the lava.

Air quality in urban areas in East of Iceland:

  • Concentrations of SO2, comparable to those measured in the last few days, could increase slightly today in the east due to the direction of the wind. Efforts to increase gas monitoring in inhabited areas are ongoing. Data from The Environmental Agency SO2 monitoring stations in Reyjahlíð, Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður are accessible on the web-site of the institute. Instructions from the office of the Chief Epidemiologist and The Environmental Agency can be found on their web-sites.

Air quality at the eruption site:

  • Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. As local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening, people at the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters.
  • Scientists on the site have had to leave the area repeatedly as concentrations of gas reached dangerous levels due to sudden changes in wind conditions.
  • At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably. 

Around 80 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. The largest two earthquakes, M 5.5 and M 4.9, occurred on the northern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera. Low frequency tremor is similar to what has been observed in the last few days.

GPS observations show insignificant crustal movements supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke continues to be similar to the magma erupted to the surface.

Three scenarios are still considered most likely:

  • Subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera stops and the eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually.
  • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.
  • Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup.

Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

 From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

Factsheet pdf (0,3 Mb)

10 September 2014 06:40 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity is continuing in Bárðarbunga and in the northern part of the dike intrusion. Fewer events were detected at Herðubreiðartögl. Nearly 50 earthquakes were measured this night in the Bárðarbunga area between 00 and 06. The largest one occured at 05:28:34 at the northern caldera rim of Bárðarbunga and was of magnitude 4.9 (not manually checked yet; USGS magnitude estimate). Eruption continues north of Dyngjujökull.

The lava
""
The lava is constantly changing. Photo taken 5th September at 09:39 by Ólafur Freyr Gíslason.

9 September 2014 18:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Since this morning, 230 earthquakes have been recorded. The main activity has been in the northern part of the dyke, north of Herðubreið, by Herðubreiðartögl and at the rim of Bárðarbunga. No earthquakes larger than magnitude 3 have been recorded since 01:07.

Extent
""
The extent of the lava, Tuesday evening 9th September. Institute of Earth Sciences. Enlarge.

9 September 2014 12:55 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity.
  • Air quality in urban areas in East of Iceland may affect people with underlying respiratory problems although others should not experience any significant discomfort.
  • Air quality at the eruption site: Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high.
  • Around 150 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. The largest two earthquakes, 3.8 and 5.2 in magnitude, occurred on the northern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera.
  • GPS observations show insignificant crustal movements supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke continues to be similar to the magma erupted to the surface.
  • Four scenarios are still considered most likely. Factsheet in pdf (0,3 Mb).

9 September 2014 06:40 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity is continuing in Bárðarbunga, in the northern part of the dike intrusion and Herðubreiðartögl.

Nearly 50 earthquakes were measured this night in the Bárðarbunga area between 00 and 06. The largest one occured at 01:07 at the northern caldera rim of Bárðarbunga and was of magnitude 5.2 (not manually checked yet; average of USGS and EMSC magnitude estimates, and IMO-alert automatic).

Tremor seems similar through the night, eruption continues.

8 September 2014 19:20 - from geoscientist on duty

The earthquake activity today continues at the northern part of the dyke intrusion. The largest earthquake  in the dyke since the end of August occurred at 16:27 today with magnitude 4.5. These are the largest earthquakes located today at the caldera rim:
kl. 06:15 M 4.8
kl. 07:20 M 4.6
kl. 14:48 M 5.0
kl. 17:53 M 4.3

An earthquake swarm is taking place north of Herðubreið. About 80 earthquakes have been recorded today, all below magnitude 2. Swarms in this area are not uncommon. Due to high concentration of SO2, scientists are leaving the area.
Lava meets river
""  Impression from the ENE flow front at Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Photo: Morten S. Riishuus.

8 September 2014 - ice surface of Bárðarbunga

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Bárðarbunga. Subsidence of the glacier surface (m). Max 18,5 m depth now but 15,8 m last Friday. A comparison of the measurement of TF-FMS 8th September and a Lidar map from 2011 as well as surface measurements from June this year. Institute of the Earth Sciences University of Iceland.

8 September 2014 13:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. Also, representatives from The Environment Agency of Iceland and the Chief Epidemiologist from the Directorate of Health, were present.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity. 
    • The eruption sites are the same as before. Lava flows to the East at similar rates as yesterday. Although the lava is now in contact with the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, it does not reduce the lava flow rates significantly. No explosive activity due to the lava and river water interaction has been observed, but steam rises from the lava. The extent of the lava is now approximately 19 square km.
    • No activity is now detected on the southernmost fissure although small amounts of gas and steam are rising from it.
  • Air quality in urban areas in East of Iceland:
    • Measured concentrations of SO2 in Reyðarfjörður, suggest that people with underling respiratory problems might be affected although others should not experience any significant discomfort.
    • Efforts to increase the gas monitoring in inhabited areas are on-going, by The Environment Agency of Iceland.
    • If eruptive activity continues at similar rates, the air quality in Eastern part of Iceland will remain similar.
  • Air quality at the eruption site:
    • Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. As local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening, people at the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters.
    • Scientists on site, have had to leave the area as concentrations of gas reached dangerous levels, due to sudden changes in wind conditions.
    • At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably. 
  • The seismicity has reduced since yesterday. Around 80 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. Around 07:20 UTC, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake occurred on the rim of Bárðarbunga caldera. Small but continuous low frequency tremor has been observed for the last few days.
  • GPS observations show insignificant crustal movements supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke continues to be similar to the magma erupted to the surface.
  • Four scenarios are still likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
    • The dyke could reach the Earth's surface at different locations outside the glacier. Lava flow and/or explosive activity cannot be excluded.
    • The intrusion again reaches the surface under the glacier and possibly leads to a significant eruption. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
    • An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn. Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

Factsheet in pdf (0.2 Mb)

8 September 2014 06:50 - from geoscientist on duty

The earthquake activity since midnight continues at the northern part of the dyke intrusions and at Bárðarbunga.

Between 30 and 40 events have been located in the area since midnight.

The tremor has been steady since yesterday, no changes and the eruption continues.

7 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Today, most of the earthquakes have been located in Bárðarbunga caldera, at the eruption site, in Dyngjujökull and at Herðubreiðatögl. The two largest events occurred this morning (M4.6 and M5.4) at 3:27 and 7:07 UTC in Bárðarbunga caldera. We have recorded about 155 earthquakes since this morning and the seismic tremor has been lower than yesterday.

Earth scientists in the field report that the eruptive activity in the northernmost part of the north-fissure has no more lava fountaining, whereas the central craters are the most active like previous days. The new fissure in the south shows no visible activity since this afternoon.

7 September 2014 13:00 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun has not decreased. Magma flow is between 100 and 200 m3/s. The lava advances by about 1 km/day and its area yesterday afternoon was around 16 km2. The eruption sites are the same as before. The eruptive intensity on the southern fissure that opened on Friday is much less than on the northern fissure that has been active since the beginning of the eruption.
  • The lava tongue now extends 11 km to the north and has reached the western main branch of Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. However, no explosive activity due to the lava and river water interaction has been observed, but steam rises from the lava. A white eruption cloud rises 3 - 4 km and is directed to the north and northeast.
  • Seismicity in the area is similar to yesterday. Around 140 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. At 03:30 this morning, a magnitude 4.6 earthquake occurred at the rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. Shortly after 07:00, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake occurred on the rim, one of the largest recorded since the start of the present activity. The amount of magma flow into the dyke seems to be similar to the magma erupting from the fissures.
  • The scenarios are the same as before. The factsheet from the meeting (pdf, 0.2 Mb).

7 September 2014 - a new map of the lava

New extent
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The extent of the lava field in Holuhraun, as estimated in the morning of 7.9.2014. Names of craters on the fissure; Norðri, Baugur and Suðri. South of those is the small lava from the second fissure. Institute of Earth Sciences, based on observations from the field. Enlarge.


7 September 2014 08:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga, in the northern part of the dike intrusion and in Herðubreiðartögl. Total of 70 earthquakes have been detected since midnight, the largest M5,7 at 07:08 in the Bárðarbunga caldera. The lava has reached Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Steaming occurs.

6 September 2014 22:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquake activity today has been in similar places as recent days, in Bárðarbunga caldera, at the eruption site, Dyngjujökull and at Herðubreiðartögl. Two earthquakes 4.4 and 4.3 were recorded in Bárðarbunga caldera in the afternnon, at 14:32 and 18:43 respectively, but this morning at 05:40 a magnitude 5 was measured in a similar location. The total number of recorded earthquakes since midnight is around 170. See map. Earth scientists at the eruption site think that the eruptive activity is similar as yesterday. Seismic tremor has low amplitudes today.

6th September 2014 - the subsidence of the glacier surface

""
Bárðarbunga. Subsidence of the glacier surface (m). A comparison of the measurement of TF-FMS yesterday and a Lidar map from 2011 as well as surface measurements from June this year. Institute of the Earth Sciences, University of Iceland.

6 September 2014 12:00 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • In the surveillance flight yesterday the ice-surface at Bárðarbunga was measured with the radar system of Isavia's aircraft. The measurements show large changes on the ice-surface. Up to 15 m subsidence has occurred in the centre of the caldera, which corresponds to a volume change of 0.25 km³. The shape of the subsidence area is in accordance with the elevation of the caldera floor having lowered by that amount.
    • Subsidence of this order has not been observed in Iceland since measurements of crustal movements started around the middle of last century.
    • No signs of eruption or increased geothermal activity in the Bárðarbunga caldera are observed.
    • The volume of the subsidence in Bárðarbunga is considerable portion of the total volume of the magma dyke.
    • The most probable explanation is that this subsidence is related to the recent high seismic activity and subsurface magma flow to the northeast.
  • In the surveillance flight yesterday a shallow, wide depression was observed on the surface of Dyngujökull, 10 km from the glacier edge. Another depression 6 km from the Dyngjujökull ice edge, which has been monitored over the last few days has deepened and is now 35 m deep.
    • It is likely that these depressions are signs of small and short subglacial eruptions.
  • The eruptive activity at Holuhraun is the same as yesterday.
    • Two eruptive fissures are active. The main activity is on the same fissure that has been active since the eruption began. In addition the fissure that opened yesterday morning is still active.
    • The lava now extends 10 km ENE and has just under one km to reach Jökulsá á Fjöllum river.
  • Seismic activity has decreased since yesterday. Approximately 90 earthquakes have been detected since midnight. One earthquake, of magnitude 5 was located in the Bárðarbunga caldera at 05:40 UTC. 14 earthquakes of magnitudes greater than 5 have been located since 16 of August.
  • Deformation changes since yesterday, measured with GPS north of Vatnajökull are small.
  • Four scenarios are still likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
    • The dyke could reach the Earth's surface at different locations outside the glacier. Lava flow and/or explosive activity cannot be excluded.
    • The intrusion could again reach the surface under the glacier and possibly lead to a significant  eruption. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
    • An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

This factsheet is available as pdf (0,3 Mb).

6 September 2014 - the area and the plume

Birds eye view
""
A satellite image from RapidEye 06.09 2014, requested by the "IsViews" project through the Icelandic participant Fjarkönnun ehf.
Above all
""
Landsat 8 satellite image (false colours) from NASA & USGS since 12:27 today. The image has been processed by the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, for the purpose of distinguishing individual lava streams within the lava field. Enlarge.
The plume at noon
""
The plume is clearly visible on this MODIS satellite image from NASA at noon. Enlarge.
Lava day by day
""
Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland 6.9.2014: South coordinates from surveillance flight. Edges of lava 31.8-6.9. based on radar images from TF-SIF of the Coast Guard and GPS measurements from the field (IES). Map base from the National Land Survey. Enlarge. Excluding the southern contribution, the area of this lava is 14.8 km².

6 September 2014 06:20 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquakes have been recorded in similar locations as in recent days: in Bárðarbunga, in the dyke intrusion beneath and north of Dyngjujökull and occasionally at Herðubreiðartögl. At 05:40, an earthquake of magnitude 5 occurred on the rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. Since midnight, the total number of automatically located earthquakes is around 50. See earthquake maps. Web camera views of the eruption site during the night showed volcanic activity at similar levels to yesterday.

5 September 2014 19:30 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight, 270 earthquakes have been detected. The seismic activity is similar to what it has been during the last few days, with most of the activity concentrated at the northern end of the dike. No changes have been detected in the low-frequency tremor since it rose a little bit in the stations next to the eruption at 4 o‘clock this morning.

Two fissures
""
Morning flight 5.9.2014, new fissure in the foreground. First fissure in the background and still going strong. Photo: Þóra Árnadóttir.

5 September 2014 - new map

The position this morning of the southern tip of the new fissure (red triangle) and the furthest NW reach of the earlier lava (red circle) are given on a new map (enlarge). The NW stretch of the past few days is also shown. Underneath the map is a photo from this earlier fissure.

New positions
""
Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland 5.9.2014: New coordinates from surveillance flight. Edges of lava 31.8-4.9. based on radar images from TF-SIF of the Coast Guard and GPS measurements from the field (IES). Map base from the National Land Survey of Iceland.
Fountains of lava
""
Photo from the IES web-site, news from 5th September: The fissure that started erupting Sunday 31st August. Centrally the fountains reach 70-100 m hight; but towards south (r.h.) it is more like 30-50 metres and smaller in the northern part. Ljósmynd: Þorvaldur Þórðarson.

5 September 2014 12:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • At about 7:00 UTC this morning RÚV reported that new eruptive fissures had opened to the south of the on-going eruption.
  • At 8:30, a surveillance flight with scientists from the IMO and University of Iceland observed the following:
    • Two new eruptive fissures formed south of the previous eruption site in Holuhraun, in a graben, that had formed above the intrusion, about 2 km away from Dyngjujökull.
    • The eruptive fire fountains from the new fissures are substantially smaller than in the older fissure. Steam and gas rises in a southeastern direction from the fissure.
    • The cauldron in Dyngjujökull seems to have grown deeper since the last observation.
    • No changes are visible in Bárðarbunga.
  • Substantial amounts of SO2 are still being released into the atmosphere in association with the eruption.
  • Conductivity measurements show a slight increase in conductivity in Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
  • Some tremor was detected on seismometers shortly after 3:00 UTC last night. It decreased at about 6:00 UTC this morning.
  • Considerable activity is in the northern fissure (fissure 1) and the height of the steam cloud is about 15,000 feet.
  • There are no indications of the eruption in Holuhraun being in decline. The lava from fissure 1 continues to flow to the east-north-east and has grown in area since yesterday.
  • Seismicity in the area is similar to yesterday's activity. About 170 earthquakes were detected since midnight. Two earthquakes of magnitudes 4.4 and 5.3 were detected in the Bárðarbunga caldera region at around midnight UTC.
  • GPS displacements have continued to decrease and are now within uncertainty limits.
  • Four scenarios are still likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
    • The dike could reach the Earth's surface at different locations outside the glacier. Lava flow and/or explosive activity cannot be excluded.
    • The intrusion reaches the surface and another eruption occurs where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
    • An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

This factsheet is available as pdf (0,3 Mb).

MODIS Aqua at one o'clock
""
The plume from Holuhraun on 5 September 2014 seems to drift southwards just east of the Vatnajökull ice cap. Ash is negligible. Part of a larger satellite image: NERC Satellite Receiving Station, University of Dundee, Channel 1, 4, 3, Aqua, Friday Sept 05 13:03:46 2014.

5 September 2014 06:20 - from geoscientist on duty

Earthquakes until 06:00 have been recorded in similar locations as in recent days: in Bárðarbunga, in the dyke intrusion beneath and north of Dyngjujökull and at Herðubreiðartögl.

Two earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 and 5.2 occurred on the rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. The first earthquake was recorded at 23:33 yesterday and the larger event at 01:19. Since midnight, the total number of automatically located earthquakes is around 100. Web camera views of the eruption site during the night showed volcanic activity at similar levels to yesterday. See map.

4 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Activity in Bárðabunga and on Flæður north of Dyngjujökull is continuous with similar intensity as yesterday.

The tremor signal observed yesterday decreased substantially last night. Around six this morning, a tremor increase was observed again; at much lower level, though, than yesterday. This signal rapidly decreased and at noon it had mostly disappeared. Seismicity continues at similar rates as yesterday including four events bigger than magnitude 4 in Bárðarbunga region.

GPS observations still suggest increase in volume in the dike although at slower rates, indicating that more magma is being intruded into the dike than erupted to the surface. 

The eruption continues at similar intensity. Eyewitness reports suggested that this morning, the lava covered between 10 and 11 square km and during the day the area has increased substantially. The intensity of the eruption this evening is reported to be somewhat lower than last night.

4 September 2014 12:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • The intensity of the ongoing eruption in Holuhraun is not declining. Lava is flowing toward ENE and it has been elongated considerably since yesterday. Since this morning, a preliminary estimate of lava field extension is about 10.8 km2.
  • Seismic activity is still detected in the northern part of the dyke intrusion, along the eruption site and extending south below Dyngjujökull. Event rates are lower than in recent days, 180 earthquakes have been detected since midnight until noon. Four events larger than M4 have been detected in Bárðarbunga caldera. The largest one (M4.8) occurred last night at 03:09.
  • The low frequency tremor seen yesterday disappeared last night but started again this morning, however minor compared to yesterday. The source of the tremor is not certain, however, possible explanation could be magma-water interaction although this interpretation has currently not been confirmed by other observations.
  • There are no signs of a subglacial eruption under Dyngjujökull. No obvious changes such as increased water flow or cauldrons on the glacier surface were observed from scientists on board TF-SIF yesterday. Water meters in Jökulsá á Fjöllum do not show any unusual changes in discharge and electric conductivity.
  • The GPS time series indicate slower rate of deformation in the last 24 hours. The current deformation pattern north of Vatnajökull still suggests volume increase in the dike. No significant signs of deformation are observed around Bárðarbunga.
  • There have been no observations of ash-fall away from the eruption site. Ash production is negligible.
  • Sulphur dioxide emission continues. Low-wind speed condition is present in the area at the moment. Based on radar images the eruption cloud from today (composed of steam and volcanic gases) has not drifted far away and is mostly concentrated around the eruption site. Stations measuring SO2 further away from the eruption site are showing concentration below health and safety thresholds. Since this morning, the cloud reaches 6 km of altitude. The volcanic cloud will drift towards south in the coming hours due to wind rotation.
  • Four scenarios are likely:
  1. The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
  2. The dike could reach the Earth's surface causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Lava flow and (or) explosive activity cannot be excluded.
  3. The intrusion reaches the surface and another eruption occurs where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  4. An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

This factsheet is available as pdf (0,3 Mb).

Holuhraun eruptive site
""
Early morning view 4.9.2014. Lava fountains on the central part of the fissure, view to the east; i.e. south is to the right. The vent to the right has been active from the start. The one on the left appeared 2nd September but has come and gone; actually it disappeared later this morning. The maximum height of the lava fountains is 113 m. Photo: Ármann Höskuldsson.

4 September 2014 06:09 - from geoscientist on duty

Activity 00:00-06:00: Tremor measured yesterday stopped around 21:30 yesterday evening and has not been measured since.

Biggest event of the night was magnitude 4.8 earthquake in northern Bárðarbunga. Microearthquake activity continues around Bárðarbunga, in the dike intrusion, around Askja and Herðubreiðartögl.

Around 80 microearthquakes have been located during the night.

The eruption is currently not visible from cameras because of fog. Around 4 o'clock visibility was better and it activity appeared to be the same as before. See earthquake maps: map1 (three different) and map36 (36th week).

View yesterday
""
Flying over the edge of Dyngjujökull glacier towards the eruptive site, 3 September 2014 at 16:30. Photo: Ólafur F. Gíslason.

3 September 2014 - an image recorded at the field

A recording from the field revealed an interesting feature, similar to a dust devil but most likely composed of volcanic gases and ash particles. Nicarnica Aviation's NicAIR II instrument had been deployed to the field during the fissure eruption at Holuhraun in Iceland. Fred Prata is a lead scientist in this development.

3 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Persistent seismic activity is still detected in the northern part of the dyke intrusion, between the eruption site and south to about 6 km into Dyngjujökull. Event rates are lower than in recent days. Some events are detected in Bárðarbunga, all of them were smaller than magnitude 4 since the M5.5 event last night at 03:09. The volcanic activity at the fissure in Holuhraun is continuous, no signifiant changes were reported from scientists in the field.

The origin of the increased tremor signal since this morning is still unclear and data is still analysed. However there are no signs of a subglacial eruption under Dyngjujökull. No obvious changes such as increased water flow or cauldrons on the glacier surface were observed from scientists onboard TF-SIF this afternoon. Water meters in Jökulsá á Fjöllum do not show any unusual changes in discharge and electric conductivity. The low frequent tremor signal is still continuing, its strength is variable.

Lava day by day
""
In Holuhraun, a draft map of the lava extent in the early hours of the morning 3.09.2014. A map from the Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland, based upon radar images from the Icelandic Coast Guard and GPS measurements from the field by IES, an aerial photo from Loftmyndir ehf and the data base of the National Land Survey of Iceland. Enlarge.

3 September 2014 12:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • Earthquake activity continues – around 160 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight today. Seismicity is occurring mostly beneath the northern edge of Dyngjujökull. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake occurred at 03:08 UTC today on the northern side of the Bárðarbunga caldera.
  • GPS measurements show that the volume of the dyke intrusion has increased since the beginning of the eruption; this signifies that more magma is entering the dyke than is being erupted.
  • Despite no sign of a volume decrease in the dyke, GPS measurements show that the rate of ground deformation has slowed.
  • Recent radar images show a 0.5 – 1 km wide depression that has formed both in front of and beneath Dyngjujökull. Signs of the depression extend about 2 km into the ice margin. The increasing thickness of the glacier decreases the visual extent of fracturing associated with the depression, so it is likely that the area extends further beneath Dyngjujökull.
  • In light of GPS, radar and seismic results, it is possible that the ongoing eruption could progress southward under Dyngjujökull. This would lead to immediate flooding hazards on the floodplain in front of Dyngjujökull. Consequently, risk assessments for scientists working in the area will be reviewed.
  • The volcanic eruption continues on Holuhraun; the main path for lava is to the east-north-east.
  • At 08:00 UTC today the total area of the lava flow was estimated at 7.2 km2.
  • There have been no observations of ash-fall. Ash production is almost negligible.
  • Sulphur dioxide continues to be detected near the eruption site. The eruption cloud is drifting to the north-east from the eruption site.
  • Four scenarios are likely:
  • The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
  • The dyke could reach the Earth's surface causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Lava flow and (or) explosive activity cannot be excluded.
  • The intrusion reaches the surface and another eruption occurs where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  • An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

This factsheet is available as pdf (0,3 Mb).

Plume with no ash
""
A plume without ash rises from the eruptive site in Holuhraun 3.9.2014. Photo: Richard Yeo.

3 September 2014 06:24 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity continued at similar rate as yesterday until 03:09 when M5.5 earthquake was measured in northern part of Bárðarbunga.

After that there was increase in activity both in the area under the northern part of Dyngjujökull, south of the current eruption site as well as in Herðubreiðartögl.

The biggest earthquake there was around M3.

Automatically detected events at 06AM are around 130.

From webcam it looks like the eruption continues at similar rate. See earthquake maps

Working at the site
""
Working at the site  09:30 2 September 2014. Photo: Baldur Bergsson.

2 September 2014 18:30 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight about 400 earthquakes have been detected automatically (700 at the same time yesterday). The main activity is in the dyke mainly in the northern part. Two earthquakes occurred by the rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera, the first one at 11:26 am, M4.7, and the second one at 13:55, M4.3. A few earthquakes were detected by Herðubreiðartögl. See earthquake maps.

2 September 2014 12:00 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • A noticeable decrease in seismicity has occurred during the last 24 hours. The level of activity is approximately half of that during recent days. Since midnight today, around 300 earthquakes have occurred. At the same time yesterday, 01 September, around 500 earthquakes had been detected.
  • The rate of deformation at GPS sites closest to the dyke intrusion has decreased. Together with an overnight decrease in seismicity, this implies that magma inflow appears to match magma outflow at the eruption site.
  • The eruption has not created any ash-fall. A white plume of steam and gas rises from the eruption on Holuhraun, reaching an elevation of about 4.5 km above sea level. Downwind, a volcanic cloud extends from the eruption site. Yesterday afternoon a white cloud from the eruption extended 60 km to the north-north-east.
  • In comparison to yesterday, more sulphur dioxide has been measured in the eruption cloud.
  • Sandstorms on the floodplain around the eruption site have contributed fine-grained particles to the eruption cloud. This was seen as a light-brown haze earlier today near to Egilsstaðir.
  • The eruptive fissure is about 1.5 km in length, positioned about 4.5 km from the ice margin of Dyngjujökull.
  • At 14:00 UTC yesterday, the lava flow was 4.2 km2 in area. At 08:00 UTC the edge had extended 1.5 km to the east-south-east.
  • The eruption continues, although there appears to have been a slight decrease in activity compared to yesterday.
  • It remains unclear how the situation will develop. Four scenarios are still considered most likely:
  1. The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
  2. The dike could reach the Earth's surface causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Lava flow and (or) explosive activity cannot be excluded.
  3. The intrusion reaches the surface and another eruption occurs where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  4. An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

Measuring gas in the new lava
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IIn the lava from 29 August. Baldur Bergsson measuring gas emission 30 August. The new lava behind him. Photo: Þorgils Ingvarsson.

2 September 2014 06:50 - from geoscientist on duty

Volcanic activity in Holuhraun continues at steady rate. According to webcam observation there is no visible change in activity since yesterday with effusive lava eruption and fountains.

Seismic activity has been rather quiet this night. Biggest earthquake measured was early in the night, 3.1 in magnitude.

Automatically detected events are around 110 at 6:50AM.

Most of the events, including the biggest one, were located in the northern part of the magma intrusion with some activity extending under the glacier rim.

See maps.

1 September 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight over 700 earthquakes have been detected automatically which is somewhat fewer than in the past few days. The main activity is in the dyke. Two earthquakes occurred by the northern rim of the Bardarbunga caldera, at 08:58 AM M5.0 and 11:41 AM M5.3. Over 140 earthquakes were detected by Herðubreiðartögl, NE of Askja volcano. A few earthquakes were detected near Askja.

1 September 2014 17:47 - notes from surveillance flight

TF-SIF, the Icelandic Coast Guard's aircraft, did a surveillance flight this afternoon, 13:45 - 16:30. Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and a representative of the Civil Protection in Iceland were aboard. Conditions were somewhat cloudy, but visibility was fair in low flight and radar images were retreived at higher altitudes.

Main conclusions:

  • The fissure is 1,5 km long. Continuous eruption takes place on a 600-800 m long central section. A single crater has been active at its soutern end, but little or no lava extrudes from it now. Lava plumes rise to a height of a few tens of meters where the activity is greatest, centrally on the fissure.
  • The lava stretches 3,5 km ANA from the center of the fissure. It is max 1,6 km wide but narrower further from the craters. The edge of the lava is a tongue 500 m wide. A continuous lava stream flows along the center of the lava field, almost to the edge. The edges are glowing. Apparently, non of the tributaries of river Jökulsá á Fjöllum touches the lava edge.
  • The area of the lava is now 4 km2. At 16:00, a rough estimate gives 20-30 million cubic meters of lava. Which means that 5-10 million cubic meters have been added in 18-19 hours. Therefore, average flow is of the order of degree 100 m3/s.
  • Two small cauldrons in Dyngjujökull, aligned in the direction of the fissure, seemed unchanged since Friday 29 August.
  • Radar revealed no changes in Bárðarbunga nor in the depressions to the southeast of it.

Plume:

  • A white plume, with a blue tint below, rose from the eruptive site, and drifted ENE. Maximum height is 15000 feet (4,5 km a.s.l.), ca 10 km from the eruptive site. The plume forms a cloud with very sharp edges at the top and below. The lower edge is in 6500 feet (2.0 km a.s.l.). This cloud reaches at least 60 km NNE. The southern edge of it is over Báruvatn, Laugarvalladalur and the southernmost part of lake Lögurinn. The cloud is about 10 km wide, 30 km northeast of the eruptive site. A dustcloud, originating from the Flæður, lies below the plume and its cloud. It didn‘t seem that any ash came from the cloud. The white colour of the plume does not suggest any ash. Plume photos with explanations: Halldór Björnsson, Pálmi Erlendsson, Emmanuel Pagneux (pdf 1.8 Mb).
White plume
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White plume from the fissure in Holuhraun 01.09.2014. Photo: Halldór Björnsson, more in link above.

1 September 2014 12:23 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection. This factsheet is available as pdf (0,3 Mb).

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.
  • Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:
  • The lava eruption on Holuhraun continues. Lava flows northward from the eruption site.
  • At 13:00 UTC today, an overflight will be made over Holuhraun and north-west Vatnajökull with scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland, together with a representative from the Icelandic Civil Protection. Observations from this flight will be reported in later briefings.
  • At 20:00 UTC yesterday, the lava extended over a 3-km-area. This corresponds to a magma discharge of 300 to 500 cubic metres per second. From observations yesterday evening, the volume of erupted lava is between 16 and 25 million cubic metres.
  • The eruption has not created any ash-fall.
  • Gas and steam rises to a couple of hundred metres above the eruption site, extending up to 1,200 m downwind.
  • In connection with the FUTUREVOLC project, a gas monitoring station has been set-up near to the eruption site. Gas measurements indicate a high level of sulphur dioxide. People could be exposed to highly dangerous gas levels close to the eruption. It is essential that those visiting the eruption site are equipped with gas sensors and gas masks.
  • According to the latest GPS observations, horizontal ground movements continue in response to the dyke intrusion. There is no clear sign of a pressure decrease in the dyke intrusion in connection with the ongoing eruption, although there are irregularities in GPS displacements at nearby stations. The northern extent of the dyke intrusion has not changed to any great extent.
  • When Sunday's eruption began earthquake activity decreased somewhat, although seismicity remains high, with over 500 earthquakes detected since midnight today. Most of the seismicity is occurring on the northern end of the dyke intrusion, covering a 15-km-long region that extends partly beneath Dyngjujökull and north of the ice margin.
  • At 08:58 UTC today, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake was recorded on the Bárðarbunga caldera, and another of magnitude 5.2 at 11:41 UTC in the same region.
  • It remains unclear how the situation will develop. Four scenarios are still considered most likely:
  1. The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
  2. The dike could reach the Earth's surface causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Lava flow and (or) explosive activity cannot be excluded.
  3. The intrusion reaches the surface and another eruption occurs where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  4. An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

1 September 2014 06:50 - from geoscientist on duty

The activity around Bárðarbunga from midnight until 06:50 1st September:

Volcanic activity in Holuhraun:

The fissure eruption is continuing at a stable level. No explosive activity is observed, the eruption remains an effusive lava eruption. Visual observation by webcam and low level volcanic tremor on seismometers do not show any obvious changes since evening. More detailled information will soon follow from scientists in the field.

Seismic activity:

Around 250 earthquakes have been automatically detected until now. Most of them are located in the northern part of the magma intrusion, between the eruption site and south to about 10 km into Dynjujökull. Strongest events were up to around magnitude 2. The rate of events has decreased as a result of pressure release due to the eruption, but there is still ongoing continuous seismicity.

Several events have occurred around the Bárðarbunga caldera rim, strongest events were M4.2 at 03:09 on the southern rim and M4.5 at 04:59 on the northern rim.  See maps.

In the broader Askja region, most events were located at Herðubreiðartögl, the strongest event there was M2.9 at 02:56. This area is a quite common place for seismic activity, the activity now is not necessarily caused by increased stress due to the intrusion (the tip of the intrusion is about 25 km SW of this cluster). Askja volcano itself was seismically quiet last night.

A precarious artwork
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Nature didn't think this piece of art in Holuhraun was good enough, made in the early hours of the morning 29 August 2014 and photographed at 10:52. Redone a while later. Photo: Sara Barsotti.

31 August 2014 18:21 - from geoscientist on duty

Few additional facts since status report earlier today: Now about 700 earthquakes have been detected since midnight. An earthquake M4.9 occurred at 16:12 on the northern rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera. The main seismic activity has been in the intrusive dike. Only a few quakes have been located near the caldera rim, mostly its nortern part. Little seismic activity has been near Askja but some seismic activity near Herðubreiðartögl. Weather conditions; very windy.

31 August 2014 16:41 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint status report 310814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

Weather conditions made it difficult to follow the progression of the eruption since this morning, but scientists are in the area, using every opportunity to acquire information on gas and lava outflow. Weather conditions do not allow overflight at this time. The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga was rised at ‘red' this morning and it has been moved back to 'orange' since 15:00 UTC. The color code for Askja is at ‘yellow'.

31 August 2014 14:45 - from meteorologist on duty

Visibility to the eruption site is now good. No ash has has been detected. The Aviation Color Code for Bárðarbunga has therefore been reset to ‘orange' and the code for Askja is still at ‘yellow'.

31 August 2014 12:07 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • A lava eruption started in Holuhraun shortly after 04 AM, on the same volcanic fissure, which erupted earlier this week. The fissure is estimated to be 1,5 km long. It was detected on Míla´s web-camera at 05:51 AM. Fewer earthquakes seem to follow the event than in the previous eruption, but more lava is being extruded.
  • At 07 AM the lava flow was around 1 km wide and 3 km long towards northeast. The thickness was estimated a few meters, the flow about 1000 m3 pr second.
  • Approximately 500 earthquakes were detected in the area and smaller than before. The strongest earthquake, M3.8 was in the Bárðarbunga caldera. Poor weather conditions prevail in the area, which makes detection of smaller earthquakes difficult.
  • GPS measurements show continued movements north of Dyngjujökull.
  • Gas emissions rise to a few hundred meters above the fissure.
  • Weather conditions make it difficult to follow the progression of the eruption, but scientists are in the area, using every opportunity to acquire information on gas and lava outflow.
  • Weather conditions do not allow overflight at this time. The opportunity to fly over the area will be assessed later today.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga is at ‘red' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

31 August 2014 08:40 - Eruption in Holuhraun observed 05:15

Observation from scientists in the field (05:15): It appears that the eruptive fissure is longer than in the last eruption. It is extending north and south on the same fissure. The eruption is a very calm lava eruption and can hardly be seen on seismometers (almost no gosórói). Visual observation confirm it is calm, but continuous.

The new eruption in Holuhraun
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The new eruption in Holuhraun at about 07:15. Photo: Benedikt Gunnar Ófeigsson.

The new eruption in Holuhraun at 07:15. Video: Benedikt G. Ófeigsson.

30 August 2014 18:34 - from geoscientist on duty

Over 1100 earthquakes have been detected since midnight 29/30 August until 18:30; the vast majority in the northern part of the dyke intrusion, see maps.

As this morning, the active part of the dyke intrusion extends from about 4 km south of the glacier margin of Dyngjujökull to the location of yesterday's fissure eruption. There is no sign of northwards migration of the intrusion.

No large events (M>4) have been detected near the Bárðarbunga caldera since this morning. One event of M2.1 was detected at the northern caldera rim at 13:40. Few small events were detected around Askja volcano.

Summarizing, no significant changes in seismic activity have been observed.

30 August 2014 11:45 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection:

  • Earthquake activity continues on a 15-km-long region of the dyke intrusion, extending both into the Dyngjujökull glacier and the region north of the ice margin. Earthquakes have not migrated northwards during the last two days. Seismicity remains high and, since midnight, about 700 earthquakes have been detected in the region.
  • The largest earthquakes since midnight include: (i) a magnitude 4.5 event on the northern side of the Bárðarbunga caldera at 02:35 UTC; (ii) a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in the same region at 06:18 UTC; and (iii) a magnitude 5.4 earthquake on the south-eastern edge of the Bárðarbunga caldera at 07:03 UTC. During the last two weeks, several earthquakes of similar size have occurred on the edge of the Bárðarbunga caldera. These earthquakes are interpreted as signs of stress changes in the region of the caldera.
  • Over 20 micro-earthquakes have been detected in the Askja region. It is thought that these earthquakes have occurred due to stress changes north of the dyke intrusion.
    GPS measurements show continued horizontal movements north of Vatnajökull due to formation of the dyke intrusion on the northern edge of the ice-cap.
  • No unusual changes in the discharge or electrical conductivity of Jökulsá á Fjöllum have been detected. The same applies to other rivers draining from north-western Vatnajökull.
  • A sample of newly erupted lava was taken from Holuhraun yesterday; analysis is ongoing.
    There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining.
  • At this moment it is unclear how the situation will develop. However, four scenarios are considered most likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
    • The dike could reach the Earth's surface north of Dyngjujökull causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Such an eruption could include lava flow and (or) explosive activity.
    • The intrusion reaches the surface and an eruption occurs again where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
    • An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange' and the code for Askja at ‘yellow'.

30 August 2014 07:20 - from geoscientist on duty

Around 450 earthquakes have been detected since midnight 29/30 August until 07:00, the vast majority in the northern part of the dike intrusion, see maps.

The active part of the dike intrusion extends from about 4 km south of the glacier margin of Dyngjujökull to the location of yesterday's fissure eruption. Only a few small earthquakes have been located north of the eruption site and there is no sign now of northwards migration of the intrusion. Strongest events in this area were M2.7 at 03:01 and M2.8 at 06:19.

Several events have been detected on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga, strongest were M4.5 at 02:35 and M4.2 at 06:18, both on the northern rim. A magnitude M5.4 earthquake occurred at 07:03 at the southern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera. Several events of similar size have occurred around the caldera rim in recent days. They are interpreted as possibly being related to subsidence of the volcano due to volume decrease in the magma chamber beneath.

A few small events were detected around Askja volcano.

Summarizing, no significant changes in seismic activity have been observed.

29 August 2014 18:30 - from geoscientist on duty

Little changes since the status report, earlier today. An earthquake M4,1 occurred at 16:27 on the northern rim of Bárðarbunga caldera. The number of earthquakes from the automatic network is similar as at the same time yesterday, about 1200 earthquakes.

29 August 2014 16:20 - Status report

Overall assessment from the joint status report 290814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

At this moment it is unclear how the situation will develop. However, three scenarios are considered most likely: * The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions. * The dike could reach the Earth's surface north of Dyngjujökull causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Such an eruption could include lava flow and (or) explosive activity. * The intrusion reaches the surface and an eruption occurs again where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity. At 10:00 UTC, IMO changed the Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga to ‘orange', signifying that significant emission of ash into the atmosphere is unlikely. The aviation colour-code for the Askja volcano remains at ‘yellow'. Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárdarbunga caldera.

29 August 2014 12:20 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland, attend the meetings of the Advisory Board.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board:

  • At 00:02 UTC signs of a lava eruption were detected on web camera images from Mila. The web-camera is located at Vaðalda, north-east of the eruption site.
  • Around midnight, weak signs of increased tremor were apparent on IMO's seismic stations near to the eruption site.
  • At 00:20 UTC scientists in the field from the Icelandic Met Office, Institute of Earth Sciences and Cambridge University confirmed the location of the eruption.
  • The eruption occurred on an old volcanic fissure on the Holuhraun lava field, about 5 km north of the Dyngjujökull ice margin. The active fissure was about 600 m in length.
  • A small amount of lava drained from the fissure and by around 04:00 UTC, lava flow is thought to have stopped.
  • According to seismic data and web-camera imagery, the eruption peaked between 00:40 and 01:00 UTC.
  • At the beginning of the eruption, seismic activity decreased, although seismicity has since returned to levels observed in recent days.
  • Aerial observations by the Icelandic Coastguard show that only steam is rising from the site of the lava eruption.
  • There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining.
  • At this moment it is unclear how the situation will develop. However, three scenarios are considered most likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
    • The dike could reach the Earth's surface north of Dyngjujökull causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Such an eruption could include lava flow and (or) explosive activity.
    • The intrusion reaches the surface and an eruption occurs again where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárdarbunga caldera.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

At 10:00 UTC, IMO changed the Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga to ‘orange', signifying that significant emission of ash into the atmosphere is unlikely. The aviation colour-code for the Askja volcano remains at ‘yellow'.

29 August 2014 11:58 - The new eruption in Holuhraun

Below are two images of the new lava in Holuhraun, ca 5 km north of Dyngjujökull. The images were taken from TF-SIF, the aeroplane of the Icelandic Coast Guard. Later, flowmodels were made.

The new lava and steam
The new lava that came up in the eruption in the first hours of 29th August. The image was taken at 10:44 this morning, 29 August. Steam rises from the fissure. Credit to the Icelandic Coast Guard.
The lava from 29 August 2014
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The new lava that came up in the eruption in the first hours of 29 August. The image was taken at 10:41, 29 August 2014. The new lava appears with black colour on the image. Credit to the Icelandic Coast Guard.

29 August 2014 07:10 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity has decreased as a result of the pressure release, however a significant amount of earthquakes is still detected in the magma dike, between the eruption site and south to about 5 km into Dyngjujökull.

Strongest events were 3.8 in the caldera of Bárðarbunga at 04:37, as well as 2.9 at 05:39 and 3.5 at 06:38 in the dike. These earthquake are very closely monitored, but no significant change volcanic activity following these has been observed so far.

Web camera from Míla shows the area. Míla's background photo has nothing to do with the current event.

29 August 2014 02:45 - An eruption north of Dyngjujökull

An eruption started in Holuhraun north of Dyngjujökull at around 00:02. Seismic tremor was observed on all seismic stations and the web camera installed in the area by Mila has showed some nice pictures of the eruption.  It is a small fissure eruption and at 02:40 AM the activity appears to have decreased.

28 August 2014 18:14 - from geoscientist on duty

Since midnight over 1100 earthquakes have been detected by the automatic system. The dyke does not appear to have migrated further north since noon. The main activity is in the dyke and at similar depth as before (8-12km). One earthquake of M5 occurred at 08:13 AM by the northern rim of the Bardarbunga caldera. Two minutes earlier (08:11) another event of M3.9 occurred at a similar location. A few earthquakes were detected near Askja, the biggest one of M2.7.

Dyngjujökull - flight today
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The edge Dyngjujökull by Holuhraun, view to the north. Note, that the glacier appears dark on the photo. Cracks can be seen, e.g. by the little lake in the center of the photo, and they stretch towards north away from the lake. White streaks below left are probably cracks in the glacial ice. Photo: Matthew J. Roberts.
Circular fractures
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Ice cauldron in Dyngjujökull 28th August 2014, see circular fractures. Photo: Matthew J. Roberts.

28 August 2014 12:35 - from the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, together with representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland, met today to discuss the on-going unrest at the Bárðarbunga volcano.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board:

  • This morning, there was a flight over the Bárðarbunga area and the surface of the glacier was surveyed. No changes to the ice crevasses southeast of Bárðarbunga, that were seen yesterday evening, were observed. These crevasses were likely formed due to melting at the ice bottom.
  • The depressions have been located southeast of the Bárðarbunga caldera, in all likelihood within the water divide of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. There are three circular crevasse formations, about 5 km in total length. The ice thickness in the area is 400-600 m.
  • The water level in Grímsvötn Lake has been surveyed and has likely risen by about 5-10 m in the last days, which corresponds to an addition of 10-30 million m³ of water in the lake. A slight increase in conductivity in Köldukvísl River was measured this morning, but the cause is yet unknown. No change has been measured in the Hágöngulón lagoon, Jökulsá River and Skjálfandi River. It is assumed, that the water from the cauldron has flowed into the Grímsvötn Lake or the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
  • The seismic activity is similar to that of the last days. Around midnight, three earthquakes of magnitude around 4 were recorded and one of magnitude 5 at 08:13 this morning, all located within the Bárðarbunga caldera.
  • Shortly before 08:00 this morning, there was a slight increase in seismic activity in the Askja volcano. Changes in the stress field due to expansion caused by the dyke have an effect on the Askja area.
  • Since yesterday, the length of the dyke under Dyngjujökull has increased by 1-1.5 km to the north, which is considerably less than in the last days. The dyke has now reached the fissure system of the Askja volcano and GPS measurements indicate that the area there is greatly affected.
  • The conclusions from the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection will continue to be published at around noon, after the meeting, if necessary.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code remains at the ‘orange' level for Bárðarbunga.

28 August 2014 06:17 - from geoscientist on duty

Activity in the Bardarbunga area 00:00-06:00 August 28 2014.

Activity continues in similar manner as before. It was slightly less then the night before.

Two events in Bardarbunga recorded, magnitude 4.1 and 4 at 1:30 and 3:30 resp.

Most events recorded were located within the northernmost 10 km of the dike and few small
earthquakes around Askja.

Total events automatically detected from midnight until now are 400.

27 August 2014 20:50 - info from a surveillance flight

Scientists from IES and IMO on a flight to Vatnajökull tonight discovered a row of 10-15 m deep cauldrons south of the Bárðarbunga caldera. They form a 6-4 km long line. The cauldrons have been formed as a result of melting, possibly a sub-glacial eruption, uncertain when. Heightened tremor level/volcanic tremor has not been observed on IMO's seismometers at the moment. The new data is being examined.

A field trip earlier today
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A new GPS station being mounted near Gjallandi, north of Vonarskarð. Bárðarbunga in the distance. Þorsteinn Jónsson working. Photo: Benedikt G. Ófeigsson.

27 August 2014 18:42 - from geoscientist on duty

Almost 1300 earthquakes have been detected in the automatic network since midnight. This activity has mostly been in the intrusive dike, which now stretches some 12 km north of the glacier‘s edge. A few earthquakes have also been detected near the Bárðarbunga caldera, the largest one M2.7. No signs of volcanic tremor.

27 August 2014 11:50 - from of the Scientific Advisory Board

Scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, together with representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland, met today to discuss the on-going unrest at the Bárðarbunga volcano.

Conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Board:

  • Intense seismicity continues. Over 700 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. Earthquakes are occurring mostly beyond the edge of the Dyngjujökull glacier and the intrusion itself has migrated about 1 km northwards since yesterday.
  • At 00:16 UTC today, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake occurred in the caldera of Bárðarbunga. At 02:50 UTC, another similar-sized earthquake (magnitude 5.2) took place in the same region.
  • At 01:52 UTC, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake was detected on the eastern side of the Askja volcano. This was followed by a few micro-earthquakes in the same area.
  • The dyke intrusion beneath Dyngjujökull is thought to be about 40 km in length.
  • Modelling of GPS data indicates that about 20 million cubic metres of magma have been added to the volume of the intrusion in the last 24 hours.
  • Modelling results suggest that the dyke intrusion is causing stress changes over a large area, including the region to the north of the dyke's extent; this could account for the increased seismicity at Askja volcano.
  • There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining.
  • From today, the afternoon status report will no longer be produced. However, if the situation escalates (i.e. imminent signs of an eruption), daily status reports will be reintroduced. The results of the scientific advisory board will continue to be distributed daily at around midday.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Colour Code remains at the ‘orange' level for Bárðarbunga.

27 August 2014 06:30 - from geoscientist on duty

The night started with a 5.3 event in Bardarbunga at 00:16 hours.

Around half an hour later activity around the tip of the dyke started increasing and reached some kind of "high" around 2 o'clock and has continued at that level since with many events of magnitude 2-3.

Just before 2 o'clock there was a magnitude 4.5 event just east of the Askja caldera. Few microearthquakes have been measured there earlier this week.

At 02:50 there was a 5.2 event again in Bardarbunga.

Total events automatically detected from midnight until now are 500, most of them around the tip
of the northward migrating dyke.

Implications of Askja event is still premature to speculate on. However, we are watching the area closely.

There seems to be a slight increase in activity compared to same time. The >M5 events in Bardarbunga are still interpreted as being relaxation process of the caldera due to magma pressure changes and the propagating dyke.

26 August 2014 17:53 - from geoscientist on duty

Just under 900 earthquakes have been detected by the network since midnight, somewhat fewer than at the same time yesterday. The intrusive dike is now about 40 km long. Most of the activity has been near the edge of the glacier. An earthquake M4.6 (EMSC M4.4) occurred at 11:56. Reports were received from Akureyri (a town in northern Iceland) that the earthquake was found there. The earthquakes are mostly on similar depth as before, i.e. 8-12 km. A few were larger than M3. Few earthquakes were located in the Bárðarbunga caldera today.

Hidden intrusion
""
View towards north from the Kverk in Kverkfjöll in June 2004. In the foreground is Kverkjökull, white and flat. Left centrally is the edge of Dyngjujökull, north of which the inrusive dike is migrating. In the background Dyngjufjöll, Kollóttadyngja further, then Hrúthálsar and then mountain Herðubreið which stands apart. Photo: Erik Sturkell.

26 August 2014 15:45 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 260814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining. Currently, three scenarios are considered most likely: 1) The migration of magma could stop, attended by a gradual reduction in seismic activity. 2) The dike could reach the surface of the crust, starting an eruption. In this scenario, it is most likely that the eruption would be near the northern tip of the dike. This would most likely produce an effusive lava eruption with limited explosive, ash-producing activity. 3) An alternate scenario would be the dike reaching the surface where a significant part, or all, of the fissure is beneath the glacier. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity. Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárdarbunga caldera is possible but at present considered to be less likely.

26 August 2014 11:50 - from the Advisory Board of scientists

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland, attend the meetings of the Advisory Board.

The following points were the conclusion at a meeting of the Advisory Board today:

  • Intense seismicity continues. Over 500 events have been recorded since midnight.
  • Seismicity continues to migrate northward. Seismicity is now concentrated on the 10 km long tip of the dike extending 5 km beyond the edge of the Dyngjujökull glacier.
  • At 01:26 this morning an earthquake of magnitude 5,7 was observed beneath the
    Bárðarbunga caldera.
  • The dyke beneath Dyngjujökull is now thought to be close to 40 km long. Modelling
    of GPS data indicates that about 50 million cubic meters of magma have added to the volume in the last 24 hours.
  • There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining. The following three scenarios are still considered most likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, accompanied by a gradual reduction in seismic activity.
    • The dike could reach the surface of the crust, starting an eruption. In this scenario, it is most likely that the eruption would be near the northern tip of the dyke. This would most likely produce an effusive lava eruption with limited explosive, ash-producing activity.
    • An alternate scenario would be the dyke reaching the surface where a significant part, or all, of the fissure is beneath the glacier. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárðarbunga caldera is possible but presently considered to be less likely.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Aviation Color Code remains at the "orange" level.

26 August 2014 06:45 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity continues to be high.

Biggest earthquake in the current swarm was measured this night at 01:26. According to USGS the magnitude was 5.7. The event was localized in the northern/northwestern part of Bardarbunga caldera at 6 km depth.

Most of the seismic activity is close to the rim of Dyngjujokull. The dyke is still migrating to the north and the tip of it is already around 10 km outside of the glacier. Most of the events are at the depth of 8-12 km.

There have been no signs of harmonic tremor.

To be seen
""
Transport to fieldwork 23 August 2014 on Hamarinn and Herðubreið.

25 August 2014 19:09 - from geoscientist on duty

Until 19:00 today, around 1.200 earthquakes have been automatically detected under northwestern Vatnajökull. The vast majority have been around the northernmost tip of the dyke intrusion at Dyngjujökull. The tip of the earthquake cluster has migrated further to 6-7 km north of Dyngjujökull.  More than 20 events at the tip of the intrusion were between M3 and M4.  Event depths are still around 5-12 km, no sign of upwards migration or low frequent tremor. One earthquake  M5.1 occurred within the Bárdarbunga caldera at 16:19 today. Otherwise, little activity has been within the caldera today. See live link to self-updating maps.

25 August 2014 16:00 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 250814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

There are no indications that the intensity of the activity is declining. Currently, three scenarios are considered most likely: 1) The migration of magma could stop, attended by a gradual reduction in seismic activity. 2) The dike could reach the surface of the crust, starting an eruption. In this scenario, it is most likely that the eruption would be near the northern tip of the dike. This would most likely produce an effusive lava eruption with limited explosive, ash-producing activity. 3) An alternate scenario would be the dike reaching the surface where a significant part, or all, of the fissure is beneath the glacier. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity. Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárdarbunga caldera is possible but presently considered to be less likely.

25 August 2014 11:00 - from the Advisory Board of scientists

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland attend the meetings of the Advisory Board.

Presented at a meeting of the Advisory Board at 10 am today:

  • Intense seismicity continues. Over 700 events have been recorded since midnight.
  • Seismicity continues to migrate northward. Seismicity is now concentrated on the 10 km long tip of the dike extending 5 km beyond the edge of the Dyngjujökull glacier.
  • At 20:39 last night an earthquake of magnitude ~5 was observed beneath the Bárðarbunga caldera. Since then earthquakes in the caldera have been smaller.
  • The dike beneath Dyngjujökull is now thought to be close to 35 km long. Modelling of GPS data indicates that it contains about 300 million cubic meters of magma.
  • Additional stations for continuous GPS monitoring will be installed north of Vonarskarð and on Urðarháls within a few days.
  • There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining. Currently, three scenarios are considered most likely:
    • The migration of magma could stop, attended by a gradual reduction in seismic activity.
    • The dike could reach the surface of the crust, starting an eruption. In this scenario, it is most likely that the eruption would be near the northern tip of the dike. This would most likely produce an effusive lava eruption with limited explosive, ash-producing activity.
    • An alternate scenario would be the dike reaching the surface where a significant part, or all, of the fissure is beneath the glacier. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
  • Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárðarbunga caldera is possible but presently considered to be less likely.

From the Icelandic Met Office:

The Icelandic Met Office has decided that the aviation colour code will remain orange.

25 August 2014 08:15 - from geoscientist on duty

At 07:30 UTC about 500 events have been automatically detected. Most of them were along the northern tip of the propagating dike intrusion northeast of Bárðarbunga volcano at about 5 km segment outside the northern margin of the outlet glacier Dyngjujökull.

At the northernmost segment of the dike, nine earthquakes were larger than M3 and three of them about M3.5. The earthquakes' depths are still below 5 km (mostly around 10 km).

No large events were detected at the Bárðarbunga caldera since midnight.

There is no sign of volcanic (harmonic) tremor.

Funny moments
""
Þorgils Ingvarsson and members of a rescue team renew the broadcasting equipment at the peak of mountain Herðubreið, assisted by the helicopter crew of LHG. Photo: Pálmi Erlendsson.

24 August 2014 21:41 - from scientist on duty

Tonight, at 20:39 an earthquake about M 5 occurred at Bárðarbunga. The European-Mediterranean seismological centre, EMSC, estimates the magnitude at 4.9. On the self-updating maps, the earthquake can be seen as a distinctive ring on the caldera's eastern rim. Intense earthquake activity continues, although there is presently no sign of volcanic tremor.

24 August 2014 19:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Until 19:00 today, 24. August, around 1.300 earthquakes have been automatically detected under northwestern Vatnajökull. The vast majority is around the northernmost tip of the dike intrusion at Dyngjujökull.

The tip of the earthquake cluster has migrated throughout the night and today to 4 km north of Dyngjujökull. The propagation of the intrusion was slower than yesterday.

More than 20 events at the tip of the intrusion were stronger than M3, four of them M4-M4.3. Event depths are still around 5-12 km, no sign of upwards migration or low frequent tremor.Following the M5.3 and M5.1 earthquakes in the caldera of Bárðarbunga, one M4.8 (15:00) and several smaller events occurred in the caldera.

Focal mechanisms of the strongest events indicate subsidence of the volcano due to volume decrease underneath, similar to past days.

Self-updating maps

24 August 2014 16:12 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 240814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

There are no indications that the activity is slowing down, and therefore an eruption can not be excluded. Observations show that a sub-glacial eruption did not occur yesterday. The intense low-frequency seismic signal observed yesterday has therefore other explanations. The Icelandic Meteorological Office has decided to move the aviation colour-code from red to orange.

See the aviation colour-codes

24 August 2014 13:30 - the low tremor graph

The intense low-frequency seismic signal observed yesterday is described in another article.

24 August 2014 11:50 - notes from scientists' meeting

  • Earthquake activity in NW-Vatnajökull is still very strong, 700 earthquakes have been observed since midnight and they are somewhat larger than previous days.
  • Two large earthquakes, over 5 where in the Bárðarbunga caldera this night.
  • The activity under Dyngjujökull has propagated northwards and is now mostly under the edge of the glacier, where an earthquake of size 4,2 was recorded this morning.
  • The dike under Dyngjujökull is now estimated to be approximately 30 km long.
  • There are no indications that the activity is slowing down, and therefore an eruption can not be excluded.
  • Observations show that a sub-glacial eruption did not occur yesterday. The intense low-frequency seismic signal observed yesterday has therefore other explanations.
  • The Icelandic Meteorological Office has decided to move the aviation color-code from red to orange.

24 August 2014 06:48 - from geoscientist on duty

Two M5 earthquakes took place in Bárðarbunga caldera during the night:

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake occurred at 5 km depth just after midnight, at 00:09. Its origin was at the northern rim of the caldera. Another earthquake, magnitude about 5, occurred at 05:33 and originated at the southern rim. These are the strongest events measured since the onset of the seismic crisis at Bárðarbunga and the strongest since 1996 (the Gjálp eruption). The magnitude is already confirmed by the European EMSC network and the GEOFON network of GFZ Potsdam in Germany.

Probably, earthquakes near the Bárðarbunga caldera are a consequence of adjustment to changes in pressure because of the flow of magma from under the caldera into the dike which stretches to Dyngjujökull, more than 25 km away.

Great seismic activity is also near the intrusive dike in Dyngjujökull. The activity is concentrated at the section which advanced northwards yesterday morning. Analysis shows that the origin of the quakes, there, has migrated a little towards north. Their depth is mainly in the range of 8-13 km. The largest earthquake in the Dyngjujökull area was 3.5 at 04:39.

No signs of tremor, indicative of eruption, were detected during the night.

Mobile radar
A mobile radar was transferred to the area, 22nd August. Photo: Þorgils Ingvarsson.

23 August 2014 20:30 - notes from scientists

  • At 11:20 UTC today, seismic tremor measurements gave a strong indication that an eruption beneath Dyngjujökull was occurring. Tremor levels decreased during the afternoon, although intense earthquake activity continues.
  • At 14:00 UTC, an over-flight was made to Bárðarbunga by the Icelandic Coastguard with scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland, in addition to a representative from the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.
  • The over-flight covered the north-western region of the Vatnajökull ice-cap in clear conditions. Both visual observations and radar measurements confirmed no significant changes on the surface of Vatnajökull. Likewise, there were no signs of floodwater draining from the ice margin.
  • During three hours of aerial surveillance, there were no obvious signs of volcanic activity.
  • In light of the intense, ongoing earthquake activity and crustal deformation at Bárðarbunga, the Icelandic Meteorological Office has decided that the aviation colour-code should remain ‘red', signifying that an eruption is either imminent or in progress. The situation will be reassessed tomorrow morning.

23 August 2014 17:08 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 230814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

The aviation color code has been raised to "red" as the data is currently interpreted as a subglacial eruption. Both the thickness of the ice at the possible contact point (100-400 m) and the volume of lava in possible contact with ice are highly uncertain. It could be 0-20 hours before lava reaches the surface of the ice. It is also possible that the lava will not break through the ice, and the eruption could remain subglacial.

23 August 2014 14:10 - a small eruption under Dyngjujökull suspected

  • A small lava-eruption has been detected under the Dyngjujökull glacier. (Note: on IMO's Icelandic web-site this point read "is suspected"; see corrections in English later this day).
  • The Icelandic Coast Guard airplane TF-SIF is flying over the area with representatives from the Civil Protection and experts from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences. Data from the equipment on board is expected later today.
  • Data from radars and web-cameras is being received, showing no signs of changes at the surface.
  • The estimate is that 150-400 meters of ice is above the area.
  • The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.
  • Some minutes ago (14:04), an earthquake occurred, estimated 4.5 in magnitude.

23 August 2014 12:20 - notes from the scientists' meeting

Intense earthquake activity continues at the Bárðarbunga volcano – a situation that has persisted since 16 August.

During the last 6 hours the dike has propagated ~5 km to the north. The rate of earthquakes has increased such that they are happening so quickly that it is difficult for the seismologist to discern individual events. Observed high frequency tremor is interpreted to be caused by the propagation of the dike.

Some larger earthquakes of magnitude 3 - 4 have been measured in the Bárðarbunga caldera in the last days. These events in the Bárðarbunga caldera are interpreted as adjustments related to decompression in the caldera since the beginning of the unrest.

Most recent GPS data shows that magma flow is continuing.

The Coast Guard TF SIF aircraft is taking off by 13:00 to make observations with scientists from Icelandic Met Office, the Institute of Earth Sciences, and people from the Civil Protection.

A tourist plane called in at noon to report no visible changes at the surface.

Current winds: weak winds at low levels. At higher levels winds are northerly (towards the south).
Hydrological measurements at Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Upptypingar, do not indicate a contribution of geothermal/volcanic gases to the hydrological system that is outside of the typical range observed in the last decade.

The activity continues and an eruption can therefore not be ruled out.

The aviation colour-code for the Bárðarbunga volcano remains unchanged at ‘orange', and we are continuously evaluating if this should be changed. The volcano is exhibiting heightened levels of unrest.

22 August 2014 17:00 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 220814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

There are no measurements to suggest that an eruption is imminent. Previous intrusion events in Iceland have lasted for several days or weeks, often not resulting in an eruption. However an eruption of Bárðarbunga cannot presently be excluded, hence the intense monitoring and preparation efforts. The ongoing monitoring and assessment effort is necessary in case a volcanic eruption occurs. Hazards in the event of an eruption are being assessed, including a glacial outburst flood and dispersal of volcanic ash. Additional seismic, GPS and hydrological stations have been installed in the Bárðarbunga region. Likewise, mobile radars capable of monitoring ash dispersal have been moved to the region. The aviation colour-code for the Bárðarbunga volcano remains unchanged at ‘orange', signifying that the volcano is exhibiting heightened levels of unrest.

Bárðarbunga
""
View to Bárðarbunga. Web camera M&T ehf.

22 August 2014 13:00 - notes from the scientists' meeting

Intense earthquake activity continues at the Bárðarbunga volcano – a situation that has persisted since 16 August. There are no signs that the seismicity is decreasing. A 25 km long dike has formed in the crust under the Dyngjujökull glacier at 5-10 km depth. Interpretation of the latest data suggests that the magma continues to move along the dike, possibly branching at the northeast end of the dike.

One earthquake of magnitude 4.7 was measured in the Bárðarbunga caldera at 4 km depth yesterday evening at 23:50. This large event was at similar location as earthquakes of magnitude larger than three that were seen yesterday. Large events in Bárðarbunga are interpreted as adjustments of the caldera rim related to decompression in the caldera since the beginning of the unrest. The activity continues and an eruption can therefore not be ruled out.

There are no signs of increased conductivity through geothermal activity into the rivers.

From the beginning of the activity, measurements done with GPS have shown displacements on the surface of over 14 cm, 15 - 20 km from Dyngjuháls. In comparison, Iceland on the whole is spreading at the rate of about 2 cm pr. year.

A new GPS station in Kverkfjöll is now running and sending data. Similar seismic instruments were installed by Kverkfjöll yesterday, as well as close to the GPS station at Hamarinn, which was set up two days ago. In addition, two seismic stations set up in Dyngjujökull yesterday are collecting data on site. This work is done in collaboration between IMO, the Institute of Earth Sciences and collaborators in the European FutureVolc research project.

The aviation colour-code for the Bárðarbunga volcano remains unchanged at ‘orange', signifying that the volcano is exhibiting heightened levels of unrest.

22 August 2014 06:40 - from geoscientist on duty

Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga and Dyngjujökull is still great. It diminished somewhat after two o‘clock in the morning. Almost 400 quakes have been detected by the automatic network since midnight and, as in recent days, the majority of them is located east of Bárðarbunga, next to the intrusion. Most of the manually processed earthquakes turn out to be at great depth, 8-12 km, but a few at the very northeastern tip of the intrusion have been positioned at shallower depths, up to just under 4 km.

Just before midnight, 21st August at 23:50:22, an earthquake occurred at Bárðarbunga which measured 4.7-4.8 in magnitude. Another one reached M3. During the last days quite a number of quakes has been detected within the Bárðarbunga caldera, or on the rims, at a depth of 2-6 km. Probably these earthquakes derive from changes in pressure when magma is drawn eastward into the huge intrusion and away from the magma chamber under the caldera.

Jökulsá á Fjöllum
""
This is where the cirle road around Iceland, road nr. 1, crosses river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, not far from farm Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum. This bridge might come under severe strain if the Bárðarbunga seismic phase leads to an eruption and a glacial outburst flood: A grave concern for the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. Just south of this bridge is a closed area for safety reasons. Photo: Þorsteinn Þorsteinsson.

21 August 2014 17:00 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 210814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

There are no measurements to suggest that an eruption is imminent. Previous intrusion events in Iceland have lasted for several days or weeks, often not resulting in an eruption. However an eruption of Bárðarbunga cannot presently be excluded, hence the intense monitoring and preparation efforts. The ongoing monitoring and assessment effort is necessary in case a volcanic eruption occurs. Hazards in the event of an eruption are being assessed, including a glacial outburst flood and dispersal of volcanic ash. Additional seismic, GPS and hydrological stations have been installed in the Bárðarbunga region. Likewise, mobile radars capable of monitoring ash dispersal have been moved to the region. The aviation colour-code for the Bárðarbunga volcano remains unchanged at ‘orange', signifying that the volcano is exhibiting heightened levels of unrest.

21 August 2014 15:00 - a few facts

Today, three earthquakes exceeding 3 in magnitude have occurred on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga (M 3.7 at 10:29, M 4.0 at 10:58 and M 3.4 at 13:02). These earthquakes were at depths around 2 - 5 km. They are interpreted as possible adjustments of the caldera due to changing magma pressure – they are not assumed to be the precursor to an imminent eruption.

21 August 2014 12:00 - notes from the scientists' meeting

  • No signs of diminishing activity around Bárðarbunga
  • An intrusion, 25 km long, has formed beneath Dyngjujökull, at a depth of 5-10 km
  • The aircraft TF-SIF, from the Icelandic Coast Guard, is now available for scientists
  • The aviation colour code is still orange

The seismic activity in Bárðarbunga, first noticed 16th August, has maintained its strength and there are no signs of its retreat. Deformation measurements, GPS, indicate that a 25 km long intrusion is forming underneath Dyngjujökull. Earthquake measurements support the conclusion that the magma is still at 5-10 km depth. There are no signs of upward migration of the activity.

Collateral interpretation of the latest data suggests that the intrusion is expanding at its northeastern end, whereas its length has only increased a little in the last 24 hours.

In the Bárðarbunga caldera, where it all started, earthquakes still occur; probably because of slight subsidence due to the outward flow of magma from the magma-chamber under the caldera.

The measuring network in the area is being improved; just now technicians from the Icelandic Met Office, from the Institute of Earth Sciences and from foreign research institutions are mounting additional equipment on the ice-cap and at its margin. Already, many devices which have been implanted in recent years as part of the international FutureVolc project, are running and providing important information which has been useful in both monitoring and analysis of these events.

Yesterday, a reconnaissance flight was made over the area with the Icelandic Coast Guard. The aircraft TF-SIF, now dedicated to these events, has specialised equipment on board for monitoring changes in the surface of the ice-cap and monitoring outburst floods. No signs of change were detected during this flight. With open access to this aircraft, which was withdrawn from its current tasks at the Mediterranean, scientist are now in a much better position to monitor possible volcanic activity and flooding.

20 August 2014 17:05 - status report

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 200814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

There have been no observations of migration to the surface or any other signs of imminent or ongoing volcanic activity. We cannot exclude that the current activity will result in an explosive subglacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood (jökulhlaup) and ash emission.

19 August 2014 20:00 - from geoscientist on duty

Around 1.000 small earthquakes have been detected in the Bárðarbunga region since midnight today. All of them were smaller than magnitude 3 and most were located in the cluster east of Bárðarbunga. While the northern cluster close to Kistufell has calmed down significantly following the M4.5 earthquake on early Monday morning, event rates in the eastern cluster are still high. Similar to recent days, two pulses of comparably strong seismic activity have been measured between 04:00 and 08:00 this morning, as well as 16:00 and 18:30 in the afternoon. The cluster east of Bárðarbunga continued to slowly migrate northeastwards today. Events are still located at around 5-12 km depths, no sign of upwards migration has been seen so far. A map of these events was given in a news-article on our front page.

19 Agust 2014 13:36 - earthquakes 1991-2014

This graph shows the yearly number of earthquakes from the onset of seismic measurements at Bárðarbunga in 1991. The blue dashed line shows the number of all measured earthquakes but the red line shows the number of earthquakes above 1.5 in magnitude.

During these years, the measuring net has improved and become more sensitive. That is the reason for showing the larger earthquakes separately.

""

18 August 2014 20:45 - An overview of the first three days

Since the onset of the earthquake swarm at Bárðarbunga on Saturday morning, around 2.600 earthquakes have been detected with the earthquake monitoring network of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO). Throughout the whole sequence the majority of events has been at 5-10km depth. No signs of migration towards the surface or any other signs of imminent or ongoing volcanic activity have been detected. IMO is monitoring the area closely and will update in case of any changes. A more thorough overview was given in a news-article on the front page.

17 August 2014 - a field trip

At 10 a.m. on Sunday the 17th the Board of scientists decided, because of the intense seismic activity in Bárðarbunga, to attempt to install a seismometer closer to the swarm.

The Icelandic Met Office has been preparing the installation of two permanent seismic stations in the Vatnajökull ice cap as a part of the FutureVolc project. As a part of the preparation, two test sites were set up last January. One was installed at Dyngjujökull and the other at Brúarjökull. On these two locations, equipment for power generation and communication were installed.

Since the infrastructure at the Dyngjujökull test site had been working well, it was chosen as the ideal location for the installation of the new seismometer, which was loaned by the University of Cambridge, a partner in the FutureVolc project. At 16:00, only six hours after the decision was made, the Icelandic Coast Guard's helicopter left towards the ice cap.

A stop was made at Grímsfjall and a technician repaired the web cameras that are located there. Next they headed to Dyngjujökull where technicians from IMO and the Institute of Earth Sciences, and a scientist from the University of Cambridge, installed the seismometer. The manager of the Civil Protection of NCIP participated in this field trip as well. The installation was successful and only two hours later data was streaming to the Icelandic Met Office.

It is quite an achievement to install a seismometer on Vatnajökull on such short notice and it would not have been possible without well trained employees, good access to equipment and the goodwill of the Icelandic Coast Guard.

From Dyngjujökull
""
Dyngjujökull. View from IMO's web-camera. Field trip 17 August 2014.
On Dyngjujökull
""
Bergur H. Bergsson working on Dyngjujökull 17 August 2014. Photo: Þorbjörg Ágústsdóttir.

16 August 2014 19:49 - Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga

Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has increased. A seismic swarm has been ongoing since 03AM this morning, and near continuous earthquakes have been occurring since then. The depths of earthquakes in the present swarm are in the upper crust and their magnitudes are mainly around 1.5; a few earthquakes are of magnitude greater than ML3.

Long-term seismic and GPS data indicate that there is increased unrest in the northwestern region of Vatnajökull glacier, where Bárðarbunga is located.

Over the last seven years seismic activity has been gradually increasing in Bárðarbunga and the fissure swarm north of the volcano. This activity dropped down at the Grímsvötn eruption in May 2011, but soon after, the activity started to gradually increase again and has now reached similar level of activity to that just before the Grímsvötn eruption. Earlier this year, in the middle of May 2014, there was a small swarm of over 200 events and now the present swarm has already generated at least 300 earthquakes.

Since early June 2014, displacements at GPS stations around Vatnajökull  show velocity changes that point to activity below Bárðarbunga.

Together, these two systems indicate magma movements in Bárðarbunga. At 15:00 on August 16, there is no unequivocal indication that magma has reached the surface.

Earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano color coded according to time of occurrence.

Displacements at the GPS stations at Dyngjuháls and at Hamarinn.

An introduction to Bárðarbunga

There are about 30 known central volcanoes, or volcanic systems, in Iceland. Bárðarbunga, the second highest mountain of Iceland; ca 2000 meters above sea-level, is one of them. The volcano is placed at the north-west of the Vatnajökull ice cap and therefore covered with ice.

The enormous size and nature of Bárðarbunga was not fully recognized until it was observed on a satellite image taken 800 km above earth. A caldera in the volcano's crown, 11 km long on the longer side, is covered with approximately 850 m thick glacial ice. Eruptions related to the central volcano can occur anywhere in the caldera, on the sides of the volcano and also in the fissure swarms to the NA and SW of the volcano, for a distance up to 100 km from the central volcano.

Inevitably, immense eruptions and explosive eruptions are a possibility in the system with imminent threat of ice melting in great magnitude causing a huge jökulhlaup (glacial outburst flood). It is presumed that Jökulsárgljúfur and Ásbyrgi were created in such cataclysmic events in prehistoric times. Large jökulhlaup in Kelduhverfi in the 17th century are believed to be related to volcanic activity in Bárðarbunga. 

Over the last seven years seismic activity has been gradually increasing in Bárðarbunga and the fissure swarm north of the volcano. This activity dropped down at the Grímsvötn eruption in May 2011, but soon after, the activity started to gradually increase again. A chapter from a work in progress, the risk assessment of volcanoes in Iceland, is available: Bárðarbunga system (pdf 1.0 Mb).

Vatnajökull 1973
""
Landsat 1 satellite image from NASA, 22.09.1973. Vatnajökull: Bárðarbunga top left, place names at LMI.




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