Minor eruption confirmed in Bárðarbunga volcano

Short update. This information is going to get outdated quickly.

A small eruption has started in Bárðarbunga volcano. So far this is just a minor eruption. So far the eruption is under the glacier.

I am going to post more information when I know more.

93 Replies to “Minor eruption confirmed in Bárðarbunga volcano”

    1. Calm before the storm 😉

      I’m guessing now it has reached the surface, more violent events will follow until the pressure subsides either due to a decrease in activity, or is released through one or more eruptions.

      At least that’s my non-expert guess.

    2. Well, remember ice weighs about 7 and change per pound. There are 1200 meters of ice on top of it and thats not adding in the compressional to it. E.g. Pile weight and direction and it weighs so much per square foot and its starting to push it out of the way. Its also on a 25 km dyke and brother, thats a long way in the volcano business.

      Thats literally tons per square foot and its just sweeping and melting it as it goes. If its coming to the surface you need to give it about another 2-3 days. After that we should really start to know what we have. I would in all of the EU start to stock up on gas, water, generators, chainsaws. If this breaches going into winter there wont be anything to counter it with. Ash, gases, all are going to shut it down and then the big one comes in and shuts it down… Iron.

      Plankton eats iron. Plankton blooms cool the earth so an already cooling earth is cooled by a much more cooling plankton load hitting the water. All Hell could happen in the EU.

      Glaciation?

      1. Right now there is a lot of down playing of this potential eruption. Its seems there’s a consensus that it won’t be as explosive (phreatic) as Eyja in April 2010 and that this eruption will most likely be small. Every where I turn, this is the message. Vulcanologists don’t want to say things like you are or appear alarmist, as their reputation is on the line. They look better at the end of the day if they say the opposite yet throw in a caveat that there is the risk of a larger or longer eruption (cya). They do risk, however, being dismissive and cavalier.

        The thing is, no_body_knows, so why are the hyperbole? To calm fears and not disrupt economies, travel, etc, etc. My thinking is that this is going to take years to play out. This plumbing system is massive and geological events can take years to play out. I’m sure back in 1783, they were saying, this will stop soon. Ya, right.

      2. M Kruger, lets just say, I bought a very large quantity of EPV in case. EU MCSI Index is headed down anyway, no brainer.

  1. Finally the webcam is back on, so those were not dust devils, seems the eruption is outside of the glacier? Just in front of the webcam? Or is this just some geothermal activity?

    1. Whistler, I got a quick view before I lost the cam and I think you are right. Maybe that whole area is very hot and caused the dust to rise. If anyone gets through to a cam please post a screen shot of the activity. I will do the same if I get through again.

      1. It does not look like dust. It looks like gasses escaping, possibly from heating of the crust, possible out of the magma itself. This is certainly the early phase of the eruption.

      2. Sander, That’s what I think. Maybe heated water from underground. Phreatomagmatic degassing .

      3. According to those in the area, like Ómar Ragnarsson (Icelands national treasure 😉 ) and those on TF-SIF (the Coast Guards helicopter), that’s a dust storm. The eruption has still not reached the surface, and as of yet there have not been any reports of visible changes in the glacier.

    2. Webcam has just come up – looks like a static image. I can see what looks like two plumes some distance apart. It was clear when I looked yesterday

  2. There is clearly smoke rising in Mila webcam. The other site is down, and Mila shows just stills, even when its streaming camera. I guess lot of web traffic. There is at least 3 spots where the smoke is rising from. Are those somekind of vents?

    Mila webcam is so slow that it takes more than minute to update the picture. They need more bandwidth 🙂

  3. I have two webcams up, a lot of smoke issuing from two main locations on the valley floor, presumably the fissure. It looks as though magma is going to break through as the smoke has been periodically getting very dense at the surface. There was one large puff of smoke that looked like it was emitted at great speed (explosive), and then it subsided back to general smoke. Getting denser all the time.

  4. Just seen the Bardabunga webcam, looks like a dust storm.
    Reminded me of the one we were caught in on a bus in Iceland 4 years ago… couldn’t see anything at times!

  5. Three M3+ EQ’s in the fissure.

    Can the worlds press reading Jons site please remember he runs this out of his own pocket.

    Please please donate to him to help him keep this site keep going. You all turn to it when there is a story, but there are long gaps between so he needs your help!

    1. The flight risk level is RED. The prevailing winds are from Iceland to Northern Europe right now. Whether it disrupts air traffic depends on the winds, the level of phreatic eruption and how high the eruption plume travels, how thick the icecap is in the area of the eruptions (estimate to be 150-400km), how fine the ash is, , how long it erupts under the right conditions. So you see, there are a lot of variables. From my reading on vulcanologist’s blogs, they don’t anticipate this being a very big disruption to European air traffic as the ash is not anticipated to be very fine. However, in time, the eruption could migrate to the SW near other volcano’s that do have fine ash.

      1. Thanks for your information. We especially wanted to see Aldeyarfoss, Detti- and Sellfoss again … we will see, what is going to happen the next day …
        For the moment, the bigger problem seems to be Lufthansa, pilots think about a strike …

  6. Bárðarbunga and Dyngjujökull. The last Vulcano is not easy to pronounce. Dust became smoke. Intresting.

    1. Was watching this from first thing this morning. Started like the dust trail from a 4×4, gradually grew and started in second area from a v shaped area. Looked like steam from hydrothermal earlier, but has progressed all day. Just a matter of time before firework accompaniment – it cant be far below as some of the smoke puffs have been very dense.

  7. How far from the glacier is this web cam? If that is a fissure it is very long. The main eruption is under the ice.

  8. Any thoughts on likely air travel disruption? Due to fly from UK to Italy on Monday.

  9. I suspected that to. Than the latest tremor peak came it was all seald. Dyngjujökull. Google translate gives something like
    glacier chamber.

    1. Jon gets 5-10% of the sale depending on factors. Now that traffic is being driven to his site, please remember to support Jon and his site and all his work under very tough conditions. The best thing you can do is to send links to his site so others can join in in this evolving story.

    2. It’s also easy to sent money to his Bankaccount. I do this reguarly since two years I think.
      Good Luck Jon! Maybe you got new volcanoe Lovers for your site.

  10. My geophone at Böðvarshólar is down due to hard drive failure (I think). I am trying to fix it temporarily . I hope to have permanent fix on this later today, at the latest tomorrow.

  11. There appears to be no activity between the two volcanoes now. Is it over apart from the collapse activity?

    1. Great looking animation, thanks for posting. Webcam link working fine for me too here in Scotland.

  12. Can any body explain what quality means on earthquake. As example
    Date Time Latitude Longitude Depth Magnitude Quality Location
    Saturday
    23.08.2014 15:57:57 64.767 -16.941 5.4 km 2.1 50.6 12.8 km E of Kistufell
    Thanks for your help guys
    Sascha

    1. Quality of an earthquake means the number of SIL stations detected the number is equal to given magnitude. If the quality is lower, it means that fewer SIL stations recorded the earthquake then it’s magnitude says they should. Lower quality means more chance for errors and wrong magnitude estimate by the automatic system.

    1. If the the activity under the second smaller volcano is only due to the intrusion coming from the first much bigger one and the activity at the first one is ending and we are just seeing collapse activity then essentially it is over apart from whatever activity arises from the newly arrived magma at the second one. Thats my theory at the moment anyway!

    1. After you messaged me back on Twitter and told me it was a dust storm, I watched for a while longer, and sure enough I saw a couple of dust devils get whipped up in addition to the blowing dust.

      A lot of ice has to get melted through before we see any steam or ash, right?

      1. The glacier were the current eruption took place is estimated to have thickness around 400 meters. It it less as it gets closer to the end of glacier for obvious reasons.

        If next eruption is in area that is not covered by glacier we are going to see lava eruption with cinder cone formations.

    1. It seems to be Vaðalda, an old shield volcano southwest of the Dyngjufjöll. Looking over the alluvial plain of the Jökulsá to the Dyngjujökull and Kistufell on the right side.

  13. Interesting how the last mag 3+ quakes near Kistufell are lined up in a row.

  14. Thanks for your information. We especially wanted to see Aldeyarfoss, Detti- and Sellfoss again … we will see, what is going to happen the next day …
    For the moment, the bigger problem seems to be Lufthansa, pilots think about a strike …

  15. This i read on Austrian News Homepage:
    According to a press release of the Icelandic weather and seismological Vedurstofa have the European and North American continental plate in the area shifted within a few days to 20 centimeters.

    Normally, move the land masses on the running across Iceland Continental column more than two centimeters per year and result in a growth of the North Atlantic island. Experts assess the sudden increase continental movement according Icelandic Internet reports as “dramatic”.

    1. Is there a source? Sounds incredibly unlikely as that sort of rapid movement should have caused some rather dramatic earthquakes?!

    2. How much of the plate has moved? My understanding was that the 20cm related to the fissure itself, I would be astonished if it refers to a much larger section of the MAR

  16. The Bardarbunga GPS has moved around 14cm to the west since the earthquakes started. You also have movement to the east on the other side.

  17. Magnitude 4 has just rattled Bardarbunga 1,1 km depth…. that’s a big blast at such a shallow depth

      1. Both a M4.2 and M4 are now showing as “verified”. This might be the start of phreatic activity I have been looking for. Might mean magma is making contact with subsurface water.

  18. 2 x M4 and M4.2 went through .. 1.1km and 0.9km respectively 34mins ago – confirmed …. now that’s not a positive sign …..

    1. Where are you getting your stats Fiona?

      Smoke increasing on webcam as we are losing the light. Very pale, would have assumed this was steam if it was dissipating, but it isn’t.

      1. Ok ta, I have that site, didn’t spot those EQ’s coming in.

        NB Mila seem to be trying to put up a second webcam, Bardarbunga 2 but I’m just getting a 404 page when I click it.

      2. Hi John,
        I’m getting Bardarbunga 2 now. Shaky cam! But interesting nonetheless.

  19. I don’t know enough about Volcanoes to watch the Volcano, so I’ve been watching you volcano watchers. (I love the site BTW)

    You guys seem to have passed through interested straight through excited, and now some of you are starting to sound quite concerned.

    Realistically, how bad do you think this thing might this turn out to be?

    1. Look back 8500 years for worst case scenario. Could still die down, but underlying indications are that this could go really bad if the Caldera collapses. How bad? Historically bad, you could be watching history in the making.

  20. A couple of Mag 4’s right in the caldera a short while back but what also catches my eye is the ongoing activity under the NE-trending fissure, that does’nt seem to have slackened off. Are we potentially looking at eruptions from both the main caldera and the fissure? That could get somewhat interesting!

    1. Addendum: Looks like they revised it down, in the time since posting the red line is way down, in line with normal parameters.

  21. A question: Are there any monitoring stations for things like SO2 that post data in something close to near real time? Only thing I can find has data several days old. Seeing elevated SO2 and CO2 emissions is going to be another key indicator

  22. Let me guess: you are from the US. Hear those things from you guys all the time, sound very paranoid all the time for my central european ears (yeah THE so called old europe).

    Jon: great page, hope to get out of Island on monday

  23. Do the Mag 5+ quakes indicate a new chapter in the Bardabunga episode? They look like they are under the caldera (if my geography is correct) which would indicate something more going on.

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