Status update on Askja and Bárðarbunga at 18:35 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

For the media (news) please note! I am not a professional geologist. I got all the same knowledge as they do, but I am not a professional geologist. For professional view on what is going on please contact Icelandic Met Office or University of Iceland, Geology department.

Askja volcano

This is the current information that I got on Askja volcano.

  • Dyke from Bárðarbungu volcano continues into Askja volcano. It has slowed down according to reports from yesterday. I have not seen any reports on its process today.
  • Earthquake activity is increasing in Askja volcano. This is due to effects from the dyke.
  • Askja continues to be on Yellow alert status.

Bárðarbunga volcano

This are current informations that I got on Bárðarbunga volcano.

  • The eruption is over for now. It only lasted 3 – 4 hours.
  • This eruption was only lava. No or almost no volcano ash was put into the atmosphere. Some water vapour was seen (the white clouds) after the eruption ended.
  • The eruption took place in a fissure that last erupted in the year 1797. That eruption created Holuhraun lava field. This eruption took place in a crater row.
  • The eruption fissure was 900 meters long according to news in Iceland today.
  • Earthquake activity dropped while the eruption took place. It has increased again. I did see on my geophones an earthquake swarm as the eruption reached its peak.
  • This is the first time I see an eruption in a older crater row. This might be normal for this area of Iceland.
  • Future eruptions can happen at any time while current activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • Largest earthquakes today was a magnitude 5,2 earthquake, second largest earthquake today was a magnitude 4,8 and third largest earthquake today was a magnitude 4,1.
  • Earthquake activity continues to be high, with over 900 earthquakes recorded so far today (according to my earthquake counter).
  • Harmonic tremor is on same level as it has been on since 16-August-2014.

Analyse of the eruption

The eruption started around 00:02 UTC, when it was first visible on Míla web cameras. I was notified of this by a person watching the cameras over Facebook around 00:30 UTC. According to Rúv news and other news sources the eruption peaked at 01:20 UTC. It was over around 04:00 UTC. The volume this eruption placed on the surface was minor, it had no impact on the magma that is in the dyke. Future eruptions on this fissure cannot be ruled out. As stated above last eruption took place on this same fissure in the year 1797.

This is the second confirmed eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano since this started. With the first one being on 23-August-2014. When a similar minor eruption took place. That eruption was under glacier (up to 600 meters of it) and was not observed for that reason. This new period of activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is possibly going to last for years, if only based on the volcano eruption history as it is documented on Global Volcanism Program website. I am at least preparing to write about Bárðarbunga for a long time now.

I am going to write notification about new eruptions soon as I become aware of them. The weather forecast for the next few days is not good. So visibility is going to be limited in the area close to Bárðarbunga.

Images of the new lava and mixture of old and new craters can be found here.

Article updated at 18:43 UTC.
Article updated at 18:51 UTC.
Article updated at 19:10 UTC.
Article updated at 15:14 UTC on 30-August-2014.

Update on Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes at 22:21 UTC

This is a short update on Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes. This information is going to get outdated quickly. I am not going to use pictures from now on (in most cases), since the situation now is complex and is going to go more complex as this goes on.

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Askja volcano

  • The dyke from Bárðarbunga volcano continues its journey into Askja. It has not yet reached Askja magma chamber. When that is going to happen is unclear at the moment.
  • Activity has been picking up in Askja due to stress changed from the dyke.

 Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Dyke activity continues at similar rate as before. It is now moving about 1 – 2 km a day according to latest news. The dyke has reached Askja volcano main system, it has not reached Askja main magma chamber. Once that is breached earthquake activity along with harmonic tremor in Askja is going to trough the roof.
  • Eruption on 23-August-2014 has been confirmed. It only lasted for 1 – 2 hours before it died down. I think current ideas why it happened are wrong. From my perspective it happened due to magma pressure inside Bárðarbunga magma chamber reaching a high point (highest so far). This did mean that the dyke was not able to tap off the magma chamber at fast enough rate for a short while. Allowing magma to breach the crust at other locations. While this was a short event, this suggests that magma is coming into Bárðarbunga magma chamber at depth. So far the volume that is flowing in is low for the moment. I suspect that might change at any time and without any warning.
  • The reason why the ice cauldron did not appear sooner is that it took the water some time to dig its own path trough the glacier. Why it did go to Grímsvötn lake (Grímsfjall volcano) I do not knwo.
  • Earthquake activity remains high in the north end of the dyke. Earthquake activity is present in Bárðarbunga volcano (main volcano), but it is not constant at the moment. That might change without warning.
  • No dyke activity so far going south of Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • Cracks appearing in the crust suggest that the dyke depth is only about 2 km at most. This has also allowed for groundwater warning up in areas. This has been seen under areas were the glacier is thin. This is creating hot springs and hydrothermal areas along the dyke path.
  • Inflation so far is around 40 cm to the east and west. There is nothing to suggest it is going to slow down at the moment.
  • This might be a long eruption once it starts. How long I do not know. At most some years, as has happened in Bárðarbunga volcano in the past.
  • Today there has been minor “quiet” time in Bárðrabunga. Harmonic tremor has been stable and no cycle of up and down has taken place. In my view that might change in next hours. I am already seeing changes in the tremor plot that suggest this.

The situation is highly dynamic and is going to change rapidly at times. So this information is going to get outdated quickly for that reason. For wind, weather and earthquake information in Iceland please check Iceland Met Office website. My geophone website can be viewed here.

Article updated at 23:33 UTC.