Update on Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes at 17:49 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

This is the weekend edition of my regular updates on activity in Bárðarbunga and Askja volcano. They are shorter and might not contain all the information on what is going on.

Current status on Askja volcano

  • Askja continues to be on Yellow alert.
  • Dyke does not seems to have any progress moving into Askja volcano system. Reason why that is are unknown.
  • Earthquake activity appears to have dropped in Askja for the past 24 hour period.

Current status on Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Largest earthquake for the past 24 hours is a magnitude 5,4 earthquake that took place at 07:03 UTC. It took place in south-west part of Bárðarbunga volcano. It did appear clearly on my geophones and they can be viewed here.
  • Eruption has been confirmed to have taken place on 23-August-2014. That eruption did not manage to break the trough the glacier since it is 400 to 600 meters thick were the eruption took place.
  • Most earthquake activity is taking place on 15 km long line in the Dyke, starting at the location were the eruption took place and goes some 15 km south from that location. Dyke does not seems to be moving north at the moment.
  • Eruption is now considered more likely in Bárðarbunga volcano it self than before.
  • Last large eruption that took place in Bárðarbunga volcano was in 1717. According to Global Volcanism Program that eruption was an VEI 3 eruption.
  • Eruption can happen in slopes of Bárðarbunga volcano, also in its caldera. The glacier in the caldera is up to 800 meters thick (+- 100 meters).
  • Earthquake activity is stable, with over 1000 to 2000 earthquakes recorded daily so far.

GPS data

Icelandic Met Office has released GPS data and it can be viewed here.

Storm warning

There is going to be a storm in Iceland on Sunday. This means fewer earthquakes are going to be detected due the wind noise.

News bits in English

Eruption at Bardarbunga now more likely (Rúv.is)
Fresh ice cracks in Bárðarbunga? (mbl.is)

Updates during the weekend

I am going to post updates during the weekends. I do however need to take a little break since I’ve been working and writing about Bárðarbunga for the past two weeks. So updates on weekends are going to be shorter and less detailed than on working days (Monday – Fridays). If eruption happens I am going to post information about that eruption soon as I become aware of it and details soon as possible.

Article updated at 17:52 UTC.
Article updated at 18:10 UTC.
Article updated at 19:01 UTC. I corrected information about the dyke earthquake location.

206 Replies to “Update on Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes at 17:49 UTC”

  1. Just a hint to people trying to see steam in the webcams: if what you see has a slightly yellow colour it’s dust or sand. On dry weather with some wind there can be a real sandstorm in that area with visibility lower than 100m. I’ve been driving through such conditions there in summer 2012…

  2. Jon, Can you briefly explain why a Bárðarbunga eruption is more likely now? Is it because the caldera has become unstable (the large quakes)? Is the caldera inflating or deflating? i.e Is there fresh magma flowing in to it or is its contents spilling into the fissure?

    1. I am not sure what they base there view on yet. But the earthquake activity clearly says that something is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano it self. It also has already had one eruption so far. Regardless of dyke movement.

      They think so far the earthquakes happens due to deflation of the caldera. If that is actually the case is not yet confirmed. I am sure new GPS data are going to show a better picture on what is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano.

      1. According to the GPS data the Met Office just published there is movement away from the Bárðabunga caldera. One would think deflation would cause movement in the opposite direction (towards the caldera) … but what do I know 😉

  3. To me it’s like it’s just playing with us,but in the end something has to give. Keep up the good work Jon.

  4. Is there any way to get a web cam on a rope down in the ice cracks ?
    Would be pretty dangerous right now, but if it steadies out over the next couple months…

    Thought there was a team in Italy that was testing that tech in Africa right now, and has made it 800 meters. It is for standard geo stratification studies on vertical cliffs, but may have fine enough resolution to work for a baseline to compare to other cores.

    Wondering if the compaction rate is different on the ice fracture lines, kirst? compaction and closing.

    Would be pretty fantastic to have a slow vid crawl down thru those ice layers, and even a couple samples for methanogens would be pretty fantastic science too…

  5. Does anyone know the orientation of the Mali webcams? I understand they are northeast of Bordarbunga, but in what compass direction are they looking?

    1. Where the Barda-cam-2 is in its most right position, behind the blowing dust, there is a line of steam. I agree! The tremor plots had a needle up, when this appeared first.

  6. Find it interesting that after I post a comment yesterday about the deformation going on and how widespread it is, that IMO releases info on that. That’s good though because it is an important feature of what’s going on. IMHO this is major. Am I wrong? Or is type of widespread deformation normal?

  7. There was some short change in tremor. Looked like an eruption type of tremor, but it has died down already. I don’t think anything was visible on the surface.

    The dyke is heating up ground water were it located. Since maximum depth to it is only 2 km. It might even be a lot shallower at certain locations. So hydrothermal activity might be starting to appear on the surface were ground water is being warmed up.

  8. Can anyone send me a link of a working webcam? I keep getting: no connection with server. Grrrrr….

    1. There is a new (and much better) livestream webcam, etc. on Youtube. Run by burre01. So far (fingers crossed) comments are not too inane.

  9. Last Sunday I was captivated watching the data and info and comments. Purely from an amatuer having read all the comments and data, my view is there will be an odd fissure break through, but there will need to be consistent activity for the glacier to flood. As the flow of magma has slowed and the dyke has stopped, only a regenaration of
    magma from below will blow Baroarbunga.
    Good work Jon…stick to your beliefs.
    “Unmentionable”…..you are clearly an educated man. Could you make your posts a bit easier to read please?

  10. There looks to be two points of steam now show in the background of the cam. Could the fissure be active again and this time longer?

  11. I try to see B volcano and I got it today and watched it for maybe an hour. I dont think its live video – when I clicked again I couldnt get it.
    Sometimes I get the video – other times I cant.
    THANK YOU Jon for all you do! I am posting your comments in my 2 blogs!

  12. Janet: bardarbunga camera 2, most right position, and behind fog line, just left to the big mountain in background (which is called Kistufell by the way), that’s where Friday eruption occurred and has been steaming since then. It’s not a new site of steaming, it’s where the eruption happened.

  13. Thanks Irpsit for expaining , I did not realise it was still steaming I thought this was new activity.

  14. Jon, Do you think the dike that seems to have entered Askja, could in fact had already got past Askja a couple of days ago, when we saw that swarm at east of Askja and evolving towards Herdubreid. I mean we probably would see a discontinuity in the line of earthquakes due to certain areas there being still hot from recent past eruptions. Anyways, in such a case,the dike has not triggered any eruption in those eruptions. I reckon that anything appearing by now, would be a repeat of Friday.

    Second question is whether we don’t see an eruption because rifting is faster than the pressure of magma to erupt. So magma just travels alongside northwards. So, if rifting slows in GPS movements, could then and only then we see a proper rifting eruption.

    And what about southwest, why we haven’t seen rifting opening also towards southwest of Bardarbunga? It seems that rifting in 1860s-1870s opened in both directions. Holuhraun has two lava fields, one dated to 1797, another dated to a more recent time. There seems to be evidence pointing towards an eruption there, just north of Dyngjujokull just prior to Askja 1874. Either in 1862 (at same time as the eruption SW of Bardarbunga, or 1874 same time as Askja was just starting). The 1874 historical evidence is quite confusing, it speaks of two plumes, one being Askja, another being some kms next to it, possibly south. (of course I know about the other rifting episodes in 1862 and 1875)

    1. No. It never got into Askja and now it seem to be stuck. At least it is not moving any more. It is still having effects on Askja volcano due to stress changes. I am not sure that is enough to start an eruption in Askja volcano, but I am not sure on that at the moment.

      The dyke might and is most likely to erupt more. Since it is not moving to north any more Magma is still flowing into the dyke, the earthquake activity makes that clear.

      Magma can move to the south-west along Bárðarbunga fissure swarm in that direction. So far it has not done so. I am not sure about this eruptions you mentions. I don’t think historical documentation is accurate, so there is a lot of missing information about those eruptions in 19th century.

  15. Is Dyngjuhals seismometer down?

    IMO doesn’t show a seismogram for Dyngjuhals any more!?

  16. Wonder if anymore landslides have happened in Askja since the quakes have been happening around there.

  17. There seems to be light at the area where the yesterdays eruption took place. Dont think a car would dare to go there.

    1. I saw that just now as well. The webcam continued panning and the light was there for 2 pans that I saw, before disappearing. It was a yellow/orange glow. Webcam is zooming in on the area now.

    2. Well, there was a source of light, seen it for 3 sweeps, its gone now. The guys at Mila have either seen it themself of they are reading over here. Glad I was not the only one who saw it.

  18. Looking at the tremor peaks at dyn there’s 1 every 2 days ish looks like if pattern follows another 1 is imminent and EQ activity seems to be increasing in line with this.

  19. The cam is still zoomed in on that area. No glow visible but a lot of what looks like plumes of steam.

    1. Not possible. Also a storm is coming. They would have to be stupid, which they are not.

      It’s an eruption that just started. Jon, trust me, you can go on and publish it. Use possible eruption word if you feel more confortable, but I am 99.9% sure.

  20. It is an eruption. Three vents formed so far. First one stopped. Now just last two. The second went a bit bigger 10min ago.

    No one could be playing tricks with lights at such a distance of each other

    It is an eruption. 3 vents so far, but only 2 active now.

  21. I think it would be really difficult to say with such a grainy image at such a distance, but I was watching when the glow (or what I took to be flames) first popped up, and that didn’t look like car headlights to me. Doesn’t now either.

  22. Cam 1 is steady, and it showed the light moving off to the right. It was a vehicle. Actually 2 vehicles following the same road out.

  23. Does anybody have the lat/long coordinates of the 29 Aug fissure eruption? I have been looking for them to no avail for a bit.

    1. 64°52’6.37″N

      per my manually placed pin on Google Earth. Not official of course.

    1. I did notice the upward trend. This might result in a eruption. Maybe not a large one and hopefully on an patch of land that is not under a glacier. There is a good chance of that, since only 4 km of the earthquake active part of the dyke is under the glacier. While the dyke it self is mostly under a glacier.

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