Possible eruption under the glacier might have started in Bárðarbunga volcano [Unconfirmed!]

This is a short notice. I think that eruption has started under the glacier in Bárðarbunga or maybe in the dyke area. I base this on the change in harmonic tremor that is now taking place. Please note that this has not yet been confirmed by Icelandic Met Office or by Rúv in Iceland at the moment. So this is unconfirmed reports from me at current time (01:13 UTC on 9-September-2014).

I am waiting more details on what is going on with the harmonic tremor.

Update: If this is an eruption then it is not a large one. The confirmation on if I am correct or not is going to take several hours. Unless a glacier flood starts soon. It is difficult to know at this time. The hard problem with volcanoes under the glacier is that nobody is sure what is going on under the glacier.

Update 2: The harmonic tremor is now dropping, or at least was doing so for a short period. Nothing has been confirmed so far if there was an eruption or not. I have seen the harmonic tremor on the following SIL stations starting 8/9.

Vonaskarð SIL station.
Grímsfjall SIL station.

If there was an eruption taking place. It was small one and its unlikely that it would have broken the glacier or started a major glacier flood.

Article updated at 02:14 UTC at 9-September-2014.
Article updated at 02:18 UTC at 9-September-2014.
Article updated at 11:15 UTC at 9-September-2014.

147 Replies to “Possible eruption under the glacier might have started in Bárðarbunga volcano [Unconfirmed!]”

  1. Pardon the stupid question, Jón, Never been to Iceland – is there ice on the eastern and northern sides of Bárðabunga, and if so, how thick? If not as thick as that in the caldera itself, could it be easier to break out to the north or east in an older weak spot? Or is it totally improbable?

    1. The ice on the north side is thinner since it is on the edge of the glacier. On the south, east and west the glacier is thicker, but it’s thickness is different depending on location.

      I don’t know if there is easier for the magma to break out in the north side, but at that location is a second dyke that is currently quiet.

      1. Thank you.

        So this picture was taken from the north side?


  2. Has anybody noticed that after the recent slowdown it looks like there is an acceleration in westward ground deformation recorded on URHC gps station? I think this will show on nearby stations soon (due to elastic ground response, and since URHC appears to be the closest to the fissure it should show changes earlier).


    GPS station location map:

  3. 10592877_1398176977071492_2648464179954404551_n.jpg

    Image with due credit :
    Article: What is Bárðarbunga? Information on the central volcano. 30 Aug 2014 – en.vedur.is news no. 2968 – Icelandic Met Office. Image: Bárðarbunga, Vatnajökull ice-cap, in 1996.

    1. I think it is from the north, but it is a picture at winter time, so it’s not easy to find out.

  4. Where are gilhagi (gill) and Ganastadir (gra)?

    Tremor seems to be rising there, especially low frequency. This is probably irrelavent because I don’t think these are in the area affected by the eruption.

  5. Increased water in the river (you can see flowing over its banks in cam 1) and a pronounced cloud formation over the glacial rift. Yeah, I think a small fissure opened under the glacier. Good call Jon.

    1. The lava flow has created a dam and the rivers are now backing up….so the 2 rivers will start forming a lagoon or small lake should be filled in by the winter or early spring. The fissure has changed the geography….waiting to see what other changes it may have up its sleeves!

    2. The overbanking of the river is what, 15km or so up from where the lava is entering the river. It’s stilling flowing down river and how deep is the lava, say 3-5m deep, if that. Water build-up will not be that high, and can flow over and around easily enough. It not going to effect the river that far away to cause it to overflow it banks. No, stronger inflow is happening from the melting glacier due to a small fissure opening similar to what we saw the other day.

      So I stick to my comment with all due respect to those who may disagree, and again, good call Jon.

      1. Do I agree that there is melt going on up there…Oh yeah….d0 I agree that there is a subglacier eruption going on/or briefly happened this morning? Sure do. But, I also know that the IMO said that the lava was starting to dam the river. I’m not disputing what you are saying, rather adding another factor.

    1. Same smell, though its a very weak smell here in Trondheim now. The air is all bluegrey and somewhat hazy as well, been so since this morning, but especially since 12.00.

  6. Activity kept high last days and specially significant once again has been the tension in the caldera (M4 M5’s EQs)
    A drop of 90cm in the caldera top every day is A LOT, to contract 18 mts on the top how much has contracted for real the base??? ….and what is contracting will then release somewhere the energy. An explosive “real start” is highly possible given data i believe.

    At same time may I ask if fissure gas-steam fountains can be seen at Bd Mila cam 1 at left side.

    Will take days/months maybe but I believe scenarios from IMO will happen from 4 to 1 eventually.


    1. Most likely what you’re seeing on cam1 is steam caused by the lava flow reaching the stream — not another fissure. It’s been progressing from right to left for a couple of days now.

  7. Just saw a flock of geese. Anyhow, being a weather guy and not being confused by the foreground vs background vapour . In the background where the horizontal cloud is (that is not unusual on ice caps), there was a puff of convection below the highest part of the cloud , it then formed into the cloud. Now unless a heat/vapour source on that area , it is to me rather odd. A bit like what is happening in the foreground frequently. Possible illusion and after looking at it for quite a while now I am doubting myself.. To the right of where the river joins the distance.

    1. Something similar happened to me yesterday (or this morning in Iceland). In my case it was a middle distance cloud that really appeared to be right on top of the distant cloudbank until it materialized more completely, and then it vanished again within a couple of minutes.

      1. Looks like a slight change in wind direction masking the distant view now, looks like a wave depression later tonight so that will certainly block the views… Clearer by noon though.

  8. Fianally, i’ve just seen one of those tornados that appear on Baradr cam 1… then two smaller ones briefly appeared!

  9. Now fountains at BB2 are huge at times…

    For the BB1 cam now is steaming out again…if lava isn it too far from extension to cover?
    It booms a bit and goes a cloud, vanishing into a thin twisting cloud
    Thanks for the info.
    Enjoying a lot the cams after 48h disconection…

  10. Dunno, but it seems to me on the Bardabunga 1 webcam on Míla that the water levels in the river are quite elevated?

    1. The lava flow which reached the rivers a day or so ago has started to dam both of them…can’t see the damming on the camera. But, IMO says this is going to create a new lagoon, and it will be full by late winter early spring. Also, helps that there is something going on underneath the glacier itself up on Bardarbunga, which may be feeding the rivers more also.

    1. Yepss is good. I kindly remind you can have both (Bb1 is good so you see the river..) open in different windows.

  11. The subjacent twisting cloud steam at BB1 is clearly a side effect of the above big gas cloud.
    it suctions up the smoke/ gas/air being somehow compressed by the big cloud on top, i suggest..it could explain the repetition of the effect.

  12. I was watching Cam 1 Mon. night…. into Tues morning. At 23:43 EST I noticed steam clouds rising to the left of the “R2D2”. At 23:48 a cloud rose further to the left of the first cloud….the distance between the 2 bursts was about the width of “R2D2”. At 00:02 a third burst appeared and was approx. the same distance as between 1 and 2. At 01:54 a cloud rose 2 times the previous distance further to the left. Then at 01:55 a larger cloud rose half-way between the last two bursts. At that point it seemed that there was a reddish glow on the bottom of the these clouds which to me looked like the glow of lava below. There continued to be smaller bursts to the right of the 01:54 and all the way past where “R2D2” was positioned. The activity at this site seemed to quiet down around 02:30. Steam and gasses where being blown (or sucked ?) to the right at the same time that the large upper air gas cloud was being blown to the left. Maybe it was my imagination, but it looked like a new fissure had opened up at that time. Any comment? Thanks!

    1. Probably not a new fissure, but maybe a “rootless cone” forming due to the interaction of the leading edge of the lava flow with the glacial stream, or small explosions due to that interaction, which have been observed previously.

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