Bárðarbunga volcano update 27-December-2014

Bárðarbunga volcano continues to erupt in Holuhraun as before. The eruption is around the same phase as before. There was some change detected at the eruption vent in Holuhraun, it is remains unclear at the moment what change is.

The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity has dropped for the past few days, with few earthquakes that have been reaching magnitude 3,0 and above. Largest earthquake in the past few days has had the magnitude of 5,0. It is unclear why this is happening at the moment, earthquake activity might pick up again, it also might increase again. There is also a change that end of the eruption in Holuhraun is getting close, at least the phase that is connected to earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Continued earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano

Earthquake activity continues in Tungafellsjökull volcano. So far the earthquakes that are happening are smaller ones, with rare magnitude 3,0 or larger earthquake taking place every once in a while. At the moment the earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano is increasing and it is bit unclear why that is. The risk of eruption in Tungafellsjökull volcano appears to remains, even if that would just be a minor eruption. If an eruption takes place in Tungafellsjökull volcano, it would be the first documented eruption in the past 12,000 years to take place (at least).

New years update schedule

Next article about Bárðarbunga volcano eruption are going to be on the following days.


After that I am going to return to normal schedule on reporting on Bárðarbunga volcano eruption.

52 Replies to “Bárðarbunga volcano update 27-December-2014”

  1. Thank you, Jón, for the interesting update. Is there more activity in Baugur today, it seems to me that there is. But then there was not a lot to be seen there these past days…

    Could a heightened activity in the Holuhraun craters be in connection with the tremor spikes seen on the DYN and HUS plots?

  2. what about the rise off water in the jokulsa(the drain from bardabunga)?
    it seems it is getting hotter in bardabunga’s crater.
    What’s your idee?

    1. The measurement device is down at Jökulsá á Fjöllum at the moment, so the latest data could be wrong.

      1. Context?My theory is this could be a caldera reawakening event ,with glacial melt that has not previously occurred during the Holocene era?

  3. What’s happening with the air quality? Are there any more spikes of extremely high SO2, like there were a couple months ago? Are you noticing the SO2 where you live?

    1. The air quality in the whole is much better since some weeks. You can check for yourself: http://ust.is/einstaklingar/loftgaedi/maelingar/

      Click on a station and then move the cursor on the interactive line below the plot, eg. Höfn. There was a spike up to over 2.000 in this last named region around the 20th Dec.

      There is no automatic gas measurement device near Jón’s place. But there should be a manually activated one.

  4. Thank you for your time spending here to explain everything.

    So my question is what happens south of WesterValleyZone starting some days ago with a low earthquake swarm. Is it only Islandexpanding or could we expect more in that zone?

      1. BTW: I think you are talking about the WVZ here, aren’t you? This would be the Western (or West Iceland) Volcanic Zone.

        There is a microplate turning in this region (Geysir is what you mean?). It is called the Hreppar Plate. This would be the tectonic element – or rather one of them.

        But the quake swarms are between Geysir and the southern Langjökull Volcanic System, so in Iceland, tectonism and volcanism are often combined, one never knows …

      2. I was also wondering about that the other day.
        Thanks for straightening out a few things, Inge!

  5. Next question is 🙂 are there significant changes in Þríhnúkagígur? I’m asking because of small earthquakes there in and around there. Could this Vulcano be reactivated?

    1. It is part of the active Brennisteinsfjöll volcanic system.

      On the other hand, this seems very improbable, a) because the system has not produced eruptions for a rather long time (around 1.000 years) and b) because it is very seldom the case, that such cones (monogenetic ones) are reactivated. The Holuhraun craters are an exception.

      Most of the activity around Reykjanes is concentrated out on the Reykjanes Ridge.

      1. Thank you for make it for me a little bit clearer. I’m only a private volcano enthusiast 🙂 with no geological background.

    1. That might be just some meltwater from the recent snow or other water entering the cracks near the fissure and then evaporationg through the spatter cone, which represents a larger opening in the area. But great recent video!!! There is some problem with mila 2 cam right now, to coarse pixels, hope not that weather and SO2 damaged the camera…
      Last night Baugur was going strong, same intensity or more than usual. Quite interesting is also the concentration of earthquakes at Herdubreid. This rifting event must be a larger one, as it effects the whole area. Who knows, maybe the rifting will cause soon a larger break in the Icelandic crust and we will see a Laki/Eldgja style eruption?

    2. Thank you, Mike! That video is exactly what I am just looking for … but while I am sitting here, searching for arguments for a second smoke plume (outside / in front of Baugur), he has apparently decreased his activity . Compared to recent days, the smoke plume looks very thin today!

      1. IMO those far-away cameras are better than nothing, but still mostly useless. You can’t judge the state of the eruption on the amount of visible vapor because that’s highly dependent upon humidity/dewpoint.

        The chopper flight videos are the real deal. Compared to the last decent video from earlier in the month, the lava lake looks about 50% longer while still the same width. In other words, the crack is unzipping.

        I think the reason we’re not seeing high fountaining isn’t because the eruption is weaker or less voluminous, but because the lava lake is deep.

  6. Yes, it is strange not to see at least lava glowing in mila 1. Mila 2 has some technical problems, but 1 is clear. Is this the end of Baugur??? The night will tell, if there will be no glowing at night, it will have stopped 🙁

    1. Could also be that the gas / eruption cloud is just covering up the eruption. But there is not a lot of activity anymore in the lava lake, it seems. Incandescence after nightfall will show us what is going on.

  7. I don’t think, that the eruption is coming to the end! The smoke was already in the night very thin and the eruption clear visible. Screenshots (first pic is from yesterday)
    @Luisport: The lava normaly isn’t visible in daylight.

    … and BTW: A lot fresh hot lava reaches the river again … Screenshots (first pics are from 25.12 latest from today)

    1. … and on cam2 we can see now that the eruption is always active.

      But MILA should change the settings of that cam. In daylight there is nearly no visibility with this high compression level … to save bandwith it would be better to reduce the framerate … perhaps only 1 pics per second but in good quality!

    2. There were a similar situation some weeks ago -> Screenshots
      Maybe it is only weather related. Very dry air, so that the heat can’t produce steam … there is also less steam upon the lavafield today.

  8. I don’t know if this has been posted before. There is a new publication in the science journal “Nature” re. Bárdarbunga (regrettably paywalled), but with a resumee here: http://futurevolc.hi.is/new-understanding-subsurface-magma-movements-prior-ongoing-volcanic-eruption-iceland-published (incl. link to the article and its abstract) and in this blogpost by a geoscientist: http://www.decodedscience.com/ongoing-eruption-bardarbunga-helps-understanding-volcanic-processes/51539

  9. Oh how I love you all!
    Was searching for the tremors and webcams ond so on for Etna, and then I realized I could check here, and Bingo!
    Thank you thank you thank you!

    1. It is heavy … the hole day there were nearly nothing and now every some seconds big fountains climbing over the rim. They are also visible on Cam1 in fullscreen mode.

    2. It’s the first day/evening since more than 10 days, that I have time to look at the webcams. Really nice…
      How was it the last days? Are the fountains higher today?

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