Bárðarbunga volcano update for 20-January-2015

The eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano (Holuhraun). Not much change has been reported in past few days. Currently the northern side of the eruption crater has not collapsed so far, but based on web cameras it appears that the activity is increasing in the north part of the crater. The lava field is now around 85 km² in size. The amount of SO2 that comes up during the day is around 10.000 – 30.000 tons of it.

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity has been increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 24 hours. There is now a considerable higher number of earthquakes with magnitude 3,0 and higher taking place. I don’t know why this is happening. Either something is changing in Bárðarbunga volcano or something in the crust is giving away. At the moment it is impossible to know for sure what is going on. It is also impossible to know when that might become clear what is going on.

Other Bárðarbunga volcano related

Landsnet the company that runs the electric grid in Iceland is now moving electric poles in few areas, in order to avoid damage to the electric grid due to a eruption under the glacier in Bárðarbunga volcano and the glacier flood that follows it. They are also performing changes close to dams in the path of possible glacier flood from Vatnajökull glacier. This is done in order to try and protect those structures much as possible from damage if an glacier flood happens.

Scientist working in the close proximity of the eruption in Holuhraun and that have been staying there for a long time have noticed that they suffer from chronic cough. Once they left the eruption area for Christmas break the cough stopped, since at that time they got out of the polluted area.

Icelandic news

Háspennusmastur fært vegna flóðahættu
(Rúv.is, Icelandic, video)
Vísindamenn með krónískan hósta vegna gasmengunar (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

Minor schedule update

I’ve moved the second update during the week to Friday. Since that allow more days to pass during the regular eruption phase in Holuhraun.

Moving PayPal to Denmark (again)

I am going to be moving PayPal to Denmark soon (2 – 4 days). I do this since there are problems with having PayPal in Iceland. Since I am going to be moving back to Denmark in few years anyway (Since I really integrating well into Danish society, even if I was not fully integrated when I moved back to Iceland due to my current money problems).

Article updated at 01:57 UTC on 21-January-2015
Article updated at 13:21 UTC on 21-January-2015

123 Replies to “Bárðarbunga volcano update for 20-January-2015”

  1. Jon,

    I hope it doesn’t take 2-4 years to move your PayPal account. Otherwise, it could be a long dry spell. You are providing a useful service and I hope you succeed in the long run. What’s happening in Bardarbunga right now is pretty interesting; I don’t think we have gotten to the end of this. Thank you whoever gave me the link to the article on lava tubes in Hawaii. I had certainly not thought of roofs being built over open channels. I was hoping that lava channels would look like braided rivers under a particular time and distance scaling, but the boundary conditions are clearly different.

    I am still interested in what a magma chamber would look like. We non-geologists are often shown a “Journey to the center of the Earth” diagram of a single large open chamber way under the earth. This just can’t be, tens of kilometers down. How about a sponge structure? The sizes of the cells in the sponge would be determined by the hydrostatic pressure at that depth plus the strength of the walls. Just to make things more interesting, the wall strength would be strongly dependent on temperature. How much would such a sponge swell as it filled with magma? Will a “dry” sponge, with lots of empty chambers, normally have high-pressure gas keeping the structure from collapsing? As usual, a link to a paper is always welcome.

    1. Hello Stu,

      If jou want to have a look in a magma chamber, have a look here: http://www.insidethevolcano.com/
      The volcanoes name is Thrihnukagigur and it has a magmachamber that emptied itself via de same magmatubes as it got filled by, instead of getting solidified.
      You can take a tour, this costs ISK 39.000,00

      Kind regards,

      Henk Weijerstrass

      1. Thanks so much for the link. I would love to come, when time and finances permit. However, I am not talking about a chamber 120 meters down, but a means for storing something on the order of a cubic kilometer of magma 10 or more km under the surface.

      2. You’re welcome Stu! By the way, what country are you from?

        Kind regards,

        Henk Weijerstras

    2. Henk Weijerstrass,

      I am a retired research physicist in the USA. You probably noticed that my name is German, but my ancestors emigrated from Switzerland several generations ago I am not a geologist, but I do like to think of physical systems as being similar to other systems, but with different time and length scales and perhaps different boundary conditions. I will try to keep mostly in background mode so you all can get your work done.

      1. Dear Stu,
        My lastname is also german (my ancestors come probably from Germany somewhere around the 18th century).
        I don’t have a geological background, but learn on the fly through wat everybody posts here.
        I hope to run the Laugarvegur ultra marathon again this year, but I don’t know if I can do it regarding the air quality!
        It’s nice to see on this site so many people from all over the world!
        I would like to visit the US one day en go to Nashville and the Grand ole Opry to see where my idols have performed once…

        Kind regards,

        Henk Weijerstrass

  2. Thanks for the update on the current status of the eruption. Your work is greatly appreciated by all who follow this site.
    I have been following quietly what is going on with the increase in EQ activity. Something must be brewing at depth below Big B with all the new activity, ether tectonic movement, magma on the move, or a combination of both. I would love for Jon or anyone to comment on me thoughts. So many knowledgable people comment on this site, and I am wondering what might be the latest ideas are on the future of the Big B eruption.

  3. I think the change in activity can be explained if you look at the gps here (IMO images)
    You will notice HAUC has changed shift direction almost 150 degrees, which means the hreppar microplate is moving/rotating. HAFS and SKRO have changed too. I am concerned at the peaking at Hekla and Burfell too –

    Some of you feel this is not a lot of movement, but in geological terms the masses that are moving are phenomenal as are the forces causing a change in direction. Any change in direction has a result which is not always readily evident. However if you looks at the overall movement you can deduce the significance of the change –

    As far as the influence this may have on BB go, that remains open to conjecture, it may be that one or more chamber within BB is empty or partially empty and the roof thereof could collapse given a change in stress direction. I am not entirely convinced the chambers are empty, nor that the result of a collapse would be an inevitable major eruption. I think the NW wall of the caldera, the valley between BB and Tungnafellsjokull and that volcano itself to be the highest potential location of any new activity if any follows.

    Page 4 of this old paper may be of interest to anyone not familiar with the microplate

    A more detailed analogy here

    1. Thanks for those great links, Scots John.

      What are the time scales of those forces and what are the rates of the movements?

      If they are the same, then there is only one motive force. We know that there is at least the rifting and also the hot spot. So, we should expect at least those two rates to be different. That microplate is likely just the incidental consequence of the other two motivators, just like all of the Iceland rise is.

      1. Thank you Scots John and SteveG. Your comments on the current situation of Big B and the eruption have been very helpful in understanding what is going on. Things appeared to have changed in the last week. 🙂

  4. Wednesday
    21.01.2015 15:44:10 64.669 -17.459 6.6 km 4.5 99.0 4.6 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  5. Bardarbunga EQ’s in the past 48 hours,
    ◦Magnitude more than 3 in all: 35

    This is a significant rise in mag +3 quakes around the caldera ring structure. I sure wish we still had that GPS to measure subsidence rate on a daily basis.

      1. He is, he is also wrong according to my own best guess and estimate. The eruption might stop tomorrow or after three years, there is no way to know for sure.

  6. I am waiting for final validation on my new PayPal account. That process might take few days to complete. After this I am going to keep my PayPal account in Denmark forever (since I am going to be staying there forever after the year 2017).

    I also wanted to ask. Is there any interest in me adding a “subscription” button for regular donations. Maybe a 10€ and up to 50€ a month as options.

    Thanks for the waiting in all this mess that I am currently in. I didn’t know that I had fallen in love with Denmark and Padborg when I moved back to Iceland (temporarily) in December-2014.

  7. Personal view and comment:

    1. Subscriptions could be hazardous. Particularly without added dialogue, more robust personal information exchange etc. for some folks.

    2. Minimal subscriptions i.e. lower monthly price . . . might garner more than average donations otherwise . . . I don’t know. Could be worth a try . . . and see what happened with readership.

    3. I suspect that a lot of us enjoy the information posted here . . . and the rather limited, spotty dialogue with other members. HOW MUCH we enjoy it in terms of lower incomes in this economic climate would remain to be seen.

    4. As a psychologist, sociologist & organizational change & development consultant . . . the dialogue hereon seems to be VERY stilted . . . often terse . . . too often cold and even prickly, barbed, sparse, meager, diffident . . . and too often too devoid of the sorts of warm-fuzzy interactions that most tend to TEAM-BUILD and which most tend to help create a warmER family atmosphere around which or awash in . . . which folks are more inclined to feel supportive to the point of turning loose of more of their hard earned money.

    4.1 I don’t know how much of that is a difference between a European (vs say Southern USA) or Scandanavian meme, gestalt, culture, norm . . . or more the personalities involved and in leadership on this site.

    5. It is sometimes workable to ask folks to subscribe to sites which offer very dense and diverse quality and ample quantities of information about the topic of interest. I don’t know if this site offers such quantities in most folks’ views, or not. To me, it would be a bit borderline many weeks.

    6. Folks are more inclined to turn loose of subscription money WHEN:

    A) They have an intense emotional passion about the topic &/or

    B) The information involved is unique and quite fascinating, captivating &/or

    C) The camaraderie among the group involved is emotionally intense enough to be lastingly satisfying with much of a family sort of feeling. &/or

    D) There’s few other options for the quality, uniqueness, quantities, attractiveness of the information made available at such sites.

    7. A LOT of this site’s information IS available at other sites.

    8. What I think this site offers is Jon’s perspective–though–imho, that is far too often too sparse, tersely presented. That is probably often because there’s not much going on.

    8.1 And, often, I suspect that it is just not Jon’s personality or style to be more verbal, transparent and disclosive about his personal perspective, feelings, thoughts, extrapolations, commentary on the information that is available. That is likely unlikely or at least hard to change.

    8.2 Though, were Jon to expand his boundaries in such regards . . . becoming more of a gregarious, personal perspective sharing, personal conjectures sharing; personal thoughts and feelings etc. about the topic and even about his life–THEN more folks would likely have more of an emotional involvement with the site and with Jon sufficient to result in more donations and/or more willingness to pay a bit higher subscription price.

    = = = =

    I fully realize that these thoughts and perspectives may well be responded to with aversive, even hostile replies. Sorry. Not my intent to trigger such. I dare to speak about ‘sacred cows’ because I have found over 6 decades that I tend to speak up where few folks will; “where angels fear to tread” . . . but . . . often about a lot of thoughts and feelings that a significant proportion of other folks have thought or felt similarly.

    So–for whatever it’s worth–there you have it.

    I wish Jon well–that’s why I dare to say such things.

    I’ve long ached for his seemingly meager existence. I’ve wished I could help out more.

    Such a quasi-professional perspective on my part is the most I can offer at this point.

    And, yes, I’m keenly aware how big an impact that detached, cold, distant, harsh or worse parenting has had on most all our parts in terms of minimizing our capacities to communicate and bond with others in various groups, relationships and networks. It’s certainly been the case in my life–EVEN WITH–tons of work to the contrary.

    I’ve also just found that significant improvements can be achieved with persistent, dogged efforts toward such valuable goals.


    1. What a load of nonsense a complete waste of your time to even type it.

      One has a choice to contribute or not therefore end of story.

      One has the choice to read the comments , add to the comments or leave the site.

      I suggest you do the latter.

      1. Da Xin was answering a question put by Jón. Is doing that “a complete waste of … time”? Personally I think your response was out of order and that you owe both an apology.

    2. It’s not subscription, the thing is that PayPal doesn’t offer any other button. That would just be regular donations for people how want to donate monthly to my work and effort here.

  8. Wow, what a comment! Thank you!
    My English is to bad to discuss shortly what I’m thinking, but let me say a little bit:
    I give Jon a monthly donation since some years, because it’s sometimes really quiet in Iceland (volcanowise). Many people are coming, if something happened, and if they are “warm”, “emotional” or hard discussing, most of them are gone after a while.
    I have learned to appreciate this page because I find the information that I want, I can make or enjoy a little joke, I can discuss or read the discussion (and it doesn’t take days…)
    …and if no vulcano will do something, hey, I can learn a little more by myself…

    And therefore I pay monthly also for all the days and month without discussions, without an exploding vulcano – but I pay not for nothing. It’s money for Jon, that he can do his work on vulcanoes. And sometimes I really like his short statements. But I know that’s not so easy for other people.
    So, giving a little in a regularly way could be better than to give nothing.
    (I’m off for some days, so I can’t discuss now.)


        For your kind and thoughtful words.

        I think you made several excellent points.

  9. Hi
    i am student at the technical university of Berlin, currently i am doing a research about the deformation in the volcano environment, i would like to know if you have a GPS data from a volcano environment so as to process and analyze the results

    1. You have to contact Icelandic Met Office or University of Iceland, Department of Earth Science for that data and permission to use it in a process for a study. I can’t help you here.

  10. Andrew

    ..I also wanted to ask. Is there any interest in me adding a “subscription” button for regular donations. Maybe a 10€ and up to 50€ a month as options..

    Jon asked a question about monthly contributions nothing else there was no need for comments stated below about members who post on here :

    4. As a psychologist, sociologist & organizational change & development consultant . . . the dialogue hereon seems to be VERY stilted . . . often terse . . . too often cold and even prickly, barbed, sparse, meager, diffident . . . and too often too devoid of the sorts of warm-fuzzy interactions that most tend to TEAM-BUILD and which most tend to help create a warmER family atmosphere around which or awash in . . . which folks are more inclined to feel supportive to the point of turning loose of more of their hard earned money.

    8. What I think this site offers is Jon’s perspective–though–imho, that is far too often too sparse, tersely presented. That is probably often because there’s not much going on.

    8.1 And, often, I suspect that it is just not Jon’s personality or style to be more verbal, transparent and disclosive about his personal perspective, feelings, thoughts, extrapolations, commentary on the information that is available. That is likely unlikely or at least hard to change.

    8.2 Though, were Jon to expand his boundaries in such regards . . . becoming more of a gregarious, personal perspective sharing, personal conjectures sharing; personal thoughts and feelings etc. about the topic and even about his life–THEN more folks would likely have more of an emotional involvement with the site and with Jon sufficient to result in more donations and/or more willingness to pay a bit higher subscription price.

    So no I will not be apologizing to Da Xin.

    1. I understand that you do not believe that factors which contribute to less or more donations

      are worth giving feedback on.

      1. Da Xin, you have to ask yourself who is interested in your feedback. I see your long comment as a sort of pollution of this blog. You can also write about this in a few sentences, and clear, to the point. This blog is not about erupting with philosophy blubber. I would even say that some parts of your writing are weird. Maybe Jon should add a limitation of length of comments? Especially if they are off-subject.

  11. Da Xin! You’re a gem. That’s why psychologists just say ehemm ehemm these days, while I’d hire you to consult my organization in a second.


      Your perceptive reading between the lines was a keenly felt encouragement. THANKS.

      Sometimes being me is a lot harder than is seemingly true for most folks. LOL.

  12. I’m with Janet, he goes on and on about things that aren’t irrelevant…I had to skip the second half of the post.

    1. That’s as may be. Either way, there are more and less polite, considerate, courteous (and succinct) ways of making one’s point.

    1. That’s why the top geological scientific journal GEOLOGY has a restriction on 4 pages. However large or important your research findings are, you have to fit them on 4 pages! I like that 🙂 Down to the essential. As should be the comments here.

  13. Amount of SO2 has been recorded up to 80.000 m³ closest to the eruption in Holuhraun. Values of 40.000 m³ are not uncommon. This happens in slow wind where the gas can build up slowly during the day.

  14. Please note that the reason why I don’t share a lot of information on-line is for a reason. That reason being this one here.

    It is a really bad idea to share a lot of information about your self on-line.

    I might come of cold, but that is common thing with people how have Asperger’s syndrome like I do. I am better than many with communications, but I still miss a lot of clues on “normal” human behaviour.

    1. Jon you have no need to explain yourself and it is actually very rude and uncalled for of Da Xin to have wrote and posted what he/she did.

      I personally am disgusted at Da Xin .

      Just be yourself and keep up all your good work , you don’t have to explain to anybody a single thing about yourself.

    2. I think you do remarkably well. Don’t explain yourself to others.

      Use your admin powers and just delete innappropriate posts. I would.

    3. Hi, Jon, I have thought for a long time you were a kindred spirit with my son Michael. He has Asberger’s Syndrome, also, and is just a very special person. He hunted for a long time to find his special place, and his special group of friends (most are just like him). He never gave up in his quest, and now is living in Seattle, Washington. You will find your special place, but it may take time, hard work, and patiences. My son is truly a free spirit with his own gifts and way of life. His family loves his uniqueness, and we are proud of his many accomplishments. He is a wonderful person, and if you would like to get in touch with Michael on line, please let me know. You have a lot in common.

  15. Thanks for sharing that, Jon,

    That explains a lot.

    My goal was to merely dialogue about things that would stand a good chance of increasing the donations.

    It persistently grieves me to see you struggle so much on such scores–re donations.

    BTW, (By the Way), imho,

    folks, like me and most men and women I know, who have significant degrees of Attachment Disorder–ALSO have many struggles in communications. MRI research indicates that literal physiological brain damage occurs from significant degrees of attachment disorder–in 2 areas–the area of the brain managing interpersonal communications & relationships and another area managing emotional expression.

    I’ve known some Asperger’s folks who were better at SOME types of communications than some of us with significant attachment disorder.

    In our era, we all seem to have our challenges in such departments.

    I think the most dangerous aspect of the net and vulnerability is those who have fierce religious hostilities to those not of their ‘backwards’ beliefs to the point of cutting heads off. That’s the main reason I use a screen name.

    Otherwise, TPTB have recorded everything on electronic circuits for more than 40 years. Privacy went out the window a long time ago. Still, I do think it is worthwhile to be wise.

    Thanks for sharing your reasoning in such matters. It helps me understand a lot.

    1. Jon, after reading this (and I don’t know why I still read his stuff), I would seriously think about throwing out Da Xin of this blog. He is damaging you and the blog. This guy seems to have no limits. It’s a pollution of your blog. Don’t reveal any personal things about yourself. You did it, and Da Xin was already harvesting on it. Think about it.

      1. I have learned that over time this type of “personalities” come and go over a period of time on website like this. They normally last for up to 6 to 8 months, then they vanish and are never to be seen again.

        I was checking up on his comment and I am going to add comments to it on my own to it.

    2. @Da Xin, Please keep on topic. You are not doing so and please keep religion out of this website. You got plenty on-line space to discuss that with some other people elsewhere. Don’t do it here or I will add your comments to the moderation check list.

      Please keep your off-topic comments to minimal or to none. I also want to suggest that you shorten your comments, it is harder to read long comments. I also suggest that you keep your conspiracy theories to your self here. This is not a place to discuss them.

      All I ask of people here is to be on-topic with just minor off-topic allowed. To be nice to each other and polite.

      I hate to be harsh, but I must set some types of guidelines here. If I did not, I would not be able to have comment section as active like this.

      1. Telling it like it is. You’re doing a great job, Jon, and that wasn’t at all harsh sounding to me. Just common sense!

      2. Although I have stood up for one of Da Xin’s recent posts, I think what you (Jón) have said here is fair and reasonable.

  16. I thought this was a website where people discussed geological events in Iceland….. not a Psychology workshop.

  17. Seems to be a lot of activity today. Not huge quakes but a lot of them spread all over the place. I still feel like something bigger is brewing.

    1. The activity along the dike intrusion reminds a lot about how it looked right before the eruption at Holuhraun started. Only now it looks like the activity is motly taking place in the area where the glacier ice sheet ends.

      Wondering if magma is about to find a new escape route under the glacier after all…

      1. The depth of the EQ’s over time can say much about the type of activity going on. If they’re all about the same depth under the ice sheet, then likely it’s magma filling in lateral tectonic fissures, or magma enlarging existent dikes.

      2. I don’t think the eruption will stop in March (my guess) I think we will see another area become active and it could be to the south of BB. if the lave level has dropped by 15 mtr’s it could mean that it is coming to the end. or it has become blocked at depth and this will lead to more pressure build up and make it find a new exit point.
        There is a change going on at the moment we wll need to wait and see.

      3. I am in agreement, and have been watching the trail of EQs going under the glacier in recent days. Keep wondering if pressure is now building there. Will a new eruption start under the glacier? I know this had been a concern in the past.

  18. Jon, you do an excellent job, just be you.
    But to everyone else, please, please, don’t start making reference to islamic practices.
    They are everywhere these days.
    Let’s stick to volcanic issues. ..
    Unless a certain prophet is seen jumping into Holauraun.
    My tongue is firmly lodged in my cheek.

  19. Those how want to donate while PayPal is being verified can do so. It is possible to donate directly to me here with the SWIFT bank system from your bank.


    Since I am now living in Iceland. I am having issues with paying the few bills that I have pay in Denmark (due the rules in Iceland that go into effect after the economic collapse in 2008). One of the remaining payment is 1800 DKK (241,86€) due to overpaid rental benefits that I got in December-2014.

    It is a problem for me since I have to pay this in March. Thanks for the support.

    I am sorry for this off-topic. :/

  20. Latest news suggest that the eruption in Holuhraun might end in next few weeks. It’s power is dropping fast at the moment, so the feeding of the current eruption is coming to a end.

    1. Here’s how Giggle has the story:

      “Has slowed eruption of lava holes and could end in the next few weeks. This says volcanologist but he has never seen such a major change in the eruption has occurred within two weeks.

      When scientists flew over the eruption yesterday saw immediate change of eruption. “It is clearly slowing down of the shoes it is quite clear. We see that it was said that a major change in ten days. Thus a major change in such a short time, we have never seen before. We see natural that it has fallen sharply in the craters. It has sunk in the pond for some ten fifteen meters. There is much less liquid quantity inside the craters themselves, “says Ármann Höskuldsson volcanologist.

      He points out that although it reduces the eruption and could finish is still divergence wave running Bárðarbunga. A major earthquake followed her and she is still there. “This eruption could now completed in the coming weeks, but it might be different,” says Ármann Höskuldsson. “

      1. The text in Icelandic: http://www.visir.is/gosinu-i-holuhrauni-gaeti-lokid-a-naestu-vikum/article/2015150129639

        And my translation:
        The eruption in Holuhraun is vaning and could stop within the next weeks. This says a volcanologist, and he has never seen such important changes in the eruption as have taken place within the last two weeks.

        When the scientists flew over the eruptive vents yesterday, they saw on the spot that the eruption had changed. “I is clearly waning, this is very obvious. We saw – as said before – a lot of change there after ten days. So many changes within such a short time span, we have never seen before. We saw naturally that the lava level in the erupting vents had gone down a lot. The lava lake was down by about 10 – 15 m. There is also a lot less magma in the vents themselves, says the volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson.

      2. And the rest of the text reads in English:

        He emphasizes though that the eruption is waning and it could be that the rifting event in Bárðarbunga volcano would also come to an end. But there is a lot of earthquake activity within the volcano and this is still continuing. “This eruption could now stop within the next weeks, but another could follow”, says Ármann Höskuldsson.

      3. In the interview of the television news, Ármann said also, that it would be necessary to see a real reduction in earthquake numbers in Bárdarbunga to say that the eruption series is at its end. He also mentions that there are still measured GPS movements. This would also have to stop before the scientists could say that the volcano-tectonic episode is terminated.

  21. An ice surge is occurring on Jökulsá á Fjöllum at Grímsstaðir. The ice that had formed on the banks and the surface of the river has broken into many fragments.

    Cold weather conditions and low river discharge have resulted in the formation of river ice and slush. A mixture of ice and slush extends for several kilometres upstream and downstream from Grímsstaðir. This is probably the largest ice jam in the river since December 2010. The flow is moving slowly beneath the bridge at Grímsstaðir, where water is beginning to accumulate to the west of the bridge.

    Source and photo’s: http://en.vedur.is/about-imo/news/nr/3062

  22. So it seems like that guy was right after all with his prediction that it would stop by early March.

      1. OK, to spell it out, the problem with his prediction is that it is un-scientific.

        He is just naming some date based on nothing more than his claim to being a volcano expert. That means nothing whatsoever in science. For a prediction t be scientifically meaningful, he *must* support his hypothesis (= his best guess) with publicly convincing evidence. Publicly convincing means convincing to other recognized experts.

    1. Highly doubtful. This follows the math of square, this might last for up to a year more or just few more months. There is no good way to know for sure.

  23. He based it on a mathematical equation months ago and says now that the equation is progressing as he expected it to and confirming that it’s about to end soon.

    1. It is surely possible that this is one eruptive event in a series spread over time where magma volumes are not constant. I am sure I read some where that Laki was actually about 10 stop / start events with eruptions from Grímsvötn thrown in for good measure.

    2. Wow this is a revolution in volcanology…..lol.It would not surprise me to see the eruption at Holuhraun end and the Caldera activity continue? Maybe that is what he means by eruption stopping? Cryptic?

    3. Hang on, there is nothing what gives more satisfaction than a prediction with a scientific substantiation coming true.

      It’s even better than sex. Says my wife. And she should know.

  24. I agree about that. I absolutely think when this stops another one may start in the near future. But I think he is only suggesting that the current eruption will stop soon and he could be right about that. If he is, well done. If not, no big deal, these things are very hard to predict.

    1. The first is also a possibility taken into consideration by eg. Ármann Höskuldsson.

  25. With SO2 gas levels so high and all the EQs at Big B and under the glacier going on, how can this be the end of this event at Big B? Perhaps the current lava flow will end soon, but all signs seem to point to activity continuing in the area for a while. I am just a poor amateur and could use some help with this.

    1. I agree with you, LouiseS. As long as the caldera is subsiding, pressure will squeeze magma out from a very sizable magma chamber from 10+ kilometers down into the partially filled dike system. That magma will follow the path of least resistance to wherever it can erupt. For now, that’s Nornahraun.

      What’s next is anyone’s guess. Most likely, BB will just settle down. But there are a number of other possibilities which depend on unforeseen events upsetting the fine balance.

  26. Always interested in the scenarios voiced here on a dynamic complex system/event that I certainly will not pretend to understand. I have a question. To play out one of the scenarios presented recently, which is the dike eruption at Holuhraun slowing and pressure re-focusing or intensifying at Big B, and including the knowledge/assumption that magma feeding the Holuhraun eruption is from a very deep source. How would these premises stated fit or not fit with the recent increase in SO2 at Holuhraun. Thanks to all as I’ve been tracking this site for months and learned plenty.

  27. The cessation of activity in holuhraun is based on the temperature of the magma, as the temperature reduces, the higher melting point rock comes out of ‘solution’ and crystallizes in the eruption corridor thus reducing flow.

    Actual temperature cannot be accurately taken due to obvious hazards so only surface scans can derive an approximate temp. What we have to remember is that it is extremely cold at this location which makes approximation margins of error greater.

    The other factor is that there are now conduits in the holuhraun, so estimations of flow rates are also limited by the fact that we cannot measure what we cannot see. Nor can we measure its temp.

    The eruption will of course end, but I think predictions of an early end are optimistic. I remain convinced that deep source magma at this location is not directly from chambers within bb. We shall see no doubt, but I suspect culmination of the holuhraun will not be the end of activity at or nearby bb.

    1. In the tv film they said also that one could see that the magma supply is waning, because a crust is forming very fast over the lava streams.

  28. The fact that there is little quakes do not say now beginning to end. because there is a stable exhaust. but what I notice is that this long exhaust Holuhraun increasingly quakes shows. there seems also to be done. overpressure or collapse ?. The findings made under caldera are now the last days, stronger and more frequent’m curious what happens. And do not forget our 10 years of life comparable to a volcano a minute. so it is quite possible that the eruption will take many years.

  29. A strange contradiction with earlier news….

    The latest Factsheet (http://avd.is/en/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Factsheet_Bardarbunga_20150123.pdf) says:

    “Insubstantial changes have been in the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun over the last few weeks.”

    A volcanologist, flying over the erution says:

    “It is clearly slowing down. We see that it had a major change in the last ten days. We have never seen before such a major change in such a short time. The walls have sunk in the crater for some ten to fifteen meters. There is much less liquid quantity of magma inside the craters themselves” volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson says.

    He points out that although the eruption reduces and could end there is still a lot of seismic activity around Bardarbunga.
    “This eruption could come to an end in the coming weeks, but there might be a different activity” Ármann Höskuldsson says.


    1. With the ongoing seismic activity, everything is possible. On the IMO plot of earthquakes above, you can very nicely draw two main lines along the the earthquake spots. One coming from Bardarbunga to Tungnafellsjoekull (northwest striking) which is a transform fault, and one from Bardarbunga to Herdubreid (north-northeast) which is a rift fault. So we have many different tectonic effects adding certainly the Bardarbunga ring fault tectonic activity. So magmatic induced tectonics (combination of subsidence and shearing) and normal tectonic shearing along major lateral faults are playing together. And this since 5 months, or longer, 7 days, 24 h a day. There can still be many surprises, also a smaller or larger caldera collapse of Bardarbunga which would be anything else than a surprise.

      1. Scientists sometimes disagree and have different theories about what is going on – esp. in a case never-seen-before like this one …

    2. I understand. The drop of the lava lake level must have happened quite rapidly. What could be the cause? Maybe shearing/rock movements are cutting off the magma supply to the dike? Could there be any earthquake related with the drop of magma supply to Baugur? I guess it’s difficult to do exact observations in such a remote area, especially in winter time.

      1. Did you also have the impression in regarding the film, that there is a lot of ash around the near end of the crater Baugur?

        Could this not reinforce your theory about a cut-off from magma supply? And / or a higher degree of crystallisation within the magma?

      2. The fissure eruption in my opinion was always going to subside, it is only a symptom of greater activity and many have put too much emphasis on it, future shield volcano etc etc.Look at systems in other parts of the world, particularly Calderas and they have these associated active features outside of the caldera, either cone complexes, lava fields or hydrothermal fields.The drop in magma level at the fissure corresponds with an uptick in seismic activity at the caldera, in my opinion this totally invalidates the direct link subsidence idea.But my opinion is only the opinion of the uneducated.

      3. The quakes are related to the draining and resultant collapse IMO

        The pattern of upward cascading quakes is typical of a draining chamber and caldera collapse. The pattern is clearly seen and repeated and waning. The energy is not increasing in activity it is declining exactly the same curve as the subsidence in the caldera, it is an exact match in reverse to the Haraldur Sigurðsson plot



      4. You might have to move on from the idea of energy released.Has the potential energy dropped? Changes in the state of the magma could affect rates of energy release? This is complex and applying a strict mathematical equation to it may not give the full picture.Do you understand?

      5. Laughing at one of the leading volcanologists in the world that contradicts your laughable and completely unfounded theories makes me think that you have an issue with the understanding part, but then again, one has to understand the life of an internet troll who talks to himself on blogs, then it makes perfect sense.

        The numbers show what they show, there is no argument. The fact that both the quake energy following the rate of sink matching almost perfectly is not surprising at all.

      6. I shall stick to the topic, your reply is unfortunate,”lol” can be often used to infer a non serious tone.I was saying these situations are rarely that “black and white” and putting a date on a natural event is unwise.

      7. The main difference between a subsidence and a caldera collapse is in the change of rate. If it is slowing down, as it is, that would more likely not be a full collapse, slow or fast, because then the frictional forces are stronger than the downward gravitational force on whatever part of the caldera is involved.

        The physical shape of the hole in relation to the plug is also important. I would assume an hourglass shape rather than a cylinder, cone, or upside down cone. With the hourglass, there is a bottleneck constriction holding up a complex caldera structure. The constriction can break down.

        The shallower pancake of magma at ~3km can completely change everything, depending on upward magma movement in new dikes.

      8. @IanF, when are you going to learn this is not a water tank, this is high density fluid (3 x that of water) coming from a high pressure environment in the earth’s crust, to a lower pressure environment the earth’s surface.

      9. @Ian F
        Thanks for your informative post. Go easy on JB, we don’t want to lose him!

    3. ‘The walls have sunk in the crater for some 10 or 15 m’….makes no sense, he should write the lava lake has sunk 10 to 15 m.

      “much less liquid quantity of magma inside the craters”….sorry, either this is not written by a volcanologist, or it’s a bad translation. Should write lava, not magma, it’s only called magma if it’s still in the crust and molten. Should read the quantity of lava or the amount of lava. And there is only one crater, not craters. No fun to read such a phrase, but it’s still possible to interpret the sense….

  30. Friday
    23.01.2015 18:07:02 64.673 -17.472 1.4 km 4.3 99.0 4.5 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  31. Nerdy fun-fact:

    There is exactly – on the second – 15 hours between the two +4 quakes today. 🙂

    23.01.2015 03:07:02 64.669 -17.388 7.7 km 4.7 99.0 7.3 km ENE

    23.01.2015 18:07:02 64.673 -17.472 1.4 km 4.3 99.0 4.5 km NE

    Keep up the good work Jon. Love to read your updates and to learn so much interresting about volcanoes.

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