Bárðarbunga volcano update 27-January-2015

Nothing major is to report from last update on Holuhraun eruption. It continues at the same phase as before. It has been slowly diminishing over the past few weeks and continues to do so. There are complex reasons for this, but one thing is clear. This eruption is going to end one day. The size of the lava is unclear that the moment. It volume is now around 1,4 km³ according to the news. Cauldrons in the glacier, on top of the Bárðarbunga volcano caldera rim have been getting deeper over the past few weeks. This means that the hydrothermal activity in those areas is increasing and presence of magma at shallow depth. This also suggests that amount of magma at that shallow depth is increasing. If it is going to erupt is unclear at the moment, there are however currently higher chance that it is going to do so, rather than not.

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

There has been less earthquake activity taking place for the past 48 hours then during same days last week. There are peaks and lows in the earthquake activity, there might be a lot of earthquakes taking place one day, other days there appears to be a low in earthquake activity. What is also playing in as a factor here is the fact that bad weather has been taking place in Iceland for the past few days.

Last week scientists have been doing studies into the gas content of the eruption to see what is contains. SO² continues to be a problem in Iceland, depending on wind direction.

Icelandic news

Til marks um hve hættulegt svæðið er
(Ruv.is, Icelandic)
Rannsaka gas við Holuhraun (Ruv.is, Icelandic, video)

Holuhraun Eruption Gases Studied (Iceland Review)


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Article updated at 22:53 UTC.
Article updated at 22:55 UTC.

57 Replies to “Bárðarbunga volcano update 27-January-2015”

  1. Jon,

    Given your extensive study and experiences re the Bardabunga volcanic system . . .

    DO YOU have any intuition, sense, impression as to what’s likely over the next 4-12 weeks?

    Sometimes we perceive nuance and tiny details somewhat below our active consciousness level. I’m wondering if your vast amount of reviewed factoids and data about Bardabunga and Holuhraun might have left you with some barely articulated impressions that you MIGHT be able to articulate without too much trouble or effort.

    Certainly fine, if not. Would just be seriously interested in your hunches, speculations on the near term possible to likely events e.g. at Bardabunga and Holuhraun.

    1. It is impossible to predict this. Most volcano systems are not understood well enough, making it impossible to predict there behaviours. With time we might be able to predict volcanoes and there behaviour. That progress might take 100 to 200 or more years.

      1. Thanks for your kind reply.

        I just have a conviction that with your obviously substantial high IQ and unique immersing yourself in the data over a long period of time . . . that you MIGHT . . . at some point, come up with some conclusions that the best experts and computers might miss.

        Or, put another way–you MIGHT turn out to be a ‘volcano savant’ surprising yourself and the academic experts with your insights.

        So, please, avoid selling yourself unnecessarily short. A lot of such percolating insights are not always all that conscious.

  2. “This eruption is going to end one day”!

    That is a very confident statement! 🙂

    Are you sure?! 🙂

    1. Remember the old story of the King who asked his wise men for a statement that could be correctly used in any circumstance.

      What they came up with was “and this too shall pass”…

    2. I smile at these preductions. An American would never make such a statement. We say. “Stay tuned for more information as the situation changes.” :0

  3. Just when I thought it was about to end the activity is picking up again in the last couple of hours.

    1. Does seem to be more light coming from the eruption (BB2), but it may be just me!

      1. Haven’t witnessed any fountains, but it’s glowing very bright like Wurzelave said.

        Now the cam is also more zoomed in than earlier this evening.

  4. Just watching the cam there seems to be a hotter white part showing in the middle of the fountain ?

      1. Are different gasses being expelled now ?

        Please could someone explain why the centre of the fountain is white hot?


  5. Maybe it’s the weather conditions, but B1 looks a lot more active than usual as well. A few days ago, it was barely there.

    1. Sorry for flooding (kinda). I’m excited about this sudden action! 🙂

      I too was thinking it might just be unusually clear weather tonight, but still; we’ve been monitoring the BB(2) cam for many months now and I can’t even recall last time the view was this brilliant.

      1. I tried fiddling around with the exposure in Photoshop, because I wondered if the aperture of the camera had been adjusted, but apparently not. Interesting.

  6. it certainly looks spectacular!
    it could be that the crater wall is partially collapsed?

    1. Thanks for that article JB.

      Their scenario for pure caldera collapse is informative. What we have at Bardarbunga is an asymmetric evacuation of a deep magma chamber. Most magma appears to be exiting at 9+ km depth towards the southeast. But the subsidence is mainly towards the north of the caldera. Don’t know why.

      1. The subsidence is more centralized in the caldera than you might think. This is a cross section of quakes matched to the caldera profile, the section thru the center where the profile of the sink is done and is about 2km wide. This is all quakes all size since the start. The no quake zone also seems to line up best with the sink.

        The red outline is the no quake zone


      2. Note how the vast majority of the quakes have occurred in the area where in the past the rim of the caldera has experienced the most uplift and has the most bulk.

      3. Ian F, thanks for that nice image.

        EQ’s only map rock, of course, but lack of EQ’s does not necessarily mean all magma. Rock can also be hard baked very dry ceramic plate that drops or tips as a whole.

        Do you have an image from above? The north rim has two major concentrations, one to the north and the other recently more active to the northeast.

      4. JB ~ “ in the past the rim of the caldera has experienced the most uplift

        That would be more like a resurgent dome, and the EQ’s under the north rim might be meaningless. Two different things would be happening, an ice-cream cone sinking under the caldera, and the north rim collapsing with it?

  7. All seems to be dying down to me. I’ll give it a week or two at the most. Hope I am wrong though.

    1. For the northwestern Iceland storm is announced. Think this is just the wind!

  8. Yesterday they have worked at the Mila Cam 2.
    Nearly 1 hour they have cleaned and tested different settings … so we have had a nice view yesterday evening … but over the night the visibility is gone 🙁
    Many thanks to the mechanics!
    Here are some screenshots from yesterday.

    1. Those shots are great! I’m currently minus a laptop so I almost never get to see the cams. Based on those screenshots it almost feels as if the eruption is pulsing.

      1. @Inge, I think that this is only illuminated smoke. I have not really seen fountains for a long time.

  9. Thursday
    29.01.2015 21:22:16 64.660 -17.330 1.1 km 4.1 50.5 9.7 km ENE of Bárðarbunga

  10. The update schedule of Tuesday and Thursday leaves a long stretch of days inbetween.

    Could you nudge them a day farther apart to keep the updates approximately half a week apart rather than 2-and-5?


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