Bárðarbunga volcano update for 06-February-2015

This update is going to be slightly shorter than usual because I am sick (I got flu at the moment).

  • Over the past two weeks there has been considerable drop in the lava lake.
  • Lavafall was seen on new images (in the one of the lava rivers) in Holuhraun yesterday (05-February-2015).
  • Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues to drop.  It continues to be classified as considerable.
  • GPS data show that the area around Bárðarbunga volcano continues to subside towards the volcano.
  • The eruption in Holuhraun might end in 5 – 12 months, there is also a chance it might go on for years at low level. There is no way to know for sure.
  • Sulfur dioxide pollution continues to be a problem in Iceland. Depending on wind direction. Current release of Sulfur dioxide from the eruption in Holuhraun is from 30.000 tons/day and up to 80.000 tons/day.


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

Largest earthquake in the past 48 hours was a magnitude 4,9 earthquake in north-east Bárðarbunga volcano. It has now been one month since magnitude 5,0 or larger earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano.

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54 Replies to “Bárðarbunga volcano update for 06-February-2015”

  1. Jon, So sorry to hear you have the evil flu! Had it last year, and was feeling badly for quite awhile. I am hoping you make a speedy recovery!
    Thank you for the update on the current conditions at the eruption site. I am thinking that even with things appearing to quieting down at Big B there is more volcanic activity to come in the EVZ. This will surely be keeping Iceland’s geologists busy in the near future. It is great to enjoy all the suspense!

  2. Jon,

    Would be willing to order you the tiniest particle sized “Mesosilver” via Amazon. Even Federal studies have found it effective against viruses as well as bacteria (though, of course, . . . oh, right . . . no comments like that. OK.). Or, perhaps you’d prefer the liposomal Vitamin C. IF so, you should have access to my email.

    You can research both on the net.



      1. Wow. Thanks for that, Jon! That’s a great scientific overview.

        Mmmm. (Thinking)

        There appear to be many significant issues with viruses: the chemically active size, shape and structure; the internal protein makeup; the useful (yes), benign, or damaging functionality; gaining immunity; short-term prevention; direct chemical treatment (drugs); proactive treatment (antibodies of some sort); and some more.

        Great field of research, now and for the future.

      2. That’s fascinating research.

        However, as I understand it, the super tiny particle size of the Mesosilver (and actually the 2nd best other brand) prevents all types of viruses (as well as all types of bacteria–though some say not beneficial bacteria–I’m doubtful about that) from doing their ugly deeds at a cellular level. I don’t recall all the details. I just know that it’s been VERY effective for me and I’ve not had such illnesses the last few years, at all.

        But I have no need to argue about it.

      3. Older people have naturally developed immunity against almost all viruses, just by being exposed and having survived all types. It is one of the secrets to a long life.

  3. Jon, hope you’ll feel better soon! The subsiding of the area around the volcano, sinking of the lava lake? New, huge caldera in creation?

    1. Bardarbunga *is* a huge caldera, and (it’s generally agreed) its “plug” is subsiding.

    1. I’d wondered that myself. At a guess, the camera has been blown out of position: I thnk it’s looking at the ground a few metres in front of its mount.

  4. Jon, I hope you are soon well again. Should not take more than a week.

    Do you have any link to the photo with the lava fall? I wonder when somebody will go to the lava channel close to Baugur to shoot photos or videos from the ground. In the style of Katja and Maurice Kraaft. It should be save enough now also to go close to Baugur crater rim, as there is no more spatter going high. I’m also waiting for a report in National Geographic. These guys should have done one already.

    Seems like everything is quite slowing down, eruption, subsidence, eartquakes, just the gas emissions are still quite strong, as you wrote.

      1. Picture 3 of 5,

        – looks to me to be the best. The right 2/3 has much higher walls. Of the left 1/3, the lava cut through the wall at one point down to one visible exit which keeps the lava lake at a level no higher. At the far left end there is a second, underground exit directly into a lava tube (as could be seen in the ABC television robotic footage). There could be more covered exits not visible in the photo.

  5. I am feeling better today. I’ve been sick all week and it was worst yesterday. I think that I am free of the common cold that I had. It is also possible that might have had influenza, since that has also been making people sick in Iceland for the past few weeks.

  6. I am very glad to read that you seem to have overcome the worst of your winter illness and are feeling better today. Many thanks for the links to the photographs, they are amazing.

  7. Thanks for the links, Jon. Amazing pictures. I guess there will soon be more like this, going into details. The collapsed roof of a drained lava tube is a great detail.

  8. – Caldera subsidence no more than ca. 3 cm per day (use to be around 40 cm),
    – Earthquake activity much lower than it ever was,
    – Emission of gasses is clearly getting less,
    – Lava lake is dropping.

    Any educated guesses about the near future? Like:
    – pressure building up,
    – magma is trying to find another way out,
    – chances of a Barda eruption increasing?

    1. Well, I think the near future sees much of the same — a continuing gradual reduction in activity.

      Think of everything that’s happened since September as adjustment to a new norm. The new norm was set during the last half of August. Everything since is a relaxation of the system into a new state.

      The interesting question to me: what happened in August and is that a precursor of increased activity in general or a one-off event? Is this the whole play or just Act I.

      1. Good point, Pflueger. The entire eruptive sequence, as spectacular as it has been, can be seen as a temporary relief of underlying greater forces.

        Iceland is being pulled apart by continental drift in episodes of local rifting. The rifts have become numerous and large enough to tap the pressurized magma chamber which sits deep under Bardarbunga’s caldera. Since August, the magma has seeped into the surrounding extended rift network, to glue Iceland back together. Holuhraun is just the overflow.

      2. It is a precursor.

        The dying down of the holuhraun does not mean that pressure is reduced or that magma is not still seeking pathways.

        What it does mean is that the temperature has lowered sufficiently to allow crystalline deposits of higher melting point rock to come out of ‘solution’ and build up on the walls of the ‘conduit’ (used loosely), thereby reducing its bore diameter in the same way as tuberculation in a pipe. That would more than account for its dying down.

        The reduction in subsidence would be good news if we did not know that liquid magma is only 3km below the caldera floor (confirmed), which means that it has not drained to the holuhraun if it is sitting at that elevation as magma. The point of interest will be whether inflation occurs.

        The GPS data confirms the area is still active, so I would refrain from complacency.

      3. I still think Holuhraun is the first part of ‘the show’, what the next part brings (& when) is anybodys guess.

      4. From a more passive point of view, the eruption could slow down to zero, the subsidence could stop, the earthquakes could disappear, the magma chambers could find an equilibrium and the rifting period could just be finished.

      5. There have never been passive periods in Iceland – reknowned for its fierce reputation – for long.

  9. Monday
    09.02.2015 13:33:37 64.674 -17.479 6.9 km 4.0 99.0 4.4 km NNE of Bárðarbunga

  10. Magnitude mb 4.6
    Region ICELAND
    Date time 2015-02-10 03:18:56.7 UTC
    Location 64.56 N ; 17.66 W
    Depth 7 km


    1. Tuesday
      10.02.2015 03:30:20 64.680 -17.502 7.8 km 3.8 99.0 4.6 km NNE of Bárðarbunga
      10.02.2015 03:18:54 64.661 -17.505 7.8 km 4.7 99.0 2.5 km NNE of Bárðarbunga
      10.02.2015 03:13:20 64.670 -17.439 0.1 km 3.8 99.0 5.4 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  11. A 3.8 at just 100m depth. Hmmm…. There has been quiet a bit of shallow depth eqs recently. Bearing.github.io shows it well.

      1. If you read the GPS update on the IMO site you will find details of this shift. This is the subject I have been on for some time as long as the continental and micro plates are moving, then this event is not concluded. Note also the levels of low frequency tremor (eg vonaskard) have remained very high since august. This is very unusual.

      2. Scientific Advisory Board says “GPS measurements near northern Vatnajokull glacier show continuing slow deflation towards Bardarbunga. A detectable errors are in the GPS measurements due to bad weather conditions over the last few days.

      3. Thank you both for your responses. I had read today’s Scientific Advisory Board statement before posting but I didn’t connect their ‘detectable error’ statement to the SKRO GPS measurements. They stated slow deflation and the GPS measurements are showing rapid inflation. Regards.

  12. Does anyone know if the existence of a shallow magma chamber under BB has been proven and if so how big is it?

    1. Axdelta, repeat this relevant question in the new update, maybe somebody will pick it up.

Comments are closed.