Bárðarbunga volcano update for 30-January-2015

Since last update nothing major has changed in Holuhraun. There have been some changes in Bárðarbunga volcano it self and I am going to cover that later in this article. The magma flow from the craters in Holuhraun remains high at the moment, with latest flow measurements saying that flow of lava is now 100m³/sec. There seems to be uncertain or maybe changes in the flow of lava out of the crater. The volume is now ~1,4 km³. The lava-field has been getting thicker over the past weeks and closest to the craters it is now around 40 meters thick. New estimate of when the eruption might end are now 4 to 15 months.

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

Earthquake activity remains high, but it continues to drop at steady rate between weeks. Earthquake activity now also drops between peaks in activity. I still don’t know if a small eruption took place in Bárðarbunga volcano. Nothing has yet been confirmed and it might remain unconfirmed for a long time. I am also seeing small spikes in the harmonic tremor data due to hydrothermal activity in Bárðarbunga volcano (far as I can tell).

If anything major happens I am going to post update about it soon as I can.

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Bárðarbunga volcano update Monday 10-November-2014

No major change took place in the eruption in Holuhraun during the weekend. The lava field is now around 70 square kilometres wide and it keeps growing each day. I don’t know the total volume so far, since that depends on the thickness of the lava. Last calculations that I know of estimated it to be around 1,0 km³, it is save to assume that volume is now greater since the last estimate that I know of is at least one month old by now.

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The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake this weekend had the magnitude of 5,2. Other earthquakes where smaller, but many magnitude 3,0 and larger earthquakes did happen as usual in Bárðarbunga volcano. The crust in Bárðarbunga volcano is now heavily fractured, this allows heat from the volcano easier way to the surface. This also means new hot springs are going to open up and older ones are going get more active. There is no major change in Bárðarbunga volcano eruption at the moment, as has been the case for most part of past two months.

Article on what is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano

I am working on a article (in my head at the moment) on what is happening inside Bárðarbunga volcano. It is not ready yet, I do hope to have it ready tomorrow if I can process all the data for the article, in order to properly figure out my self what is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano.

My geophone network

I run a geophone network of just two geophones in Iceland at the moment. Once I get an apartment the total number of working geophones is going to be three. I have decided that once I move from Iceland to Azores Islands[1] it is not going to be workable to keep the network running due the technical problems doing so. I am not going to stop recording earthquakes, I am just going to do so in Azores Islands. At the moment I also have four year backlog of earthquakes that I have to properly add time and location data to. That is a lot of earthquakes over this period, since large events have happened and Bárðarbunga alone added up to 2000 earthquakes to my earthquake database in August and now I add around 10 – 20 earthquakes from Bárðarbunga volcano each day (this is just average). The geophone network as it now stands is going to be running for the next 5 – 10 years while I live in Iceland, after that I am going to relocate it to Flores Island when I move there[2]. At the moment I don’t know for sure when that is going to happen, all I know now is that it is going to happen.

1: I am currently living in Denmark. I move next month to Iceland.
2: I plan up to ten years ahead so that I know what I need to do and know before I do it.

Bárðarbunga volcano update for Wednesday 05-November-2014

This is current status in Bárðarbunga volcano for Wednesday 05-November-2014.

There has not been any major change in the eruption in Holuhraun since Monday 03-November-2014. The eruption continues around the same phase as before. Earthquake activity continues to be strong as it has been for the past two months. With several magnitude 3 – 4,9 earthquakes happening every day, the amount of earthquakes is different between days.

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

It continues to be extremely dangerous going to the eruption site as two police men found out yesterday. They hit a pocket of dangerous gases that had removed most of the oxygen in the area where they had located them self, at the edge of the lava field and where some two to three kilometres away from main erupting crater. They almost passed out due to lack of oxygen and they where using gas masks according to the news on Rúv about this insistent.

Drop of the caldera in Bárðarbunga volcano continues at the same rate as before, the most drop is now around 44 meters in the caldera. Cauldrons in the glacier above Bárðarbunga volcano continue to getting deeper, the depth has increased around 5 – 8 meters in the past 11 days according to recent measurements. The amount of melt according to calculations is around 2 cubic meters per second (m³/sec). This is equal to energy release for few hundreds megawatts according to University of Iceland. It is now difficult getting to the eruption site due to winter in the area, travel by car is now at minimum seven hours the other way in best conditions.

Other than this I don’t think there is anything else new about Bárðarbunga volcano eruption at the moment.

Icelandic News

Færð gerir vísindamönnum erfitt fyrir (Rúv.is)
Lögreglumenn urðu fyrir súrefnisskorti (Rúv.is)

Bárðarbunga volcano update for Friday 31-October-2014

This is the update for Bárðarbunga volcano on Friday 31-October-2014.

Not much has changed since Wednesday (29-October-2014) update in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity continues as it has been doing for the past two months. No major change has been taking place in according to GPS data. No major change has happened in eruption vents in Holuhraun, the lava field is now around 65 square kilometres in size.

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

Strongest earthquakes for the past 24 hours have the magnitude of 5,3 and 5,2. Other earthquakes have been smaller. There is no change in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano and the caldera continues to drop around 40cm/day at the moment. Current SO2 output levels are around 20,000 to 40,000 tons/daily of SO2 from the eruption in Holuhraun. Bad weather has blocked proper earthquake detection and monitoring of the eruption in Holuhraun and of Bárðarbunga volcano. The weather is going to be extremely bad in Iceland for the next 6 – 10 hours. Other than this I don’t have any more news of Bárðarbunga volcano eruption.

Article updated 01-November-2014 at 00:30 UTC.

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 27-October-2014

During the weekend activity in Bárðarbunga volcano was in the same manner as it has been for the past two months. Largest earthquakes during the weekend had the magnitude of 5,2 and 5,3. Pollution was a big problem south of the eruption in Holuhraun and new record was set for SO2 pollution in populated areas in Iceland. The pollution levels did go up to 21.000 μg/m3 when they where the highest during the weekend. A emergency was declared for Höfn in Hornafirði when the worst pollution did go over the area. Currently there is a little bit less pollution, but air quality is poor in parts of south Iceland at the moment.

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

Largest earthquake on 27-October-2014 had the magnitude of 5,3 and happened in the south-east part of the caldera. Since it has been quiet in terms of earthquake activity. According to Icelandic Met Office this is normal and has happened before. Subsidence of the caldera happens without any earthquake activity most of the time. According to Icelandic Met Office and others (pdf file here), the caldera has now dropped some 40 meters. New cauldrons have been forming along the caldera rim and older ones (that I did not know about until today) have been getting deeper according to measurements from Friday (24-October-2014). The new and older cauldrons appear clearly on images that can be found here (text is in Icelandic). GPS data is showing minor inflation in the dyke that is currently erupting, suggesting that more magma is flowing into it then is erupting from it.

If any melt is happening in the caldera it is not appearing on the glacier yet. As for the water, it just goes down. Rock inside volcanoes leaks, a lot, so it is easy for the water to go into the crust. It doesn’t have to go anywhere else in small amounts that might be melting if the crust has warmed up enough to do so. Currently there are no evidence for that taking place, but with 850 meters of glacier on top of it is difficult to be sure. There are no other news about the eruption that I know of at the moment.

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Bárðarbunga volcano daily update for 23-October-2014

Currently earthquake activity is increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano. For the past 48 hours 53 (when this article is written) earthquake with magnitude above 3,0 have happened. It is unclear what is going now in Bárðarbunga volcano, at the moment most of the earthquake activity is located in north-east of the caldera rim. I am unsure why earthquake activity is increasing the way it is currently doing.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours. Green stars show earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am not sure if there have been any harmonic tremor this time around in Bárðarbunga volcano. That might well be without me noticing them. Even if the eruption in Holuhraun stops it is clear that Bárðarbunga is far from being a stable or in dormant state. A new eruption vent is more likely to open up then not. That might happen under a glacier and that is going to mean glacier flood and volcano ash eruption while water gets into the crater. This has not yet happened on large scale in Bárðarbunga. There is also no eruption taking place in the caldera at the moment and the glacier is getting thicker this time of the year due to fresh snowfall on top of it and making it heavier at the same time. Far as I know the eruption in Holuhraun is at the same pace as it was yesterday. I didn’t see anything on the web-cameras due to weather when I checked them earlier.

If anything major happens I am going to post update here soon as possible.

Friday update for Bárðarbunga volcano on 17-October-2014

Bárðarbunga volcano eruption in Holuhraun did reach one big milestone today (17-October-2014). It is now the largest eruption in Iceland since the eruption in Laki (Skaftáreldar) in 1783 – 1784 eruption. By volume the lava field in Holuhraun is now larger than the 1947 eruption in Hekla volcano that is 0,8 km³ by volume and took 13 months to erupt that amount of lava. Current size of the lava field in Holuhraun is larger then 59 square kilometres (km²) in size, or around 0,83 km³ by volume according to University of Iceland Tweet on this matter. University of Iceland also has new map of the lava field, I just don’t know how to link to that image here.

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Earthquake activity today in Bárðarbunga volcano and Tungnafellsjökull volcano to the left. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 4,4. Second largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 4,2. Other earthquakes have been smaller today and there has been less earthquake activity today compared to earlier this week (Week 42). There was not big change in the eruption in Holuhraun today according to the news, the magma that did erupt today was reported to be more gas rich then in past few days or weeks. There is no major change taking place in the dyke area according to GPS measurements from the area around Bárðarbunga volcano. The GPS mesurements can be found here. New images of the eruption in Holuhraun can be found here. So far I have not read or seen anything more taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano. If everything stays quiet (I’m sure it won’t do that), I plan to have next update on Monday 20-October-2014 if no major activity takes place.

I wish everyone a good weekend.

Article updated at 23:46 UTC.

Bárðarbunga update for 16-October-2014

Largest earthquake in Bárðarbunga volcano today (16-October-2014) had the magnitude of 5,0. Second largest earthquake had the magnitude of 4,6. Other earthquakes have been smaller. There have been more earthquake activity today compared to yesterday. The eruption in Holuhraun continues as it has been doing for the past 1,8 month, currently there is nothing to suggest the eruption is about to end any time soon. I don’t have any other news of the eruption today.

Rúv has new video of the Holuhraun eruption and it can be viewed here. It shows the power of this eruption clearly. The text is in Icelandic and there is no (or poor) audio with the video.

I am only going to post short updates when nothing special is to report since day to day changes of this eruption are not great. I am going to post updates to this eruption while it continues. Even if that is going to be for 10 years or longer.

Bárðarbunga volcano daily update for 8-October-2014

This is daily update for Bárðarbunga volcano for 8-October-2014. Please note that I am doing to do the updates a bit shorter when nothing special is happening.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 5,2. This earthquake took place NNE part of the caldera where majority of the large earthquakes have been happening for the past weeks. This activity might be because a dyke is drilling its way trough the crust in that one spot. This is just an idea (based on the clues that I get from the earthquake activity) and is so far not yet proven in any form.
  • No major changes have been reported in the eruption in Holuhraun. The lava field is now larger then 52 square kilometres in size. The eruption is about the same size as it was when it started five weeks ago.
  • Bad weather is preventing proper observation of the eruption at times.
  • The highest crater called Baugur is now some 100 meters tall. The crater called Suðri is around 40 to 50 meters tall. Other craters in the eruption are smaller. Icelandic news with picture with the name of craters can be found here.
  • There has been almost no earthquake activity detected today under the dyke today.
  • No other news to report today that I know of.

I am going to post update here if anything new happens. Volcanoes are unpredictable forces of nature so anything can happen without warning when they erupt.

Bárðarbunga daily update for 6-October-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Bad weather

Bad weather is expected in Iceland for the next few days. Storm can be expected to take place. I am not sure on the details. Check Icelandic Met Office weather information for more details.

Status of Bárðarbunga volcano on 6-October-2014

  • The eruption in Holuhraun has picked up again from a minor slowdown on Saturday.
  • Strong earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano. Strongest earthquake on 6-October-2014 was a magnitude 5,1 earthquake. Other earthquakes have been smaller in magnitude.
  • Bad weather is preventing good observation of Bárðarbunga volcano, both in Holuhraun and over Vatnajökull glacier. Visibility can be extremely limited at times.
  • SO2 pollution was detected in Reykjavík during the evening of 6-October-2014. It did go over 700 μg/m³ for a short moment in Reykjavík and nearby area. More pollution from the eruption is expected tomorrow.
  • The lava field in Holuhraun eruption is now larger than 50 square kilometres in size. I don’t have the exact size for today.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to drop and has dropped more than 30 meters by now.
  • The activity in Holuhraun appears to be slowly getting smaller with time. This is normal, this also increases the risk of new eruption starting soon.
  • No further information for today that I am aware of at this moment.

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The earthquake activity in the past 48 hours in Bárðarbunga volcano. Green stars are earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Short overview of the earthquake activity over the weekend

  • Earthquake activity picked up on Saturday compared to Friday and Sunday.
  • Eruption activity did drop in Holuhraun craters on Saturday, it did pick up again on Sunday far as I know.
  • Far as I know there is nothing else to report.

Other things related to Bárðarbunga volcano

I’ve seen a lot of strange discussions about Bárðarbunga volcano. I get even stranger emails at times (no, I don’t answer those). Far as I know there isn’t any Felsic magma (or Andesite) in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. Reason for that is it appears to have been really long time since the caldera erupted. I am not sure on exact time scale, but it is from 400 to 700 years at the shortest. The forces at work in Bárðarbunga volcano are extremely complex and they are not properly understood today, the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to add that knowledge with time. Since it is going to take many decades of study to analyse and figure out what the data collected today means. I dismiss all strange and odd ideas about what is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano, since they don’t fit the data that I am seeing (along with everyone else that is viewing that same data, interpretation of that data might differ)

It is also worth to mention that only north part of the Bárðarbunga volcano system has shown rifting in only one fault. There are many more in this area that have not yet moved. I expect them to move in next few months to years. Then there is the matter of all the activity that is going to take place in Bárðarbunga volcano south of it. That area has not moved so far, it is going to rift in the same manner as the area in the north of Bárðarbunga volcano. When is impossible to know, but I expect it to happen in next few months to years. This is far from over, in fact, this activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has barely started, even if it has been erupting now for almost one month and a half. There are going to be quiet period with no eruption activity in Bárðarbunga volcano during this process. Those quiet periods are going to be different in length, they are going to happen, it is just a matter of time. That is how rifting works in rifting zones (and rift valley) around the world.

Next update is tomorrow if nothing major happens in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Article updated at 01:09 UTC on 07-October-2014.