Update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 14:37 UTC

This is a short update on Bárðarbunga volcano activity.

Little has changed since yesterday (18-August-2014) in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity has been moving east and north-east since yesterday but continues at same rate as before. It is not clear why that is, but is getting close to Kverkfjöll volcano, but at the moment the earthquake swarm is inside a fissure swarm that belongs to Bárðarbunga volcano. I do not know what happens if magma from Bárðarbunga volcano gets into contact with magma in Kverkfjöll volcano.

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano during the past 48 hours. During the past 24 hours (when this is written) no earthquake has had magnitude above 3,0. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity remains heavy in Bárðarbunga volcano. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

No major earthquake has taken place during the past 24 hours (when this is written). This means that no earthquake so far has reached the magnitude above 3,0.

Harmonic tremor remains high in Bárðarbunga volcano, even if there is no eruption taking place at the moment. Copyright of image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The harmonic tremor clearly shows the pulse activity that is taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano, when the earthquake activity drops, so does the tremor. When the harmonic tremor increases, earthquake activity increases soon after it. Sometimes earthquake activity increases before an increase in the harmonic tremor takes place.

GPS data from University of Iceland clearly shows the amount of magma that is flowing into Bárðarbunga volcano system at the moment. More plots can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

The GPS data shows how fast this inflation now is. This data is just for few days. I am expecting more inflation to take place in the next few days. How much inflation is needed before an eruption starts I do not know.

Same pattern of change can be seen in GPS data on Grímsfjall volcano. More plots can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

There are no signs of this activity stopping. When this is going to results in an eruption I do not know. For people looking for web cameras of Bárðarbunga volcano, a new web camera has now been set-up by Míla communication company in Iceland. It sends out live from Bárðarbunga volcano (as close they can get to it). The web camera can be viewed here.

18 Replies to “Update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 14:37 UTC”

  1. hi,

    I am from the Netherlands and I hope my English is not too bad.
    I follow this site since a few weeks and I am very fascinated by the Icelandic volcanoes system.
    Now I keep my fingers crossed for Bardanbunga.

    I have noticed that it is quiet with earthquakes in the rest of Iceland.
    Has it something to do with the situation of Bardanbunga?

    ps … Keep up the good work Jon!

    1. I am not sure were they point it exactly. Bárðarbunga volcano is huge, so this might just be Bárðarbunga that you are seeing on the web camera.

  2. The map shows most tremors take place in a fault-line, or something that appears to be, stretching from Bárðarbunga. I also see tremors in the graphs at Askja and Adalbol.

    Could this become a fissure eruption, like Laki in 1783?

    1. There is a good chance this is going to be a fissure eruption. If it is going to be like Laki eruption is difficult to say, since Laki eruption lasted for six months and was huge eruption in terms of gas released and magma volume in single eruption.

      The chance here is however that an eruption is going to start under a glacier, with following glacier floods in nearby area. The glacier in this area is up to 600 meters thick and it is going to take time for any eruption to melt that.

  3. Saw this just reeased now from icelandreview.com:

    Alert: Area North of Bárðarbunga Volcano Evacuated
    “The Police Commissioners in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður have decided to close and evacuate the area north of Vatnajökull following the seismic activity in Bárðarbunga.

    This decision is a safety measure. It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bárðarbunga will lead to a volcanic eruption. There is no change in the seismic activity at the moment and no sign of an eruption but experience shows that seismic activity can be ongoing for a long time without an eruption going off. This is first and foremost a precautionary measure since the evacuation of the area is impossible on a short notice.”

  4. Hi Jon,
    I was a reader of your blog several years ago, the recent activity has turned my attention back here again. It is good to see you still carrying on, I know it was difficult.

    I wish you the best, and I hope you achieve joy and personal satisfaction from pursuing an interest that you are obviously passionate about.

    It feels as though a lot of attention maybe turning toward Iceland, which may bring the recognition you and the science deserves.

    Thank you for all the insight and information.

    1. Hi Jon! Its been a long time. I echo the comments of Vin. He took the words right out of my mouth 🙂 I know things have been very tough for you and my heart especially goes out to someone who perseveres despite the adversity. Like I told you several years ago. At some point, and I believe it to be in the near future, your site will be very busy and your work recognized on a much larger scale.

      I was very active in 2010-11 during period of high activity in Katla. Knowing how Volcano’s can seem to raise their ugly head one day only to go away the next as if they just weren’t ready yet to completely wake up, this is just a wait and see.

      Question: How does the thinning of the ice cap this year compare to previous years? Also, can you comment why you think this will be a fissure eruption? So far, no glacial flooding, right?

      Also, this from Wikipedia:
      The Gjálp fissure eruption in 1996 revealed that an interaction may exist between Bárðarbunga and Grímsvötn. A strong earthquake in Bárðarbunga, about 5 on the Richter scale, is believed to have started the eruption in Gjálp.

      1. zyfly, you’re right so far there has been no glacial flooding.

        as to the thickness of the glacier it is (give or take) similar as it has been previous years

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