Bárðarbunga volcano daily update for 22-October-2014

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Bárðarbunga volcano eruption in Holuhraun has not changed much from yesterday. Latest news however say that the eruption in Holuhraun is slowly coming to an end. When that might happen is not known, there is less lava flow today then two weeks ago. Activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is far from over and I am expecting new eruption starting at any time with no warning at all. There is also no major change in the GPS data as can be seen here.

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

There is no longer any point for me to mention the largest earthquakes today. Since there happen magnitude 3,0 – 4,9 earthquake every one to three hours at the moment and earthquakes with magnitude above 5,0 every 20 – 30 hours. People wanting to check magnitude details can do so on Icelandic Met Office website here. Any large earthquake also appear clearly on my geophones, the website for those can be viewed here. Other then this I don’t have any new news about what is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano. The day to day changes are not great as I have mentioned earlier.

Update 1: Rúv News has published a news about new estimate from Icelandic Met Office if an eruption happens in Dyngjujökull or in the river area of Jökulsá á Fjöllum. New estimates are that 25,000 cubic meters per second of water are going to flood down Jökulsá á Fjöllum in such eruption and are going to reach Holuhraun eruption and lava field in about 30 minutes. The news can be viewed here with graphics, both language and text is in Icelandic.

Icelandic News about Bárðarbunga volcano

„Þetta hætt­ir einn góðan veður­dag“ (mbl.is)

Due the fact that the eruption in Holuhraun and activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is almost the same now between days I am going to write fewer articles about the activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. The reason is that I want to get a little rest before the next chapter in Bárðarbunga volcano activity starts and I find it is difficult to report always the same thing almost every day. I am going to keep the daily update format until Friday and from Monday I am doing to update every other day, this means there is going to be update on Monday, then on Wednesday and on Friday. Unless something major happens then I am going to update soon as I can do so.

Article updated at 21:48 UTC.
Article updated at 22:57 UTC.

86 Replies to “Bárðarbunga volcano daily update for 22-October-2014”

  1. In the last hour we have had quakes of 3.5, 4.3, 3.6, 3.6 and 4.0. It certainly is not quietening down! I just wonder though if the slowing of the caldera drop is a sign that are due a very large quake of 5.5+ in the next few days. I notice that we are increasingly receiving clusters of large (3.0+) quakes one after the other.

    1. I know you aren’t making any wild claims but just offering tentative observations. My own comments should be read in the same light:

      I think the article is referring to the reported slowing of the surface eruption at Holuhraun, not quieting of the magma flow in general.

      What slowing of the caldera drop? If you’re referring to the apparent loss of slope in the short term graph on http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/Bardarb/BARC/ right now, that’s due to that one big spike around 13:00 on the 21st changing the automated Y axis scale, and if you scroll down you’ll see no big change in the long term graph, although to be sure it’s been slowing ever so slightly since they first installed the sensor. Also, since that time we’ve had at least 3 dozen 5+ quakes, sometimes with big gaps in time between them (4 days+), so the idea of being “due” for more is hard to support.

      There’s so much stochasticity in this system, we should not conclude too much from any small sets of events that don’t have a distinct pattern — and even when they do, exercise much caution.

      1. If you place a ruler against the longer-scale subsidence graph you can see the 50cm/day rate in the first segment (until roughly 25-Sep), then a long period at about 40cm/day (until roughly 12-Oct) and now a still-slower segment up to the present day. Although gradual, the rate of drop in the caldera is definitely slowing down (for now).

  2. The so2 output so far is greater than that of the whole UK in a year. UK outputs 400k tons per year, Barda is doing 35k tons per day (DEFRA & IMO).

    1. Wow,so that would flood over the lava field and the fissure,with quite some force,I wonder what effect that would have?

  3. This article has been updated with news from Rúv about possible flood paths and amount down Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

    Comment from Gill has a map of expected flood area in case of eruption under the glacier.

  4. @IngeB says:
    October 22, 2014 at 23:20

    Thank you for this and the other links. The papers confirmed my thoughts and was the kind of thing I have been looking for, but could not find – probably for lack of correct terminology. Still learning.

    1. As an interpretation, during an eruption the formed sills and the shallow magma cambers(s) could become somehow ‘connected’ to each other all the way down to the mantle. See figure 3 in the referred paper as a visualisation.
      It’s more complex than just a magma chamber emptying and that’s it.

  5. Wurzeldave, Just wanted to follow up your “Bath has the only genuine hotspring in uk” comment in previous. Nooooo. Bristol has one too! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotwells “Hotwells takes its name from the hot springs which bubble up through the rocks of the Avon Gorge underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The springs were documented in 1480 by William Worcester, the 15th century chronicler and antiquary. He described the waters as being milky and as warm as those at Bath.”

  6. For a full 24 hours now the Bb drop subsidence has been tailing off

    This means either the pressure beneath it has increased and is slowing it right down (could reverse it into inflation if that were the case), or it has reached the bottom of a now empty chamber.

    The all important Vonaskard tremor plot remains intense, with the low frequency tremor intensity staying between 400o and 5000. EQ activity in stronger quakes has decreased over the past 9 hours, that of course can change a second after I post this.

    Given the depth of eq’s and patterns giving a 3D picture of the column within Bb I am inclined to agree with Jon that eruption is drawing near, very near. As Jon has consistently said, pressure is rising in the system so it is possible that the decrease in subsidence is due to magma pressure and if that is capable of stopping or reversing the descent of over a billion tons of ‘plug’ then it is a very volatile situation.

    That has to be measured against the IMO’s first and most desirable scenario “The eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually and subsidence of the Bardarbunga caldera stops.”

    1. one possible explanation (among many other combinations) is that the feeder ducts to Holuhraun are started to get constricted/plugged …..

    2. Ah, Vonaskard! Have been wondering which were the main tremor plots to be watching near the ongoing activity. I tried hovering my computer mouse over various spots on map on the IMO tremor page, but most of them don’t yield a name. Which plots are most relevant? Thank you.

    3. It could also mean something else, too. If the surface of the caldera ice is subsiding because of melt (the ice will lose about 10% or maybe a little more of its volume when it melts), then as it melts from the bottom up, the surface area of ice in contact with the water increases (because of the shape of the caldera, it gets wider as you go up). This means that a given amount of heat injected into the caldera will melt ice over a wider area meaning. So while a given amount of heat might melt a centimeter of ice at first, if you increase the surface area of the ice in contact with the water, it will melt a smaller vertical amount (but the same overall volume of ice melts over a greater horizontal area).

      A slowing in the rate of decline of the ice surface is what I have been expecting to see if there is a subglacial dome building event occurring inside the caldera (where the melt water can not escape and run off).

  7. Irpsit I think it was posted yesterday about online politeness.

    You know what I think would contribute to that? Using our own real names. I always do, always have done. Anyone can put a face to my name.

    Jon does. Maybe the rest of us should follow suit. Does anyone here *really* need to be pseudonymous or anonymous? We’re discussing magma, not religion or Chinese politics! I’m NOT criticizing or standing in judgement, I’m just a little perplexed that the ‘default’ position of people here seems to be to pick a nickname or pseudonym. Why do people do that?

    1. I used Scots John just to denote where I was in the world, but I give a link through my avatar to my kayak fishing website where I give my name and email contact details. I certainly don’t have a problem with using John Malone if Jon wanted that.

    2. I use Treacleminer all over the internet. Some of the forums are less safe to use your real name, but at least others can find me on other forums and see all my interests.

      1. I have seen people using there real names on a small town newspaper site having no problem denigrating each others opinions and getting personal,using a real name offers no protection if there is no respect anyway.

    3. Thanks for noticing, I think, my post.

      Sorry, Mike.

      I’m a distinctive forceful writer on some sites . . . have been for 25+ years . . . against some . . . religiously blood-thirsty . . . groups. It could easily be a terminally unhealthy, i.e. deadly, thing for me to be more candid about my better known ID’s. This one is a nick name some of my students and other closer folks have given me.

      imho and in my experience, folks on the net learn personalities fairly quickly regardless. And, those given to feeling affection and affinity toward others reasonably quickly share such feelings regardless of names, toward those they care for and are more or less attracted to personality wise, on the net.

      I think politeness tends to have a LOT to do with rearing as well as the resulting degree of attachment disorder–which causes a huge degree of inner worthlessness and compensating blustering pride, brittleness, thin-skinned-ness etc.

      Re my ‘meta communication’ about our forum communications:

      I was just noting that on this forum . . . an increase in friendly dialogue would likely greatly enhance creative problem solving, speculations, ideas, understanding.

      This, like many forums, is a test based communications experience, context.

      As such . . . we have to deliberately ENGAGE . . . at significant levels for maximum sharing, caring, learning, exchange of ideas.

      Some naturally tend to do that. Others toss bits of factoids out without much dialogue, personal exchange. Some might think I’m nit-picking about nuance levels of difference. I don’t think so. I’m just trying to offer what I can from my training and background toward maximizing the benefit from Jon’s fine forum.

      I think this forum could be a priceless factor in a likely future quickly very dangerous situation for major chunks of Iceland. We have some fine minds hereon. A lot of us care a lot about the issues, facts and people involved. I’m just confident that demonstrating that caring and dialogue slightly but significantly more in our communications would contribute exponentially to the worthwhile results of better brainstorming and useful ideas.

      In some respects, one could say I’m talking about the difference between a drive-by electronic billboard, reader board that drivers could text quick inputs to . . .


      a Sunday dinner of friends atmosphere where they were eagerly collaborating and problem solving a complex problem toward mutual and others’ benefit.

      Perhaps my suggestion is a worthy one to some, mystifying to others and worthless or idiotic to others.

      On the other hand, folks are welcome to think that I’m just an aging professor blathering on about a favorite hobby horse.

      I now return you to your regularly scheduled lava flow and gas emissions.

      1. Da Xin, what an eloquent and well thought-out observation of forum and personality interaction. I am a layman, know little about geology other then what I have gathered over the years being so interested in the natural processes of the Earth. We got a close up look at volcano behavior here in Washington back in 1980 (and ever since that time) and it would indeed have been a nice addition to have a forum of this type available for possibilities to be discussed and outlandish ideas to be introduced but mostly for a few guiding influences to keep the conversation on track, somewhat factual and above all, friendly. Learning a lot here and finding it fascinating. Everyone please continue with the links…great information out there that I would have missed otherwise. Back to lurking oin the background….


    4. In this venue (and some others), I do use my name. In most, I use one of several aliases depending on the subject matter.

      Why? To avoid my family and friends having to deal with stalking and harassment from fruitcakes.

    5. Mike, I only use my first name. and no have no website to look to at. Not a real exciting person at all. I am largely self educated in volcanoes and tectonic plates. Being a Canadian seems to have influenced me in my privacy if that explains some of my reticent behaviour online.
      Now from what I have learned from reading comments (everywhere), if a person is feeling negative in their manner that will influence how they respond to comments on any subject. Me I look at the comments in a positive manner, as I dislike the negativity in the world wide printed news stories. Too many people are influenced by the negativity and it shows.

  8. 2014-10-23
    06:27:02 UTC M4.7 ICELAND
    1hr 03min ago Depth:10 Km
    222 km E of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 06:27:02.1 2014-10-23

    Jon or anyone have we recent examples or footage of a glacial flood interacting with an erupting fissure?

  9. Nice site Scots John. I live in one of the largest ancient caulderas in Australia. Also a Kayak fisherman. Sorry to go off topic.

  10. Nice site Scots John. I live in one of the oldest and largest ancient caulderas in Australia. Mt Warning is the old core and just outside my bedroom window. Am also a fanatical Kayak fisherman

      1. Some great fishing over here John although mostly totally different species. I hope Jon doesn’t mind me going off topic here.
        Do you mind if I correspond through your Scottish Kayak fishing page?

  11. Just wanted to comment on a couple of matters. Before I relocated to Iceland I resided in Bath, the site of the only hot spring in England to be used since before the Roman occupation as health spa. The hot spring was used by the Celts who associated it with healing and restorative powers. Many history books and much tourist information refers to the Bath hot spring as the only one known to be used for wellbeing purposes since ancient times, other publications do not make this differentiation creating an incorrect impression. The use of names, most people here seem to use real names even if those are abbreviated, it does not bother me whether people use real names or not. Just because I use my full name, I do not feel everyone would necessarily wish to do the same.

    1. Funny how there seems to be alot of people who live (or lived) in Somerset who use this site (like me).

  12. Despite the axis scaling due to the peak the caldera has dropped about 75cm in 3 days. At 25cm per day thats a lot less than 40 last week or 50 at the beginning. The long term plot has stopped updating. The EQ frequency in bb has increased in the sense that the large ones are smaller and now come in clusters. I speculate this is due to some form of lubrication eithrr by magma or water or both. Alternatively due to more pressure in the system.

  13. IngeB – Many thanks for the most interesting references about Askja and the magma plumbing system under the East Pacific Rise. This kind of model with multiple mantle “subplumes” (to coin a word) injecting magma into multiple chambers (lenses) both in depth and in space along the spreading axis could help to explain the subtle differences in magma composition between Bardarbunga, Holuhraun and Askja, and Bardarbunga, Gjalp and Grimsvotn. Also maybe the current rather puzzling distribution of earthquakes (includingthe revived cluster NE of Askja).

    I just found a very nice report in Eos by Vogfjord and colleagues from IMO on the successful advance prediction of the November 2004 Grimsvotn eruption and glacier outburst flood using all the types of data Jon has been directing us to, and more besides. I don’t seem to be able to copy the entire URL, but you can find it by going to: http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/skyrslur/ and scanning down the list of 2005 publications.

      1. Yip, was good to see that I was thinking the right way. Sometimes all the talk gets confusing if one does not come from a geo background. Thank you again.

  14. Our amygdala processes thoughts first unless we use the periatal centers to train automated responses. A useful training when faced by emotions from the jungle survival amygdala is to take a breath, establish the facts and try and think things through. On the internet without visual contact and facial expression the amygdala usually wins and we react emotionally instead of rationally. Were all stuck with this.

  15. The big earthquakes might be dropping, and the rate of subsidence, but the number of greater than M3 is going up and up. I think something has got blocked and pressure is going up and up.

  16. holuhraun means hole lava. Presumably it is named after a hole somewhere. Does anyone know which hole/ have photos of it.

    1. Treacleminer. I would think the hole is just where the current eruption is. There have obviously been previous eruptive episodes in that area and hole lava would very aptly explain what the earlier eruptions looked like, just as it was at the beginning of this latest ongoing eruption with lava spurting up from a hole in the earth..

      1. As I understand it, the name Holuhraun pre-existed this eruption as a crater row, and it was used to signify/reference where that original eruption was occurring. But by now, the name has greater significance than those old, long covered spatter cones.

    2. Perhaps the lava from the older lavaflow (Hraun) was itself a “lava with holes”, porous, or there are lavatubes in the ground.

      1. You could well be correct there Mafl as the lava is very gassy at the moment and I would assume that would make for very porous lava. I hadn’t thought of that angle on the matter.

  17. Yes, IngeB, I did – many thanks. Not used to copying and pasting with this tablet yet – it kept opening the page rather than copying the URL. Poor finger control, I suppose!

  18. Yeah all these Mag 3 and above point to an eruption taking place but if that is the case surely it would be melting the ice quickly by now?

  19. There has been a lot of earthquake activity today in Bárðarbunga volcano. Many earthquakes with magnitude above 3,0. I am not sure if the caldera subsidence has slowed down, it might just appear that it is doing so.

  20. Hey@all ! 49 earthquakes in 48 hours. Could it be that is slowly empty the magma chamber and continually collapses? This is also the depth of the earthquake.

    1. Hi Mike, I assume you mean that amount of quakes over 3mag in that time?
      The total of all quakes is now 271 in 48 hours.

  21. Quakes are happening way out to NE, and are larger then have occured there before i think??

      1. I think the red line from VON is the ongoing eruption.
        HUS is another thing at another direction SE from Grimsvötn…

      2. HUS is not to the SE, but to the SW of Grímsvötn and also of Bárdarbunga and that’s exactly my point. Also that the patterns of VON and HUS are very similar ….

  22. Total amateur here
    Is there a possibility bard is building to a sustained tremor at M2-3? I suppose such a scenario may not be sustainable?

  23. Thursday
    23.10.2014 19:08:52 64.671 -17.449 8.4 km 4.0 99.0 5.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga
    23.10.2014 19:06:01 64.677 -17.435 9.0 km 3.5 99.0 6.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga Thursday
    23.10.2014 18:47:45 64.671 -17.466 6.1 km 3.8 99.0 4.5 km NE of Bárðarbunga

    1. Agree, however…i’m sure things will prick their ears before there’s a need to act….there is actually nothing happening right now, just changing a bit.

  24. Ten EQ in the last hour ar from Herdubreid. I don’t know if there is happening something special.
    But these EQ are not at BB…

    1. They would be watching it I would not deny that,but they do have the full range of monitoring resources rather than the limited stuff that we see?I would be watching for larger shallow quakes that would be felt if you were around the volcano,5.6 to 6.5M and tremor would unmistakable in its severity?

    2. The EQ at IMO are very fast manually confirmed at the moment, so I think they are watching closely the activities.
      I would say that one can be fooled by only look at the numbers of EQ’s. The position and the magnitude is the question, so I think you’re right.

      1. The top left of the page says: Aster Eds Acquisions. There is data with the photos that says: ASTER Expedited LEVEL 1.

    1. Please don’t post your link over and over here. I consider such behaviour spamming. You have already posted your link to this website several times before in older article comments sections and I do think most people have already found your website by now.

  25. 3 swarms at three location all within the same region, all pretty much at the same time, tectonic maybe?

  26. I have been looking for the latest 3D animation of the earthquakes at BB. The only one I can find is from back in September.

  27. I am in awe of how many +3 EQ’s that keep shaking Bunga lately with no visible signs apart from a slight decrease on the caldera subsidence. Maybe what has been suggested earlier about the dike being partly cut off has increased the pressure in Bunga. But there is renewed EQ’s at the tip of the dike? Is the caldera made up of many layers, thus collapsing like a pack of cards?

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