Bárðarbunga volcano update Friday 14-November-2014

This is not going to be a long update for Bárðarbunga volcano.

The eruption in Holuhraun continues with little or no change since Wednesday. The eruption continues at the same phase as before. Visibility due to weather has prevented good observation of the eruption. Last observation of the lava field showed that is now around 74 square kilometres in size. The crater rim is now around 100 meters high at highest peaks. Bad weather is going to last until tomorrow in this part of Iceland.

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

Largest earthquake in the last 48 hours had the magnitude of 5,4. Other than that earthquake activity is on the same level as before, there doesn’t seems to be a any major change taking place in the activity. Subsidence in the caldera continues around the same rate as before, there might have been a minor slowdown of subsidence, but I don’t know if that has changed again. Other than this I don’t have any other news to report at the moment.

Bárðarbunga volcano update Wednesday 12-November-2014

Eruption activity continued in Holuhraun at the same rate as on Monday (10-November-2014) and yesterday (Tuesday 11-November-2014). While bad weather has making observation of the eruption in Holuhraun difficult and close to impossible there are no signs of the eruption ending any time soon. A lava lake has now formed that is around 400 meters long and 100 meters wide. This is the first lava lake in Iceland in a long time. I don’t know when last lava lake existed in Iceland, but that was a while ago.

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

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues as it has been doing for the past two and half months. This means that the caldera continues to subside at unchanged rate. I do not know how much the area has grown that is now subsiding, I think there is limited information on that due to limited access to this area in the winter time. At the moment nothing seems to be changing and GPS data is supporting that view of mine. Comments on this blog and blogs posts by people how have gone to the eruption site in recent days say that new fractures are appearing south of current eruption crater. This means that rifting is continuing, this also means that new eruption south of current crater might start at any time without warning. Since magma is at shallow depth at this location, with depth being only 1 – 2 km at most, it is possible that it might even be at shallower depth closest to the eruption crater (but has not erupted yet).

Tungafellsjökull volcano

There has been minor increase in earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano. At the moment this looks just like a tectonic stresses are adjusting to all the changes in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano might increase in next few days or weeks. I don’t expect any eruption to take place at this point in time.

Bad weather warning

For the next two days there is going to be bad weather in Iceland. This means that detection of earthquakes is going to be limited in Holuhraun and around Bárðarbunga volcano. This means that only largest of earthquakes are going to be properly detected. Visibility to the eruption site on web-cameras is not going to be awful to none due to the snowstorm that I expect might follow this storm in the highland (it might rain, but I am not sure on that detail yet). It is storm season in Iceland so expect a lot of storms all winter.

What is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano

This is not a status update article. For Monday 10-November-2014 status update, please check last article. This is not going to be a long article since I have a long way to go in order to properly analyse all the data that has resulted from the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Activity in Bárðarbunga volcano before 16-August-2014

Activity in Bárðarbunga volcano before 16-August-2014 was a pattern of regular earthquake swarms and dyke intrusions. That was considered normal behaviour in Bárðarbunga volcano. It has to be considered if this where in fact the long term signs that eruption was going to happen soon. Earthquake swarms where also common in Dyngjuháls area, often with earthquakes that had magnitude 3,0 and stronger.

Nineteen weeks before 16-August-2014

It seems that some nineteen weeks before 16-August-2014 a critical point was reached in Bárðarbunga volcano. At that point it seems that pressure had started to rise inside the volcano. This resulted in change in earthquake activity that lasted until 16-August-2014 when magma started to break outside the magma chamber and making its way to the surface. This change in activity in Bárðarbunga volcano appears clearly on Week 15 and Week 16 and onwards.

Current changes in Bárðarbunga volcano

Currently Bárðarbunga volcano is subsiding and at the moment it is not going to start a caldera collapse if it continues in the same way as it has been doing for the past two and half month. Far as I can tell, it seem that magma is now being drained from two dykes (or sill) in Bárðarbunga volcano, while the dyke exit point is rather deep, with depth around 5 – 8 km (best estimate and it might be wrong). This appears to be drainage from the top, magma is going down the mountain (far as I can tell and that might be wrong too) and into the dyke. Rather than just rising from depth and going into the dyke, but that is also happening at the moment. How much magma is at work here I don’t know, it is however clear that there is enough magma in Bárðarbunga volcano to continue the eruption in Holuhraun for many more months. The drainage of the sill(s) explains the earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano, it also means this earthquake activity is going to continue for many more months. It also means that larger earthquakes that have higher magnitude than 5,7 can happen, even if they have not done so yet.

The rifting activity

It seems that the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano has started a rifting in Eastern volcanic zone in Iceland. That activity is going to continue for decades at least. This rifting means that more fissure eruptions are going to take place, both under Vatnajökull glacier and outside it (like Holuhraun eruption).

What is going to happen next?

While there is no way to be certain what is going to happen next in Bárðarbunga volcano since its eruption history is mostly unknown and has not been observed with instruments before. As the time passes the image is going to get clearer. For the moment Icelandic emergency authorities are preparing for an eruption under Vatnajökull glacier. Since an rifting is going to start south of Bárðarbunga volcano one day, when that might happen is not clear, since the situation south of Bárðarbunga volcano is more complex and has factors at work. One of those factors is Hamarinn (loki-fögrufjöll) volcano. It is clear that Bárðarbunga might or is likely to trigger a eruption in that volcano without warning. When that might happen is not known and that is always the case with volcanoes and possible eruptions.

New activity update for Bárðarbunga volcano is going to be written tomorrow (12-November-2014).

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.

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 Friday 07-November-2014

Bad weather in Iceland has been making monitoring of Bárðarbunga volcano difficult at best. Information for that reason is a bit limited at the moment.

Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano as it has been doing for the past two months. Largest earthquake this morning had the magnitude of 5,4 and happened at 07:11 UTC. Other earthquakes have been smaller, due to bad weather in all of Iceland fewer earthquakes have been recorded today and yesterday (06-November-2014).

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

GPS measurement are showing that subsidence in Bárðarbunga volcano continues at the same rate as before. The rate of subsidence is the same, the change however is that larger area of Bárðarbunga volcano has now started to drop, suggesting that current eruption in Holuhraun has started to drain magma from other dykes in Bárðarbunga volcano or sill in it. The details of this can be found here in latest report from Icelandic Met Office on current activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.

No change has taken place in Holuhraun, the eruption continues with same rate as before far as I know. Bad weather has blocked the web cameras and I don’t think there is anyone close the eruption site due the weather. Far as I know there is nothing else in the news about the activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.

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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.

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 Monday 3-November-2014

The eruption in Holuhraun continued last weekend as it has been doing for the past two months. No change happened. Due to bad weather this weekend it was difficult to monitor what was happening in Holuhraun. The eruption continues at full force from what I can see on Míla web cameras, when I was viewing it earlier today I noted that lava strokes where going up 20 – 50 meters high up. The main crater has build up around 90 meter high wall around the main eruption, blocking all view to it. I don’t know how stable this wall it, so collapses might happen in it at times without warning.

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

Largest earthquake during the weekend had the magnitude of 5,4. Other earthquakes where smaller, but there was a lot of earthquakes that had magnitude larger than 3,0. This high volume of strong earthquakes continues in Bárðarbunga volcano, so far more than 61 earthquake have been larger then magnitude 5,0, more then 228 earthquakes with magnitude 4 – 5 have happened since this started and more than 434 earthquakes have happened in Bárðarbunga volcano since August. The amount of magma that has erupted in Holuhrauni lava field is now 1,0 km³ (or more). The new lava now covers 70 square kilometre area according to last measurements that I know of. The eruption in Holuhraun is still fourteen times smaller than Laki eruption that happened 1783 – 1784. Far as I know there is currently nothing more to report.

Icelandic News

Stærsta gos síðan í Skaftáreldum (Rúv.is, Icelandic)

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Article updated at 00:37 UTC on 04-November-2014.

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.

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.