Bárðarbunga daily update for 7-October-2014

This is the daily update for Bárðarbunga volcano on 6-October-2014.

I’m sorry for this late update. I’ve been more busy today then I planned. I did manage to solve one network problem that I was having. The other network problem that I am having is out of my reach it seems (It’s a problem with the ISP network connection to my end I think).

Status of Bárðarbunga volcano on 7-October-2014

  • The largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 5,5. It took place at 10:22 UTC. Other earthquakes that happened today where smaller. It seems that around 5 – 20 earthquakes that are larger then magnitude 3,0 happen every day now in Bárðarbunga volcano. This has been going on now for almost two months.
  • The eruption in Holuhraun continues far as I know. I am not sure on how large the lava field is today. Visibility has been poor to none today due to weather in this area at the moment.
  • Tourists are continuing to trying to kill them self by getting close to the eruption site. The newest case involves a millionaire (or billionaire?) from Kazakhstan that landed close the lava field. They where lucky that wind did not change direction while they where there. The amount of SO2 close to the eruption has been recorded going up to 130.000 μg/m³. That is good enough to kill instantly and melt people lungs (read up on that can be found here).  News item on this stunt can be found here.
  • I suspect that activity in the south part of Bárðarbunga volcano system is about to start. When it is going to start full force is impossible to know for sure.
  • It is a question of Tungnafellsjökull volcano is getting unstable due the unrest in Bárðarbunga volcano. It appears to be in the same rift area, even if it is in a different volcano.
  • Skrokkalda volcano appears to be stable for now (No GVP profile). This is important since Tungafellsjökull volcano fissure swarm extents into it and it is next to Bárðarbunga volcano fissure swarm. This volcano has no information on-line about it, besides what I have written about it. It is an active volcano, but has been dormant for a long time. Some hydrothermal activity might happen in it on the surface.
  • I don’t know how the status is on Hamarinn volcano (Loki-Fögrufjöll). I am however assuming that volcano to be unstable. It last erupted in July-2011 with a minor eruption that lasted some 8 to 10 hours in total. Eruptions in Hamarinn volcano happens without warning and without any earthquake activity, at least not high amount of earthquake activity far as I can tell.

141007_2330
Activity today in Bárðarbunga volcano and the 45 km long dyke. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

hkbz.svd.23.46.utc.on.07.10.2014
This is how the earthquake did appear on my geophone in Heklubyggð. The website for my geophones can be found here. This image is released under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC Licence for more details.

If anything more happens I am going to add information about it here.

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.

141006_2325
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.

Bárðarbunga volcano daily update 02-October-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly if anything happens in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 23:03 UTC

  • The eruption in Holuhraun continues at the same rate as before. There are no signs of it slowing down. I don’t know if new craters have opened up, it doesn’t look like it at the moment.
  • Bad weather has prevented visibility check from the ground. There currently is storm in the area with limited visibility at the moment. Please check the wind map for more details.
  • Largest earthquakes so far today where two magnitude 4,8 earthquakes that took place at 00:36 UTC and 13:27 UTC. Second largest earthquake took place at 06:39 UTC and had the magnitude of 4,6. Other earthquakes are smaller.
  • It seems that earthquake activity is increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano. I don’t think that is a good sign. So far there are no signs of an eruption under the glacier, at least not a large one at the moment.
  • Magma continues to flow into the dyke at the same rate as before. It also appears that the pressure inside the dyke is increasing since the eruption in Holuhraun is not keeping up with the material that is flowing into it.
  • Due to bad weather I don’t have any more information on the eruption in Holuhraun.
  • Bad weather is expected tomorrow in north Iceland and in the higher parts of Iceland at the same time. Snow is expected to fall in mountains and higher areas. This is going to mean poor or no visibility on Míla web cameras during this bad weather.

Information from GPS data

GPS data shows that the dyke that feeds the eruption in Holuhraun eruption is being well fed. There are no signs of any contraction taking place and it is clearly not cooling down. Earthquakes happen in the dyke when it expands since the eruption is not big enough. I don’t know why eruption has not yet broken up in a new place yet. As the times goes on the rock around the dyke gets soft from the heat, it turns into rubber type of mush that no longer breaks. This also applies to the crust above it. The depth down to the dyke is no more than 2 km, but it is expected that it is around 1 km or shallower in some areas.

141002_2225
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano today and for the last 48 hours. This is just the earthquakes that have been recorded today trough the bad weather that has been taking place. So I am expecting more earthquake to have taken place than are showing up here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

When the earthquake data is connected to GPS data it tells the story of an dyke that is being well fed and is trying to expand into nearby crust. Creating minor earthquake activity in the process. It is erupting so it can only expand by the volume that the eruption is not erupting. I don’t know how much that is, the dyke it self is around 3 – 4 meters wide and around 10 – 15 km deep (best estimate).

DYNC_3mrap.svd.02.10.2014.at.21.39.utc
The dyke size and feeding appears clearly here. I don’t know why it is moving west now, rather than east. This might suggest that something else is going on that does not appear on the surface yet (it might never appear on the surface). Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

URHC_3mrap.svd.02.10.at.21.39.utc
It is almost the same story on this GPS station. With the exception it is not moving to the west. It is stable where it is. This GPS station is almost on top of the dyke. So any change is going to appear quickly on it. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

More GPS stations and information can be found here on University of Iceland website.

Break from Friday

I am going to go on a little break during this weekend from Friday. This means the following.

  • Comments are going to stay a little longer in moderation queue if you are commenting for the first time, or posting many links. If your comment vanishes it means the spam filter ate it, so it is going to take me a little time to recover it. So just wait a little for it.
  • If anything happens I might not be able to update this website with newest information right away. I will try to do soon as possible if I can.
  • Update for the Friday (03-October-2014) might be short and come in late (or not at all). When I don’t know yet.

This has been a busy one and half month for me. I’ve been watching Bárðarbunga volcano for almost all hours of the day regardless where I am and what I am doing. After a while it starts to tire you. That is why Icelandic Met Office and University of Iceland have people on rotation during this eruption. I don’t have that option so I just have to take a short breaks and hope nothing big happens while I am resting my self for a short while.

I did learn during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 that if I spend too much time in this I burn out and the recovery from that is long process. That is why I now have plan to prevent that during a long eruption, that covers eruptions that are longer than one month. Like is now the case in Bárðarbunga volcano.

I advice this for anyone how is going to watch this eruption for a long period of time (since it is going to last a long period of time). Spending too much time on an eruption is not good. Even a one day break is a good thing for anyone watching this eruption.

In the case there is no new article tomorrow. I wish everyone a good weekend.

Article updated at 23:42 UTC

Article updated at 23:43 UTC

Bárðarbunga volcano daily update 1-October-2014

Please note that this information might get outdated quickly if anything changes in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Bárðarbunga volcano current status at 21:53 UTC

  • The second eruption in Holuhraun has now been going on for one month and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. There is also one and a half month since activity started in Báðarbunga volcano (16-August-2014).
  • The lava field in Holuhraun is now 47,8 square kilometres wide. It grows every day, I don’t know how much.
  • There is now a large cinder cone (also information here from Wikipedia) (also called scoria cone) building up in Holuhraun. It is my best guess that is around 60 – 80 meters high already. It might be higher, it hard for me to be sure since I am just basing my view of recent videos of the eruption area.
  • The erupting fissure appears to be 400 – 600 meters long, based on videos that have been posted on-line in recent days.
  • There is earthquake activity along the dyke, some of it is now under the glacier and that is worrying. Since it might mean that magma is trying to find a new path to the surface. This happens because the current eruption in Holuhraun is not big enough and the dyke can only expand so much to the sides.
  • Largest earthquake today took place at 17:59 UTC and had the magnitude of 4,8. Second largest earthquake today took place at 02:44 UTC and had the magnitude of 4,2.
  • Storm weather has prevented any good observations from the ground of the eruption, or at least limited them. New storm is expected tomorrow (02-October-2014) on Friday (03-October-2014). The storm on Friday is going to be snow storm in north Iceland and up in high mountains. This includes Holuhraun.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to drop around the same rate as before.
  • SO2 pollution is a big problem in Iceland now. With highest peak going up to 5800 micrograms per square meter (μg/m3) for an average of 10 minutes today.
  • Nothing else to report far as I know.

Donations

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News on my moving to Iceland

In December I am going to move back to Iceland due to money issues. I am going to stay in Iceland for maximum of three years, I hope no more then two years if my plan works out as I expect to. After that time I am going to move back to Denmark and try to due it that time around so that I can stay permanently. I did figure out few days ago that I just want to live in Denmark. I just wanted to add this information since I have written about this before.

Article updated at 22:01 UTC.

Bárðarbunga volcano daily update 30-September-2014

This information is going to change quickly if anything happens in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 21:49 UTC

  • There is no signs of the eruption in Holuhraun is about to end. Currently there are only one or two craters erupting.
  • The lava field is now around 47 square kilometre wide. It grows in wideness at the moment, it is not getting any longer since the magma has not the energy to go any future than it already has.
  • Earthquake activity continues to happen under the dyke and the eruption crater. So there is clearly high pressure in the dyke and not it is possible that the eruption that is now taking place is not large enough for the all the magma that is down in the dyke.
  • Largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 4,8 and took place at 19:24 UTC. Second largest earthquake took place at 14:53 UTC and had the magnitude of 4,7.
  • The lava that has now erupted in Holuhraun is two times larger than all of lava erupted in Kröflueldar eruptions that took place between 1974 – 1984.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera has now dropped some 30 meters according to Magnus Tumi Guðmundsson geologists at University of Iceland. There is a plan to fly over Bárðarbunga volcano by end of this week, when maintain of the air plain that is being used for this is done.
  • Icelandic Met Office has confirmed that it is just lava flowing into Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. This is not a new fissure at that location this time around.
  • Rifting in Bárðarbunga volcano area is about what Iceland moves in about 150 year period. This is happening all at once and it does not appear to be over.
  • Bad weather has prevented scientists  from being in the area most of the week. The weather is not expect to improve until 2-October-2014, since new storm is expected tomorrow.

One month ago at Holuhraun

This is the news one month ago (almost to the day) about what is happening back then.

An eruption possible in Holuhraun lava (28-August-2014. Rúv.is)
Fissure eruption in Holuhraun lava field (29-August-2014. Rúv.is)
Holuhraun eruption lasted 3-4 hours (29-August-2014. Rúv.is)

Tomorrow (1-October-2014) it is exactly one month since this happened.

Fresh eruption north of Bardarbunga -video (31-August-2014. Rúv.is)
Fresh eruption: 60 m high lava fountains (31-August-2014. Rúv.is)

How strong wind affects earthquake recoding

Here is a image from my geophone of how strong wind in north Atlantic ocean and Greenland sea affects my geophone recording and other seismometers in Iceland.

140930.210500.bhre.psn

Here is how you read this image. First is the earthquake, the P wave is first, second is S wave, along with other wave forms that happen in earthquake. The wave patterns that is all over this earthquake recording is ocean wave from winds. Both the ocean waves that happen at the coast, but also the ocean waves at deep ocean far from Iceland coast line. The spike at 21:07:21 – 21:07:41 is a electric noise. The noise at 21:08:41 – 21:09:21 is an animal or some other type of noise source. This image is released under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC Licence page for more details.

Article updated at 21:51 UTC.

Friday update on Bárðarbunga volcano 26-September-2014

This is the Friday 26-September-2014 update on Bárðarbunga volcano. This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 20:31 UTC

  • Largest earthquake today had the magnitude 5,2, it happened at 16:49 UTC. Second largest earthquake today took place at 18:54 UTC and had the magnitude of 4,3. There have so far been fewer larger earthquakes today than in last days.
  • The caldera dropped 30cm in the magnitude 5,2 earthquake. The caldera continues to drop around 50cm/day according to GPS measurements. Total caldera drop is now around 29 meters.
  • Smaller earthquakes have been taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano. This means the drop is continuing during those earthquakes.
  • Magma continues to flow into Bárðarbunga volcano around the same rate as before. This can be seen on GPS data on nearby GPS monitoring stations. For GPS information please check University of Iceland GPS information page here.
  • Bad sandstorm was in Holuhraun today. It was so bad that it was only possible to see 50 – 100 meters in front of people according to Rúv news earlier today.
  • The eruption in Holuhraun continues in the same manner today as yesterday. The lava field is now larger than 40 square kilometres. What the exact size is I don’t know since it is not known today due to weather.
  • Earthquake activity continues under the dyke and that suggests the pressure is increasing in it.
  • Currently there is no eruption under the glacier. If it was it would be visible on SIL stations around Vatnajökull glacier.
  • Nothing more has happened in Bárðarbunga volcano today far as I know. That might change without warning.
  • Storms are expected to take place in Iceland all weekend. There is going to be around three or four storms taking place this weekend with strong winds up to 20m/s and it can go up to 40m/s in wind gusts. This is going to effect SIL stations and my geophones as the storms pass over parts of Iceland.

Current status Saturday 27-September-2014 at 20:30 UTC

  • No major change has taken place today in the eruption in Holuhraun. There is also no sign that is ending. Most of the eruption takes place in one crater at the moment. New fissures might open up without warning in the area where the dyke is located.
  • Bárðarbunga caldera continues to drop around 50cm/day.
  • Largest earthquake today so far is a magnitude 5,2 that took place at 19:31 UTC. Second largest earthquake today was at 02:00 and had the magnitude of 5,0.
  • Due to snowstorm there is almost no visibility to the eruption area in Holuhraun. For the people in the field the visibility today was reported to be 50 to 100 meters.
  • There has been a lot of smaller earthquakes taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano. Some of those earthquakes are taking place due to caldera subsiding. Some of those earthquakes are taking place because the magma inside Bárðarbunga volcano is looking for a new pathway up the surface. It either has not found it or does not have the pressure yet to go up the crust yet.
  • There is less activity today in the dyke. There is however worrying earthquake activity in the dyke at the start of Dyngjujökull glacier. It might mean that magma is trying to get up to the surface. There already have been eruptions under the glacier in this area without any earthquake activity before they started. All of those eruptions lasted for a short period of time.
  • Nothing else is to report so far today (27-September-2014).

Update Sunday 28-September-2014 at 17:17 UTC

  • Largest earthquake today took place at 12:34 UTC. Other earthquakes have been smaller today.
  • Bárðarbunga caldera has dropped 7,4 meter since 12-September-2014 according to GPS measurements in the centre of the caldera. That GPS data can be found here.
  • The lava field is now 44,5 square kilometres wide. It is now larger than Mývatn (around 40 square kilometres wide) for comparison.
  • Harmonic tremor suggest that pressure is increasing in the Bárðarbungu volcano magma chamber. It drops once the magma finds way out, then it starts building up again.
  • No other information have been released today. Other activity is the same as for the past few days.

Storm notice!

Three bad storms are expected in Iceland in next few days. In parts of Iceland wind is expected to go up to 50m/s in wind gusts. This is going to effect all earthquake recording and monitoring of Bárðarbunga volcano.

Next update

Next update is going to be on Monday 28-September-2014. I wish everyone a good weekend.

Article updated at 20:31 UTC on 27-September-2014
Article updated at 17:17 UTC on 28-September-2014

Bárðarbunga daily update 24-September-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 21:47 UTC

  • Eruption in Holuhraun continues at the same phase as yesterday. There is however just one or two crater erupting at the moment. New crater might open without warning if anything changes.
  • The lava field is now around 40 square km in size. It is now second largest lava field in Iceland at the moment. Largest lava field did come from Hekla volcano in 1947 in 13 month long eruption. It is expected if anything changes that Holuhraun lava field is going to reach 80 square km size in about two weeks (or one and a half) time.
  • Largest earthquake since midnight had the magnitude 5,2. Other earthquakes today have been smaller in magnitude.
  • Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside around 50cm/day. Total subside is now around 27 meters.
  • The lava field is going over a path that has been used by geologist to get to the eruption. The path in question is called Gæsavatnaleið. At last check that lava field had around 200 meters until it was going to go over the road and close it permanently.
  • Earthquake activity is increasing in the dyke. This suggest that pressure is increasing inside the dyke. This also means there is high risk of an eruption in new location in the dyke, inducing under the glacier with everything that follows it (glacier flood, volcano ash and so on).
  • If eruption happens under the glacier the harmonic tremor is going to jump up and glacier flood is going to be visible soon after that. Depending on where the water is flowing under the glacier.
  • No major change has taken place today.

Other things

I am sorry for this late update today. I got a hardware to watch Icelandic Television in Denmark over the internet (IPTV). But the video kept freezing and it took a while to figure that out. Turns out the problem is my current router, it just can’t handle the traffic. So I had to get a new router that did cost me 103,78€. The new router is going to solve this problem for good. The last router that I did buy did cost me 25€, I had to buy cheap router since I was broke at that time.

Article updated at 22:06 UTC. Corrected numbers about the lava field size.

Bárðarbunga daily update 23-September-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 23:03 UTC

  • Largest earthquake from midnight was a magnitude 5,2 that took place at 04:33 UTC. Second largest earthquake today took place at 13:44 UTC and had the magnitude of 4,5. Other earthquakes have been smaller.
  • Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside at around 50cm/day.
  • No major change has been reported today regarding Holuhraun eruption. That might be due all the geologist being on a convention today in Bifröst University.
  • Harmonic tremor suggest that more magma is flowing into Bárðarbunga volcano system. Increasing the pressure in it. Interestingly this does not appear to have created any inflation in the caldera, at least not any long term inflation is taking place in the caldera. There is less magma erupting from Holuhraun at the moment than is flowing into Bárðarbunga volcano, this is based on current data. It is clear that in new magma is going somewhere, but where is a question with no answer at the moment.
  • GPS data has stopped acting strange. I am not sure why that happened or why GPS data was strange for few days.
  • Harmonic tremor signal at 22:40 suggest a minor eruption did start and stop under the glacier. This was one of minor eruption that have been taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past month. I don’t expect to have broken the glacier. If there is any glacier flood from this minor eruption it is going to small, since I don’t expect large amount of glacier being melted in this minor eruption.
  • Earthquake activity is moving south along the dyke from Bárðarbunga. That is not good since it suggests that pressure has started to increase in the dyke. This means new eruptions might start without warning where the dyke is located.
  • Storm is expected in Iceland tomorrow, with wind up to 35m/s. So detection of earthquakes is going to be difficult while the storm passes over.

Other new items I have not come across today. If anything new happens, I am going to add it here or write a new article if it is big enough event.

Common questions about Bárðarbunga answered #1

This is my attempt to answer the most common questions about Bárðarbunga volcano. I don’t have time to cover all the questions, so this is just the most common questions that I have seen on this website. Along with few questions that people who are not into geology might want to know the answers too.

Bárðarbunga volcano common questions answered

Why is Bárðarbunga erupting?

This is part of the natural process in Iceland. Since Iceland is on a Mid-Atlantic ridge (MAR) [Mid-Atlantic Ridge]. The drift is 2,5cm/year, but it doesn’t happen evenly over the ridge and it happens in jumps. So over a period of 200 – 700 years nothing happens, until one day the process start and the ground starts opening up and eruption cycle starts that might last for years. That is what happened in Bárðarbunga on 16-August-2014. Day before (15-August-2015) there was nothing suggesting to anyone that an eruption was about to start.

Is the eruption dangerous?

Yes and No. It depends on what it does and what happens. Today it is not dangerous to anything when it comes to lava flows since nothing exists where the eruption is taking place. Since the eruption is taking place in a desert in Iceland, where nothing grows or lives. Most danger at the present time is the SO2 gas, CO and CO2 gas from the eruption. Mostly SO2 since it goes long distances with the wind and is in high density. It has already created problems for people in Iceland closest to the eruption, even if that is distance of 100 – 200 km.

What about eruption under the glacier?

There have already been five (or six) eruption under the glacier since this started on 16-August-2014. None of them were big and did not break up trough the glacier or create large glacier flood. The risk is that new eruption are going to take place under the glacier and are going to create problems due to glacier floods that happen soon after. It is expected that three bridges in north Iceland are going to get lost if an large glacier flood takes place. With large being more than 60,000m³ of water each second (or what they use to calculate that type of flood). In south Iceland there is risk to dams, electric infrastructure, roads, bridges and other things in the path of the glacier flood. Glacier floods are expected to go at least two ways from the glacier in the worst case.

Is it possible to predict when next eruption happens?

No. It is not. We at best get a warning with earthquakes some hour at best before it. But as this eruption has shown, that is not always the case along the dyke.

How long is the dyke?

From start to end the dyke is around 45 km long, most of it is under a glacier. It is also creating rift valley above it. That rift valley is going to be filled with new magma as the time goes on. That might not happen in this eruption cycle.

How long is this going to last?

We don’t know for sure. At that shortest some months, at the longest for the next decade or so.

Is this eruption going to create an ash cloud?

Yes, it might. Eruption under the glacier is going to create ash cloud. How big and how high it is going to be depends on the energy of the eruption and where it goes depends on the wind.

Is it going to create a flight chaos as happened with Eyjafjallajökull in 2010?

No, that is unlikely to happen. While disruptions should be expected once an eruption starts under the glacier that appears to be powerful enough to break trough the glacier. The volcano ash from Bárðarbunga volcano is going to be different, since the magma is basalt, it is going to explode on contact with water, creating volcano. No lava is not going to be erupting while water gets into the erupting craters. This also means that the volcano ash that forms is larger and heavier as result. That means it doesn’t stay as long up in the air and does not go long distances.

What is happening to the caldera?

The caldera in Bárðarbunga volcano is collapsing. The older caldera is collapsing into a new caldera. This process seems to be independent of the rifting that is now taking place in the north zone of the Eastern Volcanic Zone (EVZ) in Iceland. For image of the rift zones in Iceland click here. Science paper on the rift zones can be found here.

The caldera is collapsing because a weakness has formed in the magma chamber. This process started some time ago, since I don’t think it is a new one. But the end process seems to be taking place now. The caldera is going to stay up for as long there is magma holding it up. It is not possible to know when the caldera is going to collapse. All we know is that it is going to take place. When and how is not something we know and that might be a problem.

Is it possible to go there?

No, it is not possible to go there. The area is closed for public traffic and for a good reason. The lava is full of dangerous gases that can kill in few moments. Wind can change and bring those gases to people without warning. What is possible is to rent an air plane to fly over the area, that is expensive and not everyone can afford it. When the eruption ends the area is going to be opened up, then it is going to be possible to check out the lava field, if anything is going to be visible after the glacier floods that might take place in this area if an major eruption takes place under the glacier.

What is a fissure eruption?

Fissure eruption is an eruption that happens along a rift in the crust. Often there is a dyke feeding it, as is the case with current Bárðarbunga volcano eruption. The dyke from Bárðarbunga volcano is 45 km long and eruptions can happen along it all the way up the main volcano. After a while, the fissure eruption often ends with just one or two crater erupting. This is now taking place in Holuhraun eruption. That is also increasing the risk of new fissures opening up without warning, both close to the current eruption site and along the 45 km long dyke.

What type of magma is erupting?

Bárðarbunga volcano is erupting magma called Basalt. That means it flows easily and is not explosive. This type of magma only gets explosive when it comes into contact with glacier or water (lakes, oceans, rivers and ground water). More informations about what types of magma that exist can be found in the link below.

Types of magma
Hawaiian eruption
Magma

Short answers about the website

How many people run this website?

It’s just me. One person.

Does it take long to work on it?

Yes. I work on it for up to 10 hours a day this past month due to the eruption in Bárðarbunga. I am always checking for new data and checking what the news says for new information. I can take me up to 6 hours to write a long article, since there is eruption taking place now and information change quickly I try to write everything that I need to write down in about one hour. This article for example has taken me around three hours to write since I started writing it (with some dinner breaks).

Why do updates take so long to appear?

I like to check the data and the news for new information. Since it takes time for me to find and check that information I often cannot update until late in the evening. I update quickly as I can if a new eruption starts or if a large earthquake takes place.

How do you fund this?

With donations, Amazon Advertisements and out of my own pocket. I only have at current just social welfare from Iceland, it is small and so small that I can at times hardly pay my bills here in Denmark.

Is is possible to support your work?

Yes. Use the PayPal button. If you don’t want to use PayPal you can support me directly with a bank transfer. Information for that can be found here.

You have your own seismometers?

I don’t have seismometers as such. What I got is called geophone. It is not as sophisticated as seismometer, it gets the job done for me and that is good enough. I plan on one day to buy a Volksmeter, they are however expensive and cost $1995 for dual channel one. My geophone website can be found here. I have been running geophones in Iceland since 2006 when I started my first one in Hvammstangi, Iceland.

What software are you using?

For the moment I am using WinSDR and Winquake for my earthquake recordings. WinSDR comes with the geophone and so did WinQuake since I was buying the hardware. More details can be found here, both on hardware and software. I plan moving to FreeBSD solution once I have learned to program my own software for this. I am going to do so when I am in Iceland. I don’t expect to have anything else to do (besides monitoring eruptions taking place and writing few books and learning German, Portuguese and Spanish).

How long are you going to continue to run your geophone?

I don’t know. I know that I can do so forever. I have already closed down Eyrarbakki geophone station and Skeiðflöt geophone station since the people hosting them where unable to do so any longer. I always have one geophone with me where I live. So I am always going to have one running, along with possible long period seismometers that I might buy at later day.

Are you in Iceland?

No, at the moment I live in Denmark. I am going to move back to Iceland in December for a short period (I hope) since I can’t afford living in Denmark on my social welfare from Iceland. I don’t know for how long I am going to stay there. I don’t expect to last there due to culture issue that I am having, even if I am born in Iceland. I am considering moving to Flores, Azores Island [to Santa Cruz das Flores] next time (the Island is a volcano and on the mid-Atlantic ridge). Even if living there is in technical aspects of it out in the middle of nowhere. I just need to have the income to live there and at the moment I don’t have it. When that is going to happen is something I don’t know at the moment.

Can I use what you write here?

Yes, you can. The only requirement is that you provide link to the source material. Since this website is under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This however does not apply to comments and images that I don’t own. More details can be found here on how to share this website properly and in accordance with the licence that I use for it.

Article updated at 20:41 UTC.
Article updated at 21:02 UTC.

Bárðarbunga volcano daily update 22-September-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 14:47 UTC

  • The largest earthquake so far is magnitude 4,8 in Bárðarbunga caldera. There is however continued activity in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera so this number is going to change as the day goes on.
  • The eruption in Holuhraun does not show any signs of ending any time soon. The lava field is now around 37 square km in size. It is growing in size every hour. There is no sign of less production of lava coming from the active craters in Holuhraun. The lava field is not getting longer, it is getting wider instead. Since the lava does not have energy to get any further then it already has.
  • There is continued risk of new eruptions in Holuhraun and south of it, including under the glacier.
  • According to Ármann Höskuldsson geologist at University of Iceland both Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in 2010 (information here, Wikipedia) and Grímsfjall volcano eruption in 2011 (information here, Wikipedia) were smaller then current eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano and connected events.
  • It is expected that eruption is going to start in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. When is not known.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to subside at the same rate as before, that rate is currently 50cm/day.
  • More magma is flowing into Bárðarbunga volcano from depth (more than 10 km deep source). It is clear that current eruption and earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to continue for months at shortest. This might go on for years at the longest. With minor breaks as often happen in fissure eruptions.
  • On 1-October-2014 the eruption in Holuhraun has been ongoing for one month.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 20:24 UTC

  • There has not been any major changes since earlier today. At 13:36 UTC a magnitude 4,7 earthquake took place. Other earthquakes so have been smaller.
  • There was (or is) a quiet period for the past few hours. This might be because more magma is flowing into the magma chamber of Bárðarbunga volcano. Increasing the pressure and at the same time creating fewer earthquakes. That might change at any time without warning.

Update at 23:13 UTC

  • The lava field at Holuhraun is now 0.5 km³. It is now the second largest lava field in Iceland during the past 150 years. Only Hekla lava field from 1947 is larger at the moment, it is 0.8 km³ in size. If the Holuhraun eruption continues as it has, it is going to get Hekla lava field size in about two weeks.

If anything new happens I am going to add that information here.

Article updated at 20:25 UTC on 22-September-2014.
Article updated at 23:13 UTC on 22-September-2014.