Daily Bárðarbunga volcano update on 18-September-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status on Bárðarbunga volcano at 20:36 UTC

  • Largest earthquakes in Bárðarbunga yesterday (17-September-2014) was a magnitude 5,2. Largest earthquake today (18-September-2014) was a magnitude 5,3. Other earthquakes have been smaller.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to drop. When the magnitude 5,3 earthquake happened today at 14:21 UTC the caldera dropped 20 – 30 cm.
  • GPS data (more GPS data can be found here) suggest to me that the dyke at Vonarskarð might be getting ready to erupt or getting re-activated. It formed in the first two weeks when current activity started in Bárðarbunga volcano on 16-August-2014. It is already there, it however failed to start an eruption, but as I say, it might be getting ready to get active again. This has been followed by some minor earthquake activity. There is however a more complicated picture into this. The details can be found later in this article. [Please note that due to licensing issues I only link to the GPS data. This means that data on the link is going to get updated in next few hours and are going to look different from what I have written about them now.]
  • The eruption in Holuhraun continues as before. There has not been any view of the eruption for the past two days due to fog. So I don’t know for sure what is happening there.

Harmonic tremor data

I can see two things in the harmonic tremor data. The pressure is increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano system. I am also seeing pulses of harmonic tremor and that is not good. It means that magma has somewhere found a path to the surface, it just isn’t there yet, but it is working way up. It is impossible to know if this magma gets all the way up or not. Small eruptions are also not impossible, since there signature might simply be lost in the noise on the tremor plots that I am using from Icelandic Met Office.

Tremor in Dyngjuháls SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Tremor on Vonaskarð SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Harmonic tremor as it appears on Skrokkalda SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Harmonic tremor on Grímsfjall SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Current status on the cauldrons

According to the news that I have heard some of the cauldrons that are in Dyngjujökull (south of Holuhraun) are still getting deeper. This suggest that there is still a lot of warm under the glacier that is melting the glacier. No glacier flood has happened due this. I don’t know if any new cauldrons have formed in recent days. Most of the cauldrons are located above the dyke, few are located above Bárðarbunga volcan in its slopes.

Tungafellsjökull volcano

I am seeing in the GPS data that Tungafellsjökull volcano might be getting more magma inflow. Since it appears to be inflating. This has not been confirmed so far. Currently there is nothing to suggest that Tungafellsjökull volcano is going to erupt at this point in time. It might simply be responding to the all the noise that Bárðarbunga is making at the moment, along with stress changes in the crust. If it erupts, it would be first documented eruption in the past 8000 years at least (maybe longer).

Next update is going to be tomorrow or sooner if anything major happens. It is possible to watch my webicorders here. They are updated every 5 min.

Article updated at 21:05 UTC.
Article updated at 21:14 UTC.

Bárðarbunga volcano daily update 17-September-2014

This information is going to go outdated quickly.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano at 16:36 UTC

  • The largest earthquake in past 24 hours took place yesterday (16-September-2014) at 21:34 UTC. It had the magnitude of 5,4. The largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 3,3 so far. This might change without warning.
  • Lava continues to flow out of the main crater in Holuhraun. The eruption is diminishing for the moment. That might change without warning if an new fissure opens up in the current eruption area, or in the glacier south of it. River of lava has been observed from the main erupting crater. Smaller craters that have stopped erupting are just emitting gas, two of three of the craters that have stopped erupting have lava lake in them at present time (latest report).
  • GPS data over the past few days suggest that magma flow into Bárðarbunga volcano is changing. I don’t think this is a good news. At the moment it is unclear what this means for current eruption and what is happening in the volcano.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to drop around 50cm/day at current rate. That is slightly slower than when it was dropping at the rate of 90cm/day about week ago.
  • Risk of eruptions under the glacier remains high and it is highly likely that eruptions might have happened under the glacier without anyone noticing them on the surface.
  • No major changes have taken place in glacier rivers that come from Bárðarbunga volcano area. Both when it comes to conductivity of water in the glacier rivers and amount of water in them.
  • There is currently no visibility to the eruption in Holuhraun due to thick fog in the area. I don’t know when the weather is going to clear up.
  • More magma continues to flow into the dyke than is erupting from it according to latests observations. This increases the risk of new eruption taking place along the dyke without warning.

Progress of the current activity

The eruption is happening in two parts in my view. The first part is the rifting episode that has now started in Bárðarbunga volcano fissure swarm. The rifting is going to happen in jumps with quiet period between them and the crust is going to crack or open up when that happens. This rifting has started in the northern part of Bárðarbunga fissure system. It has not yet started in the south part of the fissure, where features like Tröllagígar are (Tröllagíar crater row) exist. They erupted in the years 1862 – 1864. That magma that came up there closely resembles the magma that is now erupting in Holuhraun.

The second event that is happening is the collapse of Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. I now think that is an separate event in it self. Something must have happened in the volcano during past period of activity in 19th century that started this collapse, even if it did not start full force until current eruption episode. The caldera collapse is not going to stop the rifting process, that is going to run it course of the next few years (3 – 5 years is my best estimate now). This collapse is however going to make bad situation worse since when the collapse happens it is going to be a major problem for the local area. Since the area south of Bárðarbunga also has several hydro-dams that are in risk of some major damage, not just from fissure eruptions but also from glacier floods when they happen. In glacier floods triggered by eruption contain a lot more than just water. Glacier floods contains fragment of the glacier, many up to several meters high (20 – 60 meters high should be expected), mud, glacier clay, rocks, volcano material of all types, gases and several other things that I don’t know what are.

Current status at 18:45 UTC.

  • Bárðarbunga volcano has dropped 25 meters according to measurements taking today by University of Iceland and Icelandic Met Office. The speed of the drop in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera has slowed down from what it was about a week ago.
  • Currently the dyke from Bárðarbunga volcano is not expanding. Scientists are also not sure now how much lava has erupted at current time.

Current status at 23:56 UTC

  • There seems to be quiet period in the rifting episode at the moment. Along with general quiet period in Bárðarbunga volcano. It does not mean this is over, the eruption in Holuhraun continues and I continue to see harmonic tremor spikes taking place. I don’t know what the harmonic tremor spikes mean yet.
  • Largest earthquakes now have the magnitude of 4,1 (at 22:51 UTC) and magnitude 3,2 earthquake at 22:28 UTC.

Article updated at 16:56 UTC. Minor fixes that I needed to do on the text.
Article updated at 18:45 UTC.
Article updated at 18:48 UTC.
Article updated at 23:56 UTC.

Daily update on Bárðarbunga volcano, 15-September-2014

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status at 12:59 UTC

  • Largest earthquake so far is a magnitude 5,4 that took place at 08:04 UTC.
  • Caldera has so far dropped 45 cm of today. Largest drop took place during the magnitude 5,4 earthquake and that lowering continued for two to three hours after the earthquake.
  • Eruption in Holuhraun continues at similar rate as yesterday (14-September-2014). Now it is mostly one crater that is erupting. The flow of lava is also not powerful enough to cross the river. So now it is spreading out from the central crater in all directions.
  • Earthquake activity has been moving south along the dyke. This means there is higher risk for earthquake eruptions under the glacier. There have been several minor eruptions under the glacier already.

Current status at 20:51 UTC

  • New vent has opened up south of current eruption. I can’t tell from Míla web cameras if this is a new vent or just old vent getting active again.
  • Most of the eruption continues in the central crater at the moment.
  • The rifting phase of the activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to take months to finish. In that time there are going to be more earthquakes and more fissure eruptions. There is also high risk of new dyke intrusions going into other directions from Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • If the Holuhraun eruption ends, a new one is going to start soon after in different place of that dyke. It might be on glacier free area or under the glacier. There is no way of knowing that for sure.

Still more on comments

If anyone sees a comment that might be a spam comment that has gotten trough my filter. Please let me know about it so I can remove them. I have removed several comments that I regard as spam on closer inspection. Please keep all political discussions to your self. There is plenty of space elsewhere on the internet for such discussion. This is not the website for such talk.

Article updated at 20:51 UTC.

What to expect from Bárðarbunga volcano

I am writing this now, since I might not have time to do so on Monday. Updates are going to continue to go here until Monday. Unless something major happens.

The collapse of Bárðarbunga volcano

The collapse of Bárðarbunga volcano has already started. The caldera collapse in Bárðarbunga volcano started on 16-August-2014 and has been going on since then. Here is what I am expecting from the caldera collapse once it reaches its peak.

  • There are going to be earthquakes in the range of 5,5 and up to 6,7. Maybe larger if the crust can handle it.
  • Glacier flood are going to go south-west and north (Húsavík area) and possibly in other directions. I am expecting damage to hydrothermal plants in the pathway of the floods. How much damage there is going to be depends on the magnitude of the flood and the path it takes.
  • I am expecting long periods of no power in parts of Iceland once the flood has passed. I am also expecting lack of communications in large areas of Iceland. This is why Rúv has been telling people to get long-wave radios for the past few days. Usage of mobile network is also going to be unreliable in large parts of Iceland once the collapse starts full force in Bárðarbunga volcano. Due to damage that glacier floods are going to create.
  • I am expecting an ash cloud that might go up to 20 km or higher up in the atmosphere. It is however impossible to know for sure what happens until this starts.
  • It is difficult to know fore sure how much drop is going to take place, but it can be up to many hundreds of meters.
  • I fear that north slope of Bárðarbunga might collapse forward once this starts. Earthquakes in the area give clues about weakness forming there.

Bárðarbunga volcano is 2009 meters high above the ocean. This means there is a lot of material that is going to blow outwards once the collapse starts full force. This is might be one of largest eruptions in Iceland since it got populated more than one thousands years ago. I am hoping that the picture that I am drawing up is not as bad the reality once this starts. I am also hoping that no loss of life is going to happen. I am hoping for the best in this case, but the clues that I am getting are no good at all.

Current status on Bárðarbunga volcano at 19:30 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status on Bárðarbunga volcano

  • There are now two lava lakes (at least) in the fissure that has been erupting in Holuhraun. The eruption has not yet stopped, but it is less powerful but the flow of magma from the craters has not slowed down based on latest observations.
  • Bárðarbunga caldera is getting lower by 80 cm/day according to GPS measurements and other measurements that have been made. Total drop in the caldera so far is 21 meter. Cracks have started to form in the glacier that fills the caldera. Normally there are no cracks in that glacier. Most of the cracks are in the central caldera.
  • More magma is flowing into the dyke than out of it. Eruption has not yet increased yet, this also increases the risk of new eruptions along the dyke.
  • The central crater in the eruption continues to erupt, other craters have mostly stopped erupting and several of them are just emitting gas now.
  • Largest earthquake since midnight was a magnitude 4,7 at 09:32 UTC.
  • The lava field continues to flow into Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. It is slowly blocking it, some explosions might take place, but due to the thickness of the lava that does not seem to happen often.
  • SO2 pollution is a big problem now in parts of East Iceland. The pollution goes depending on wind, so for the moment it is East Iceland that is having this issue.
  • GPS data shows that inflation continues in the dyke. This is because more magma is flowing into it than erupting from as I did mention above.

Icelandic Government preparing for major eruption

It seems that Icelandic government has started to prepare for major eruption in Iceland. This is evident when they put up a banner like this on Rúv website.

Rúv radio blackout alert banner due to an eruption at the bottom of this image. Screen-shot of Rúv.is website.

When the national radio of Iceland sets up a image like that. I take it as they know that things are bad in Bárðarbunga volcano. Same way as I know it. The website in question that the banner connects to can be found here, it has English text.

Updates 12-September-2014

  • The amount of SO2 in Reyðarfirði has now around 4000 µg/m³ (at 22:45 UTC). People in that village and nearby area advised to stay indoors and don’t go outside.
  • The largest crater in Holuhraun is now getting close to being 70 meters high.

Updates 13-September-2014

  • Largest earthquake since midnight was a magnitude 4,9 earthquake at 07:58 UTC. At that same time the caldera dropped 25 cm according to news on Rúv.
  • GPS stations show fast movements around Bárðarbunga  volcano. This means the current activity is far from over, even there has been a minor drop in activity at the moment.
  • Instability in Bárðarbunga volcano continues to increase.
  • There appears to be a fast inflation in Grímsfjall volcano. It is unclear why this is happening, but it might be due to influence from Bárðarbunga volcano. The sudden inflation in Grímsfjall volcano appears clearly on GPS measurement that are being done on top of the volcano. This might not lead to an eruption, since Grímsfjall volcano can take a lot of magma into its system. The eruption that took place in 2011 was the largest one in at least 140 years. Turns out this was just snow on the GPS antenna. So this is false alarm when it comes to Grímsfjall volcano.
  • Dangerous levels of SO2 are problem in eastern Iceland and where the wind blows it. Gas at the eruption site is also huge risk to anyone working in close proximity to the eruption site. It is also blocking the view to the eruption at Míla cams, along with dust storm that appears to be taking place now due to wind.
  • The eruption at Holuhraun is about the same as yesterday (12-September-2014).
  • The eruption is now confined mostly to the main crater in the fissure. Other craters have stopped erupting currently. That might change without warning.

Updates 14-September-2014

  • The eruption in Holuhraun seems to be ending. During the day the power of the eruption has dropped. The largest central crater is still erupting, but at a lot less power than yesterday and on 12-September-2014. Eruption has stopped in smaller craters in the eruption fissure.
  • The lava has stopped moving forward into Jökulsá á Fjöllum. It no longer has the energy to progress into the glacier river. New fields of lava are forming closer to the crater that continues to erupt.
  • Largest earthquake today (when this is written) is a magnitude 5,3 earthquake that took place at 14:06 UTC. Second largest earthquake today was a magnitude 4,0 earthquake that took place at 06:54 UTC.
  • The caldera continues to drop. Since this activity has continued to total drop is now 23 meters according to latest measurements (from yesterday). Most drop is taking place in north-east part of the caldera. More information can be found here, text is in Icelandic.
  • Harmonic tremor suggest that the pressure is increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano again. There is also high chance of small eruptions taking place under the glacier.
  • There is no rapid inflation taking place in Grímsfjall volcano. GPS signal got distorted by snow or ice on the GPS antenna.

News bits 12-September-2014

Stærsti gígurinn í Holuhrauni að ná 70 metra hæð og fer stækkandi (Vísir.is, video, Icelandic)

News bits 13-September-2014

“Like breathing from the exhaust pipe” (Rúv.is)
Botn Bárðarbunguöskju seig um 25 sm (Rúv.is, Icelandic)


This is shorter updated today due to there has not been a lot of change since yesterday and it is Friday.

More on comments

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I get few emails about the volcano activity in Bárðarbunga. I can answer some of them, but not all of them. I try to put what I know here, so please read it rather than to send me an email. I answer all emails about comments and this website.

Article updated at 19:35 UTC on 12-September-2014.
Article updated at 22:56 UTC on 12-September-2014.
Article updated at 14:54 UTC on 13-September-2014.
Article updated at 22:33 UTC on 13-September-2014.
Article updated at 02:53 UTC on 14-September-2014.
Article updated at 18:17 UTC on 14-September-2014.
Article updated at 18:28 UTC on 14-September-2014.

Status update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 22:11 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

  • Eruption in Holuhraun continues and there are no signs about it ending any time soon.
  • Lava lake has formed in one of the south crater according to the news today. The crater is not erupting at the moment.
  • Earthquake activity continues along the dyke south of the Holuhraun eruption.
  • Bárðarbunga continues to drop and I am estimating that the drop today is around 1 meter a day. This number has not been confirmed. Last confirmed number on the drop was that the Bárðarbunga volcano was dropping 90cm/day.
  • The area around the eruption site is toxic. Due to ever changing wind in the area the risk of getting SO2, CO, CO2 and other toxic gases over one self is always present.
  • There are warning in place for the SO2 pollution in Iceland at the moment. The warnings are issued based on wind direction at any given time.
  • The lava continues to flow into Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. This lava is going to create a dam in next few days. The lava is flowing into the river at such force it doesn’t stop and doesn’t cool down properly to stop the flow of new lava into the glacier river.
  • I have been seeing harmonic tremor spikes all day today. I have traced them to Bárðarbunga volcano. I am not sure on location. It is difficult to know for sure what this means at the moment.

Earthquake activity

Earthquake activity today. Notice how the green stars (earthquake above magnitude 3,0) form a circle around the caldera that is about to collapse into it self. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The earthquake trace of the earthquakes today. The larger earthquakes are spaced around 12 hours apart. I don’t know why that is. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Tungnafellsjökull volcano

There has been earthquake activity today in Tungafellsjökull volcano. I don’t know what this means since I don’t have any history about eruptions in that volcano. None have been document in the past 1000 years, and none have shown up in the data for the past 8000 years at least. What I do know is that I suspect the volcano might have started to prepare for an volcano eruption in the future. At least Tungafellsjökull volcano was showing slightly higher activity in past few months than normal, but that earthquake activity did stop and everything did go back to normal until now. This might be as simple as just stress adjustment in the crust in the area. At current time I don’t think an eruption is imminent in Tungafellsjökull, but with no history to work with this volcano might surprise me and everyone else. For the moment I think it is just earthquake activity until I am disproved by the volcano or this earthquake activity just stops.

The caldera formation in Bárðarbunga volcano

The new caldera that is now forming in Bárðarbunga volcano is a large event, since Bárðarbunga volcano is a large volcano. GPS data (website here) says that here is still inflation ongoing in Bárðarbunga volcano and at the moment mostly in the dyke. What is so dangerous with this are many factors. Here is the top list of them.

  • The drop in certain parts of Bárðarbunga volcano down its slopes is up to 1800 meters.
  • The glacier over parts of Bárðarbunga volcano are up to 850 meters thick in the caldera. Outside the caldera the glacier is up to 600 meters thick.
  • There are hydro-power dams south-west of the Bárðarbunga volcano. Glacier flood might go that way. There are also some populated areas that might be at risk depending what way the glacier flood would go.
  • Populations at north of Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river (downstream) are at risk from large glacier flood. So are two bridges, the third one that is up on the high lands is not going to be saved.
  • There is going to be a huge ash cloud once Bárðarbunga volcano collapses into a new caldera. What damage that ash cloud is going to do depends on wind direction. If we have really bad luck we might be looking at air space closure for week or two in Europe depending on wind and weather systems.
  • There are other risks that I don’t about yet.

Bárðarbunga volcano caldera (the current one) is around 70 square km in size, around 10 km wide. With the depth of 850 meters and it is full of glacier as I have mentioned many times before. When this is going to hit disaster mode part of that glacier is going to melt and create massive floods. Even if the caldera collapse might happen there is still a high risk of continued eruption activity after that event. Since this might just be a start of long eruption cycle in Bárðarbunga volcano. Since it had been quiet for a long time until 16-August-2014 when this eruption cycle started in Bárðarbunga volcano. What is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano and is creating of a new caldera. The caldera is just now in its early formation stage, when the later stages start to happen I do not know since I don’t have any past data to work with. This does not happen often in Iceland I think and has never happened before since recording of earthquakes started in Iceland.


If anything major happens I am going to post updates here.

News bits

Subsidence by hundred of meters possible (Rúv.is)

The media in Iceland is now less occupied with this eruption than before. So it is harder for me to get information that way at current time.

Status update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 21:21 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

About how I work my data

I do all my data work in my head. Since I don’t have the computer power or the programming skills do so in normal computer. This is generally refereed as “thought experiments” I think. The data set for Bárðarbunga volcano are now huge and it takes me a while to update them and work out what I am seeing.

Caldera collapse is in progress in Bárðarbunga volcano

I know that scientists in Iceland don’t want to mention this in the news and are still hoping for current sequence of events to stop. That is not going to happen, it was already to late when the magma found a way out of the magma chamber on 16-August-2014, all that can be done now is to plan for the eventual collapse of Bárðarbunga volcano into a new caldera. I don’t expect the mountain to make it based on current earthquake activity. Eruptions should also be expected without warning around the circle that the earthquakes have now formed around the magma chamber that is collapsing in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Bárðarbunga volcano is however not going to collapse quickly, while the eruption once it starts in Bárðarbunga volcano is only going to last 1 week at the longest. This type of events takes several weeks to months from start to end. When Askja volcano collapsed in 1875 it started sometimes in the year 1874 and did not end until October 1875 (Global Volcanism Program says 1. Jan, 1875 to 1875, 17 Oct.). So this might take more than six months from start to end and might not end until sometimes next year (2015). There is also a chance this collapse is going to take just several weeks. There is no way to know for sure how long this is going to take, since it depends on many unknown factors. There is also a factor that no caldera collapse has taken place in Iceland since modern recording and monitoring of volcanoes started in Iceland (around 1970).

Current status of the Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Eruption continues in Holuhraun lava field. Most of the craters have now stopped erupting and one is now just emitting gas according to latest reports today.
  • Power of the eruption in Holuhraun is about the same since it started, even if there are fewer vents erupting lava at the moment.
  • Visibility has been limited today due to bad weather in the highland of Iceland.
  • SO2 levels in populated areas in east Iceland did go up to 2550µg/m³ around 15:00 UTC in Reyðjarfjöður village. Health warning was issued for the area during the peak of the SO2 pollution.
  • Largest earthquakes today had the magnitude of 5,5 at 05:25 UTC, second largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 4,8 at 15:51 UTC. Other earthquakes have been smaller. There is now less earthquake activity taking place since magma is not breaking as much crust as before.
  • The caldera has now dropped some 20 meters according to last measurements taken when there was a flight over Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • There continues to be earthquake in the dyke, most of it is in area that is covered with glacier.
  • Eruption in Hamarinn (Loki-Fögrufjöll) volcano is now a possibility. It might start without warning and without any earthquake activity, or just little earthquake activity.
  • Dyke activity might start to go south of Bárðarbunga volcano. It has not happened yet, but there is a high risk of it in my personal view.
  • This is creating stress changes around Bárðarbunga volcano. There is a minimal risk of that starting an eruption in other volcano systems that are nearby. It is not likely to happen, but the possibility is there. The reason is that Bárðarbunga volcano is a large volcano, the second biggest in Iceland in my view. With Hofsjökull volcano being the largest in Iceland in my view.
  • The lava field continues to block the glacier river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. As this progresses there is going to be a natural dam in this area after few days.
  • Seven minor eruptions have been confirmed according to the news today (on Rúv). This is besides the eruptions that where in the glacier free area (and are still ongoing). None of those eruptions seems to have lasted for long.
  • Based on harmonic tremor I think pressure is again increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano magma chamber system. This does not appear to be resulting in more powerful eruption in Holuhraun. That is why I think there is increased risk of new dyke to start forming.
  • Gas output from the eruption in Holuhraun remains high and it is extremely dangerous to go there. The lava field is also creating a lot of local weather in good weather. That also makes this dangerous. This eruption is no place for tourist.


Updates go here when they happen.

News bits

I am going to add news here in case anything happens.

References list

Caldera (Wikipedia)
Modelling Caldera Collapse (OSU)
Caldera (Science Daily)

Update on Bárðarbunga eruption at 17:32 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

A short notice: While I know a lot about volcanoes, earthquakes and such things. I do not know everything. I have read many science papers on the subject. But I have not read them all and I never will. What is also important is that nobody knows for sure what is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is the first eruption in the volcano since recording of earthquakes started in Iceland and it appears that this eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano might be a big one (even if it not at that stage yet).

Update on the activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano. The largest earthquake since midnight had the magnitude of 5,2 according to Icelandic Met Office.
  • Earthquake activity continues in the dyke  south of the eruption area. This suggest that the dyke is still expanding in the crust.
  • Minor eruptions have taken place south of the main eruption in Holuhraun. Most of this are like the minor eruption that started south of the main eruption, but in glacier free area. Other minor eruptions that have taken place are under the glacier. They have formed small cauldron in the process without making a glacier flood.
  • Cauldron in the glacier have been spotted at 2 km inside the glacier (I think this distance is correct. If it is not. I will correct it), 6 km from the edge of the glacier and 10 km from the edge of the glacier. This cauldron are directly above the dyke and as mentioned above are the results of minor eruption taking place under the glacier. One of this cauldron was discovered on Friday. I don’t remember if it was included in the news that day.
  • There are no signs of the eruption in Holuhraun is about to end. The lava field is now creating a dam as it goes over the Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river path. This has created minor explosions in the past few hours and in process throwing up minor volcano ash at the same time.
  • There is still a lot of gas in the lava coming from the eruption. Making it extremely dangerous to go close to eruption and the lava field. This gas is in so high consternation that geologist working in the field are often at great risk.
  • Smell of sulphur (SO2) has now been found in parts of Norway according to the news (in Icelandic, Norwegian, map in the news from Norway). It is far from being on dangerous levels in Norway due to distance travelled.
  • The lava field continues to create its own local weather. Small tornadoes can be spotted on the Míla web-camera.  There is also a lot of local cloud formations taking place. Sometimes limiting the view to the erupting area.
  • There is high risk of new eruption fissures opening up without warning.
  • Eruption activity in the main crater now happens in pulses according to latest news. It drops for a while and then goes high up. I think there is a reason for this behaviour.
  • It appears that the erupting crater are being closed slowly by there own erupting material. That might explain the pulsing behaviour that is now being observed from it. This also means there is enough pressure in the dyke to continue the eruption for a good while longer (in my view).
  • Inflow of magma and outflow of magma appears to be in balance for the time being. That balance might change without warning if something changes in Bárðarbunga volcano.

No confirmation on the eruption last night

So far there has not been any confirmation on the possible eruption that I did write about last night. This might not have been an eruption or there might not be any evidence of it on the surface of Vatnajökull glacier.

News update on 10-September-2014

“Gravely concerned” about Bardarbunga (Rúv.is)

More notes on comments

Please do not post all your text in caps lock. It is rude to everyone else reading the comments on this website. I also want to point out that not everything is known as I noted above. Some questions do not have any answers yet when it comes to volcanoes or earthquakes, but there are no stupid questions far as I am concerned. I offer no guarantee on the answers however.

I also ask people just to be nice to each other here. I also have to ask you to provide links when text is posted here, it is both good for everyone who want to read more from that website in question. There also a requirement on doing so from Icelandic Met Office and University of Iceland in the disclaimers they have.

Article updated at 10-September-2014 at 22:31 UTC.

Possible eruption under the glacier might have started in Bárðarbunga volcano [Unconfirmed!]

This is a short notice. I think that eruption has started under the glacier in Bárðarbunga or maybe in the dyke area. I base this on the change in harmonic tremor that is now taking place. Please note that this has not yet been confirmed by Icelandic Met Office or by Rúv in Iceland at the moment. So this is unconfirmed reports from me at current time (01:13 UTC on 9-September-2014).

I am waiting more details on what is going on with the harmonic tremor.

Update: If this is an eruption then it is not a large one. The confirmation on if I am correct or not is going to take several hours. Unless a glacier flood starts soon. It is difficult to know at this time. The hard problem with volcanoes under the glacier is that nobody is sure what is going on under the glacier.

Update 2: The harmonic tremor is now dropping, or at least was doing so for a short period. Nothing has been confirmed so far if there was an eruption or not. I have seen the harmonic tremor on the following SIL stations starting 8/9.

Vonaskarð SIL station.
Grímsfjall SIL station.

If there was an eruption taking place. It was small one and its unlikely that it would have broken the glacier or started a major glacier flood.

Article updated at 02:14 UTC at 9-September-2014.
Article updated at 02:18 UTC at 9-September-2014.
Article updated at 11:15 UTC at 9-September-2014.

Update for Bárðarbunga volcano eruption at 17:59 UTC

This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status on Báðarbunga volcano eruption

  • Eruption continues in Holuhraun. Most of the craters have stopped erupting for now. The main craters continue to erupt.
  • It is my view that eruption under the glacier is imminent. That eruption would take place close to the location of today magnitude 4,5 and 3,0 took place today. When it might start is impossible to know.
  • Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano.  With largest earthquakes today having magnitude 5,0.  Most of the earthquake take place on the caldera rim, since the caldera is sinking into the crust. More on this below [1].
  • The lava field is now going into Jökulsá á Fjöllum. It is currently crossing the glacier river and creating a dam in the process. Only steam has been seen in this process.
  • Risk of eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano slopes is extremely high. There has not been any eruption in Báðarbunga volcano slopes since 23-August-2014.
  • GPS instruments have now be installed on top of Bárðarbunga volcano today. This is to measure exactly what is going on inside the volcano.
  • There is less blue haze today. There is concern that it is going to have effect on people, animals and plants if the blue haze stays for long time in any given area. Acid rain is a big concern at the moment. The SO2 levels in eastern Iceland have been the highest since measurements started in Iceland back in 1970.
  • There is high concentration of gas in the lava around the eruption site. It is in fact so high that it has put the geologist that are working there at great risk. Due the local weather the lava field is creating [2].

The caldera issue in Bárðarbunga volcano [1]

The caldera in Bárðarbunga volcano is dropping and it is dropping fast. According to latest news from Rúv (see link below) the caldera is dropping up to 90 cm/day. That is a huge drop for a mountain. There is also clue that central part of the caldera floor is now so soft that it no longer breaks and creates earthquakes, it is just buckling under the strain. This increases the risk of eruption in the central caldera up to almost certainty levels (for me that is 96+% chance of happening). The latest news from Rúv tell that the thickness of the glacier in the central part of the glacier is up to 850 meters thick. Since last Saturday the caldera has dropped 2 – 3 meters, meaning that current drop is now around 18,5 meters.

There is also high risk of eruptions in the slopes of Bárðarbunga volcano. None have taken place since 23-August-2014. It is not clear why that is. Some ideas say that it might be due to pressure release of the dyke eruption that is now taking place. I am now not personally convinced that is the case. The reason for lack of eruption must be some other. I don’t know what that reason is yet and I don’t think anyone knows at current time.

Local weather around the lava field [2]

The lava field has been creating a lot of it’s own weather. So much that is creating hazardous working environment for the geologist working close the lava field and the eruption site.

The local weather has also created small localized tornadoes. I spotted this one earlier today.

It is difficult to see the tornado on this picture. But it is the white line across the image. Image taken at 15:27 UTC on 8-September-2014. Screen-shot of Míla web-camera.

This local weather is not going anywhere while the heat is at the levels as it is now. It might even last for months after this eruption finishes.

News bits in Icelandic and English

Continuing subsidence in Bardarbunga (Rúv.is)
Askjan í Bárðarbungu sigið um 2,5 til 3 m (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Eitt stærsta hraungosið frá því á 19. öld (Rúv.is, Icelandic)

Updates 08-September-2014

  • According to latests news on Rúv this is now the largest lava eruption since 19th century in Iceland. The eruption in Holuhraun is now many times larger than largest eruption in Krafla volcano during its 10 year eruption period.

Note on comments

In order to keep things running smooth on this website. Please just post links to images. Along with some text about what they are. That also prevents the ant-spam system false flag it and me from regarding links as spam. I also have to ask people how copy data from Icelandic Met Office and University of Iceland to provide a link to the source. This is disclaimer that they added in recent weeks. I want to be on the right side of this government organizations. I also want to prevent that I have to remove comments due there demands.

Article updated on 08-September-2014 at 18:50 UTC.