Bárðarbunga volcano update for 23-January-2015

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Current activity in Bárðarbunga volcano remains the same. The eruption in Holuhraun continues, at bit slower rate now than it was some ten days ago according to latest news. This is not surprising, since last eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano that was like this only lasted for around 8 months. That formed the craters named Tröllagígar (more information at the end of this article). Flow of lava out of the crater is now estimated to be around 60m³/sec. It was also noted in the news that cauldrons in the glacier on top of Bárðarbunga volcano have been getting deeper in past few weeks, this means the area and the volcano it self is getting hotter. This means that magma has risen up along the caldera rim and warmed up the crust. This is important since magma cannot warm up the crust like this unless it is shallow, less depth then 2 km and in some areas less then 1 km. One reason why Holuhraun eruption might be coming to a end is that the magma has found a new and easier path up to the surface. The magma appears to be deep sourced and that is a problem, since it is harder to impossible to monitor and speculate on deep magma chamber. Since shallower magma chambers can often be monitored by earthquake activity, there is no such thing for magma chambers on more depth then 20 km in the crust.

dyn.svd.23.01.2015.at.18.43.utc
Harmonic tremor in the past few days from the eruption in Holuhraun. Drops in harmonic tremor are sign of drop in the eruption. The eruption is now fluctuating (in my view) that at times stroke activity (the little that is) is possibly stopping at times. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

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

Earthquake activity remains around the same in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours. There has not been a magnitude 5,0 or larger earthquake in the past 15 days according to latest news. Earthquake activity remains high in Bárðarbunga volcano. This earthquake activity has however been dropping since August-2014 when it was peaking around 12.000 earthquakes a week (around 3000 earthquakes a day).

The rifting event

When the eruption in Holuhraun ends, it is just going to mean that the Holuhraun eruption has ended. The rifting is going to continue for a long time after the eruption has ended. The models that I work with (in my head, I don’t got a supercomputer) suggest that it might migrate south along Bárðarbunga volcano fissure swarm. This is difficult to predict for sure, but there are data (cracks in the ground forming over the past few years) suggesting that a large area is going to rift. This rifting is going to start eruptions, both short and long along this area. Part of this eruption risk area is under thick glacier (Vatnajökull glacier). That is going to start glacier flood that area going to damage everything in there path.

What is also impossible to know for sure is how long this rifting is going to last. Past episodes suggest that active periods like this normally last from 5 – 10 years. Sometimes shorter and sometimes longer, depending on how long it has been since last rifting episode took place. Last rifting episode in this area might been ~100 years ago in part of the system. I don’t know this for sure, but this is what the data suggests.

Tröllagíar crater information

Veiðivötn (need.is)
Vatnajökull national Park (uef.fi, 39 page pdf document)
Old paper and chemical analyse of eruptions in 18th century in Bárðarbunga (or that area). (timarit.is, Icelandic, part in English)
Field trip to Veiðivötn – Heljargjá – Jökulheimar (earth.leeds.ac.uk, pdf file)

Icelandic News

Gosinu í Holuhrauni gæti lokið á næstu vikum (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Dregið hefur úr virkni gossins á yfirborði (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Mik­il virkni enn í Bárðarbungu (mbl.is, Icelandic)

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Comments

Please keep comments on topic (minor off-topic is ok if you get bored, but I recommend youtube or some game if you get bored). Please do not flame. I want to point out that nobody has clear idea what is going in Bárðarbunga volcano. Often nobody knows for sure what is going on in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Article updated at 21:36 UTC.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Deflation, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Holuhraun, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Mountain, SO2, Swarm, Toxic, Volcano | 84 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 20-January-2015

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The eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano (Holuhraun). Not much change has been reported in past few days. Currently the northern side of the eruption crater has not collapsed so far, but based on web cameras it appears that the activity is increasing in the north part of the crater. The lava field is now around 85 km² in size. The amount of SO2 that comes up during the day is around 10.000 – 30.000 tons of it.

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

Earthquake activity has been increasing in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 24 hours. There is now a considerable higher number of earthquakes with magnitude 3,0 and higher taking place. I don’t know why this is happening. Either something is changing in Bárðarbunga volcano or something in the crust is giving away. At the moment it is impossible to know for sure what is going on. It is also impossible to know when that might become clear what is going on.

Other Bárðarbunga volcano related

Landsnet the company that runs the electric grid in Iceland is now moving electric poles in few areas, in order to avoid damage to the electric grid due to a eruption under the glacier in Bárðarbunga volcano and the glacier flood that follows it. They are also performing changes close to dams in the path of possible glacier flood from Vatnajökull glacier. This is done in order to try and protect those structures much as possible from damage if an glacier flood happens.

Scientist working in the close proximity of the eruption in Holuhraun and that have been staying there for a long time have noticed that they suffer from chronic cough. Once they left the eruption area for Christmas break the cough stopped, since at that time they got out of the polluted area.

Icelandic news

Háspennusmastur fært vegna flóðahættu
(Rúv.is, Icelandic, video)
Vísindamenn með krónískan hósta vegna gasmengunar (Vísir.is, Icelandic)

Minor schedule update

I’ve moved the second update during the week to Friday. Since that allow more days to pass during the regular eruption phase in Holuhraun.

Moving PayPal to Denmark (again)

I am going to be moving PayPal to Denmark soon (2 – 4 days). I do this since there are problems with having PayPal in Iceland. Since I am going to be moving back to Denmark in few years anyway (Since I really integrating well into Danish society, even if I was not fully integrated when I moved back to Iceland due to my current money problems).

Article updated at 01:57 UTC on 21-January-2015
Article updated at 13:21 UTC on 21-January-2015

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Caldera, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, Glacier flood, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Holuhraun, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Mountain, SO2, Swarm, Toxic, Volcano | 123 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update for Friday 16-January-2015

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Not much change has been reported in Holuhraun eruption since Wednesday (14-January-2015). The lava field continues to grow and is now ~84 km² in size. SO2 pollution continues to be a problem in Iceland, depending on wind direction. Output of magma currently is 50 – 70m³/sec according to latest measurements.

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

Earthquake activity remains strong in Bárðarbunga volcano, with strongest earthquakes having the magnitude of 4,6. It has been a while since a magnitude 5,0 or stronger earthquake happened. GPS data show continued deflation of Bárðarbunga volcano, it has slowed down since the eruption in started by the end of August, this slowed deflation of Bárðarbunga volcano shows that magma continues to flow out of the magma chambers inside the volcano. Earthquake activity in the dyke continues, all of the earthquakes so far are minor earthquakes, most having magnitude less then 2,5.

Far as I know there is nothing else to report from Bárðarbunga volcano at present time.

Change in update schedule: From next week I am going to change the update schedule for Bárðarbunga volcano. From next week I am just going to update two times a week. The updates are going to be on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The reason for this change is that most of the time now nothing major is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano. If anything major happens I am going to post update soon as I can about what is going on.

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Article updated at 22:18 UTC.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Caldera, Deflation, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Mountain, SO2, Swarm, Volcano | 104 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 14-January-2015

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The eruption in Holuhraun continues at the same phase as it has been doing this week. Far as I know there has not been any reports about changes in the news or in the reports from Icelandic Met Office. SO2 continues to be a problem in Iceland depending on wind direction. Both to people and animals.

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

Strong earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano. Strongest earthquake in the past 48 hours had the magnitude of 4,7. Many smaller earthquakes have been also taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano and there are no signs that earthquake activity is about to end. Even if it has dropped from it’s peak in September to November.

According to Channel 2 (Stöð 2) news, Bárðarbunga volcano has been preparing for an eruption since the year 1974 at least (this might have started years earlier without anyone knowing about it), possibly earlier. This means there is huge amount of magma inside the volcano and possibly in the deep root system (my view) that is ready to erupt. There is also high risk of eruption taking place under the glacier, that risk is going to increase once the eruption in Holuhraun stops. Since it is clear in my view that Holuhraun cannot erupt (at least there is a good chance of it) all the magma that is now in Bárðarbunga volcano. There is always the question if all that magma is going to erupt, the chance of that are good based on current factors. That might change without warning.

Icelandic news

Hætta gæti aukist á öflugu sprengigosi í Bárðarbungu (Vísir.is, Icelandic, images)

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Mountain, SO2, Swarm, Toxic, Volcano | 44 Comments

New earthquake swarm in Tungafellsjökull volcano

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New earthquake swarm started in Tungafellsjökull volcano earlier today (13-January-2015). The earthquakes start at 13 km depth and go up to around 2 km depth far as I can tell.

150113_2025
Earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano for the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am having problems knowing at the moment if this earthquake swarm is growing or slowing down, at the moment however it appears to be steady in number of earthquakes taking place at the moment. Largest earthquake that has taken place in Tungafellsjökull volcano had the magnitude of 3,1. More strong earthquakes are to be expected. Some of this activity can be traced to Bárðarbunga volcano eruption and stress changes it is creating in nearby volcanoes. This is just half the story, since from the year 2013 there have been deep earthquakes (20 – 30 km depth) been taking place in Tungafellsjökull volcano. Suggesting that magma had already at that time started to move into the volcano at depth. It remains unclear if an eruption is going to take place in Tungafellsjökull volcano, it cannot be ruled out at this moment.

Earlier articles

Deep earthquake swarm in Tungafellsjökull volcano (jonfr.com, 2013)

Posted in Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Tungnafellsjökull, Volcano | 7 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 12-January-2015

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The eruption in Holuhraun continues at the same phase as it has been doing last week. Current flow of lava from the crater is around 60 – 80 m³/sec according to the news on Stöð 2 (Channel 2). The lava field is in many areas nothing but a shell, below it is the 1000C hot lava, when the pressure is high enough below this shell it breaks up trough the crust (see video in the news from Stöð 2). The main crater is around 500 meter long and is around 80 meters high, among the largest craters in Iceland at the moment. New pictures suggest that a new crater has opened up at north end of the main crater (I don’t have the location 100% confirmed), latest pictures that I have seen suggest that at the moment no lava flow is coming from it at the moment. That might change without warning. The whole crater is erupting, not just one spot within it. Currently the lava field is around ~84 km² in size. The eruption in Holuhraun has now been going on for 4,5 month.

The lava has now started to flow over 88 year old lava named Þorvaldshraun, that lava erupted from Askja volcano during the years 1926 – 1930 (I don’t have exact eruption period). A new lake is expected to form next to Holuhraun when the flow from nearby glacier rivers increases, since the lava flow has almost blocked the glacier rivers that flow there. Where once was a landscape of sand, now there is fresh landscape of lava, since lava has replaced a sand desert that once existed at this location. There are no signs that this eruption is about to end any time soon.

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

Earthquake activity has been increasing in the past 24 hours. I’m not sure why that is happening, but several magnitude 4,0 and stronger earthquakes have been taking place since midnight. That also seems to be the general earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano at the moment. Earthquake activity along the dyke is also increasing, I am not sure what that means at the moment.

Air quality

SO2 pollution is a big problem in Iceland due to the eruption. Yesterday the SO2 pollution in a valley called Jökuldal, with pollution values going up to 7800 μg/m³. This pollution goes where the wind is blowing at any given time. Still weathers are the worst since that allows for SO2 to build up in the atmosphere and in location that are low in the landscape.

Icelandic News

Einn fegursti gígur Íslands er að myndast í eldgosinu (Vísir.is, Icelandic, video)
Dimmt af mengun á Jökuldal (Rúv.is, Icelandic)

Article updated at 23:08 UTC.
Article updated at 23:42 UTC.
Article updated at 20:16 UTC on 13-January-2015.
Article updated at 20:19 UTC on 13-January-2015.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, SO2, Swarm, Volcano | 36 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 9-January-2015

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This is a short update about the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Not much has changed since the update on Wednesday 7-Januar-2015. If there was an drop in the eruption, it was temporary and the eruption in Holuhraun has not resumed at earlier levels. At least no change has been observed from Míla web cameras today.

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

Largest earthquake in past 24 hours had the magnitude of 5,1. That earthquake took place in North-east part of the caldera in Bárðarbunga volcano. Smaller earthquakes have been taking place in that same area and have been doing so for the past four months. Small swarm of earthquakes have been taking place in the dyke close to the edge of the glacier. I don’t know for sure what that means at the moment, but I do not think it is a good sign. Since there is a high risk of eruption along the dyke, even if there is eruption taking place at just one location at the moment. The dyke is ~46 km long and most of it is under Vatnajökull glacier.

This time of the year glaciers in Iceland area adding weight to them due to snowfall. The chances are this is having effects on Bárðarbunga volcano. Since snowfall on Vatnajökull glacier is around 10 to 20 meters during the winter (this depends on the year). Pressure from the glacier is currently increasing on Bárðarbunga volcano, I don’t know for sure what effects that is having, but it is my best guess that it is slowing down what is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano. Glaciers start to get lighter in June to September each year when the summer melt starts again.

Article updated at 22:25 UTC.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Caldera, Deflation, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Holuhraun, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, SO2, Swarm, Vatnajökull glacier, Volcano | 66 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update 7-January-2015

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This is going to be a short update for Bárðarbunga volcano.

There are changes taking place in harmonic tremor on the SIL stations closest to the eruption in Holuhraun. I don’t know what this means exactly, the best idea at the moment is that the eruption is either ending or getting less in power. It is hard to know for sure at this moment due to the bad weather in Iceland. This might also just be part of normal fluctuation of the eruption.

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Harmonic tremor from the eruption in Holuhraun. Changes can be seen at the end of the trace. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano is the same now as it has been for the past few days.

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

Currently there are only 11 earthquakes larger then magnitude 3,0 in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours. That is among the lowest number of earthquakes since this activity started in August-2014. Total of 117 earthquakes are on this map, that is now considered as “few” earthquakes compared to what was happening from August-2014. Holuhraun lava field is now 1,15 km³ in size, it also covers ~83,11 km². It is about the same size as Þingvallavatn lake. It is only going to take few more days until it is larger then largest lake in Iceland.

Storm warning

Please note that there is going to be bad weather in Iceland until Friday to Sunday. I am not sure when there is going to be break in the bad weather. Observations of what is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano are going to be difficult at best during this stormy days.

Posted in Bárðarbunga, Caldera, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, Gas, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Inflation, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Mountain, SO2, Swarm, Volcano | 72 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update on 5-January-2015

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This is the short update for Bárðarbunga volcano for Monday 5-January-2015.

No major change has been reported in the eruption in Holuhraun during the weekend. The eruption continues mostly in the same phase as before. The lava now mostly flows in lava tubes in the large lava field that has been created in this four month old eruption.

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

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano has dropped for the past few days. It doesn’t seems to be increasing again, that suggest in my view that the magma chamber that was being emptied is now almost or completely empty. If that is the case there is a risk (in my view) that a it might collapse in on it self. That would not be a caldera collapse, rather just collapse of one chamber in a complex volcano. This might not happen, if it does the signs are going to be swarm of large earthquakes taking place during the time this happens. If this does not happen, the crust in Bárðarbunga volcano might stay (even if most or all of the magma is gone) up and not break so easily. It is however a common fact that nature does not like empty spaces where none need to be.

Tungafellsjökull and Hamarinn volcanoes

There is now a concern among that Bárðarbunga volcano is starting instability in Tungafellsjökull volcano and Hamarinn volcano (also known as Loki-Fögrufjöll). The volcanoes Grímsfjall and Kverkfjöll are at risk of increased instability due to Bárðarbunga volcano, at the moment however that does seems to be happening. The story is different with Tungafellsjökull and Hamarinn volcanoes, there is increased activity in those two volcanoes over the past four months.

There is a problem with Hamarinn volcano that it is not earthquake active volcano and it appears to be able to erupt without much warning or any earthquake activity at all (that might change, this is just what past data suggest). Suggesting that magma is already at shallow depth in it and the crust might be so soft that it doesn’t break (this is just my idea of what might be going on, it has not been proven by measurements far as I know). If that is the case, as the data suggest an eruption in Hamarinn volcano might happen without warning and little or no earthquake activity at all. Last eruption in Hamarinn volcano was in July-2011 and I did cover it here and here.

Tungafellsjökull volcano is a different story. There has been some dyke activity been taking place in it since late 2011 or early 2012. Those dykes have created pathways for larger magma intrusion into the crust. Currently that magma is not in high amount to erupt, it also does not have the pressure to erupt far as I can tell from the data (in my view). As this stands now, a considerable more has to happen in Tungafellsjökull volcano before a first ever eruption in historical times (warning! I have known to be wrong about those things).

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Hamarinn, Harmonic tremors, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Tungnafellsjökull, Volcano | 50 Comments

Bárðarbunga volcano update 03-Januar-2015

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This is out of sync update of the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano. This website was dealing with technical problems when it was moved to a new server. I hope that has all been resolved now. This new server should be more responsive than the server I used to host my website on. This was sudden move between servers, but it had to be done since the traffic to this website was overpowering the server I was using and my website had already been suspended once due to this.

Bárðarbunga volcano update

The eruption continues in Holuhraun around the same rate as before. During the Christmas time there has no travels of scientists going to the eruption area. The main lava field is now around 83 km³ in size according to latest reports. This number changes frequently.

150103_2010
Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the last 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to the Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake during the past 24 hours had the magnitude of 4,6. Number of earthquakes in that same time period was 50 according to the news. Pollution from the eruption continues to create problems in Iceland depending on wind direction. Yesterday and last nigh the pollution did go up to 900 μg/m³ in Egilstaðir and up to 2400 μg/m³ in Höfn in Hornafirði. Wind was rather strong during that time (I think) so the pollution did not stop for a long period of time or build up.

Other discoveries

Scientists have discovered that dyke activity in Bárðarbunga volcano appears to be creating new layers of crust at depth. I don’t have the details on this , I did see this in the news few days ago, but I lost the news about what this is exactly about. I hope to get more details later about this.

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Posted in Bárðarbunga, Caldera, Donations, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Holuhraun, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, SO2, Swarm, Volcano | 46 Comments