Friday update for Bárðarbunga volcano on 17-October-2014

Bárðarbunga volcano eruption in Holuhraun did reach one big milestone today (17-October-2014). It is now the largest eruption in Iceland since the eruption in Laki (Skaftáreldar) in 1783 – 1784 eruption. By volume the lava field in Holuhraun is now larger than the 1947 eruption in Hekla volcano that is 0,8 km³ by volume and took 13 months to erupt that amount of lava. Current size of the lava field in Holuhraun is larger then 59 square kilometres (km²) in size, or around 0,83 km³ by volume according to University of Iceland Tweet on this matter. University of Iceland also has new map of the lava field, I just don’t know how to link to that image here.

Earthquake activity today in Bárðarbunga volcano and Tungnafellsjökull volcano to the left. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 4,4. Second largest earthquake today had the magnitude of 4,2. Other earthquakes have been smaller today and there has been less earthquake activity today compared to earlier this week (Week 42). There was not big change in the eruption in Holuhraun today according to the news, the magma that did erupt today was reported to be more gas rich then in past few days or weeks. There is no major change taking place in the dyke area according to GPS measurements from the area around Bárðarbunga volcano. The GPS mesurements can be found here. New images of the eruption in Holuhraun can be found here. So far I have not read or seen anything more taking place in Bárðarbunga volcano. If everything stays quiet (I’m sure it won’t do that), I plan to have next update on Monday 20-October-2014 if no major activity takes place.

I wish everyone a good weekend.

Article updated at 23:46 UTC.

This entry was posted in Bárðarbunga, Caldera, Collapse, Dyke intrusions, Earthquakes, Eruptions, Fissures, GPS data, GPS Monitoring, Harmonic tremors, Inflation, Lava, Magma, Monitoring, Rift Zone, Swarm, Tremor plots, Volcano. Bookmark the permalink.

403 Responses to Friday update for Bárðarbunga volcano on 17-October-2014

  1. CorporalC says:

    Continued great work as always Jon.

    Been great being able to see the cams a bit today, botherwise 1 and 2.

    Been a long time since ATS for me, but Muzzle is one of the most scientific, theory busting, nonsense hater, and sound mind on that site. Pure hard work and study, plus his location, Muzzle and Peterman are to earthquakes what Jon is to volcanos…experts.

    Peace and love

  2. CorporalC says:

    Rrrr…Hate autocorrect. Muzzy and Puterman.

  3. CorporalC says:

    Mila Bardarbunga Cam 2 is beautiful atm. The lava river is very impressive.

  4. Andy says:

    Bb doesnt care who is what. Tiresom egotistical sensationalist unfocussed rubbish belongs to other sites.

  5. SusanonKauai says:

    Date & time: Mon, 20 Oct 05:21:26 UTC
    Magnitude: 4.0
    Depth: 10.0 km
    Epicenter latitude / longitude: 64.68°N / 17.73°W [Map]
    Nearest volcano: Bardarbunga (11 km)
    Primary data source: GFZ

  6. Gilda says:

    Hello its Gilda thought I would just comment while it is quite, I have been here all along since August but do not say much as I do not know much, but I know much more now than I ever did it is very fascinating and I check all day and twice during the night . Anyways keep up the good work Jon hope you have a good return to Iceland and carry on enjoying everyone it is a great blog xx

  7. Jay says:

    What is the warning on the IMO in iceland translated to english.

    WarningLava lava in the hole.

  8. nightfury says:

    Seems to be a lot of earthquakes at bb area this morning at 1.1km depth. Does that mean anything significant?

  9. Mike Ross says:

    Well they’ve finally done their sums:

    20.10.2014 01:00:23 64.612 -17.431 8.3 km 4.8 99.0 5.6 km SE of Bárðarbunga

    That ‘Kistufell’ quake at 01.00 WAS given a spurious initial location.

    • Geyser Soze says:

      These quakes are not of urgent consequence,because they have become part of the volcanoes current behaviour,the key is to watch for an unstable deviance from the pattern,not necessarily what might be expected in a more conventional pre eruptive situation.

      • IngeB says:

        I think this is not a “more conventional pre eruptive situation”. But I think, I get what you mean. Could that perhaps be other sequences of big numbers of small earthquakes, or some even bigger ones (6+) or so? Or tremor going suddenly up again? Earthquake swarms at different locations? Big earthquakes at different locations? Or suddenly rising conductivity in the rivers around Bárdarbunga? Should show up esp. in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and Skjálfandafljót. Or small jökulhlaup in series coming down these rivers? (It is possible to check on the rivers via IMO “Hydrology” (Vatnafar) -> go to a river on the interactive map -> click on the symbol -> allow, and you have the lists on your left.)

        Re. earthquakes and tremor: Will be a bit difficult to see smaller differences today and tomorrow, because of the storm.

      • Geyser Soze says:

        Anything that deviates from the current pattern.Increasing numbers of quakes,tremors,gas output,glacial melt.I said it was not conventional(if there is such a thing as a conventional eruption)It is like getting a new dog,you have found out he barks a lot ,but does that make him aggressive ,no,after a period of observation you look for other aspects of behaviour that are unusual even for the new unfamiliar dog.

      • IngeB says:

        There was btw. a strange tremor spike today.

        There were one magn. 5+ quake and 3 others over magn. 4 today. But geologist Martin Hensch (IMO) said during an interview with RÚV that they would not be clues for more tectonic/volcanic movements. Kristín Jónsdóttir (also IMO) said, that the energy output of the quakes is exceptionnal. The earthquakes would be happening at the same time as the subsidence of the caldera and the most probable reason for that would be magma entering the system and leaving the central volcano in direction of the Holuhraun intrusion.

        The new lava at Holuhraun btw. is now measuring more than 60 km2.

    • Geyser Soze says:

      I guess they have their new “dog” all figured out,so its a waiting game to see if the “dog”does what they think its going to do.That is reassuring.

      • IngeB says:

        I think on the other hand, that they have a handful of possible reactions of the “dog” anticipated.

        They won’t just concentrate on one possibility in this situation, but more have big interactive whiteboards with decision tree models, “if …. then …”. 🙂

        3 possibilites mentioned in the “stone tablets” + “Other scenarios cannot be excluded.” (IMO)

      • Geyser Soze says:

        If the “dog”decides to bite ,it will be fast and possibly at an unpredictable and unexpected time.

  10. irpsit says:

    An Hekla quake just occurred. M1.
    On its own it means nothing. But if a sequence of 4 or 5 quakes starts in the next two hours, then we know we are into something.

    • Brian says:

      The HAU tremor plot jumped yesterday as well.

      • IngeB says:

        We had these “false alarms” not only once re. Hekla. Would just become interesting when all three or more stations in the vicinity would “jump” or produce series of smaller quakes.

  11. BB_Gone says:

    Can anyone tell me which station is the one in pink that is currently quite active – just numbers instead of usual 3 letter code.

    • Kolla says:

      I don´t know which one it is, can you post a link to this site?

    • Jobbi says:

      Seems to be a new instrument for DYN ?
      The former were having dropout problems after larg eq’s.
      The station code is programmed into the instrument and are not really needed.
      This one is probably showing batch No-Ser. No.
      Just my guess.

    • Andrew says:

      One of the instruments that the Cambridge team put in place, perhaps?

      • Jobbi says:

        Sorry, it’s Digitizer #-Sensor#
        The old one was Cambridge/seisUK, I think.
        The new one might be the same, even BGS
        ask,dyn and von were Cambridge instruments and IMO power / communication.

  12. I think it’s a joke
    otherwise he would have immediately given a source

  13. BB_Gone says:

    It is not a joke – from a page of composites on IMO site and I was deliberate in not posting the link.

    • Kolla says:

      you could give a hint how to google the site

    • Andrew says:

      I think BB_Gone is referring to a critically important IMO server that must not be overloaded and to which the general public therefore don’t have access. (By which I do not mean to provide succour to conspiracy theorists.)

  14. whistler says:

    BB looks unhappy today, lots of activity and just now another strong quake…

  15. Two magnitude 4,0+ and several magnitude 3,0 earthquakes just now happened in Bárðarbunga volcano.

  16. Luisport says:

    Huge spikes in tremor plots of dyn and von!

  17. Kolla says:

    I would imagine that after more than 50 very powerful EQs, not to count the smaller ones, BB should be just a pile of rubble and ice by now.

    I guess nobody truly understands the mechanics at work here, at least not yet. Does anybody here know of a similar behavior in any volcano in the past?

  18. Tyler Mannison says:

    Triple whammy.
    20.10.2014 13:31:06 64.659 -17.376 0.2 km 4.7 99.0 7.5 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    20.10.2014 13:30:17 64.666 -17.399 3.2 km 4.1 99.0 6.8 km ENE of Bárðarbunga
    20.10.2014 13:27:57 64.671 -17.450 3.2 km 4.6 99.0 5.0 km NE of Bárðarbunga

  19. nightfury says:

    IMO finally catching up and putting data on their website. Is there any other site I can see eq reports as they actually occur? Prefrrably Without needing to do m y own interpretation. I’m just a very interested layperson I don’t understand the full mechanics of techtonics and eruptions

  20. nightfury says:

    Thanks Kolla….not really sure how to read them properly though. Seems like bb is very busy shaking this afternoon…

    • Kolla says:

      Every line covers 15 minutes, so it´s easy to see accurate time.
      VON and DYN are closest to BB.

  21. Luisport says:

    The tremor in the Grimsfjall plot was the highest since August 16!!

  22. LouiseS says:

    I think Big B is up to something nasty! A few days ago we had the quiet before the storm. (Yes, I know that there is a bad weather related storm going on? Not what I had in mind ,however.) Jon you said that there was magma on the move up from greater depth, and I am thinking that once again your ideas maybe correct. Hope this activity proves to be mild!

    • LouiseS says:

      Not sure how this volcano is hold up under all this shaking!

      • crosspatch says:

        There aren’t too many volcanoes with 800 meters if ice inside the caldera where the water can’t escape when it melts. I still believe we are seeing dome building going on inside the caldera. The water inside that caldera is going to remain pretty close to 0 C as long as there is ice to melt.

      • IngeB says:

        In a volcano which in surplus has gone through such an unprecedented series of heavy earthquakes there are lots of possiblities for water to escape through fissures in the walls and the perhaps the bottom, too.

      • IngeB says:

        “and perhaps in the bottom”

  23. nightfury says:

    Oh I see now :). Thanks for your help kolla.

  24. LouiseS says:

    Just checked web cam #1 and the visibility at the eruption is very poor (snow or fog?).

  25. Andy W says:

    Is there not a storm blowing through Iceland again? i.e Tremor plots are pretty meaningless?

    edit – Jon, please change the captcha back to numbers! These words are hopeless! On my 5th one now and I still don’t know what the words are!!! (9th actually!)

  26. Enno says:

    Grimsfall Webcams stop working with the EQs. Last image from 13:20 (UTC)
    Any information about?

  27. Please note that I am working on setting my FreeBSD server up again. Since that is the only Os that I can properly run my Minecraft server on. That means the update for today is going to be little late, but not too late I hope.

  28. nightfury says:

    Andrew I wasn’t digging at IMO at all, I understand where priorities lie etc. As that was the only site I could view eq. Reports on I was getting frustrated hearing about eq that had occurred and I couldn’t see them statistically.

  29. BB_Gone says:

    Thanks for replies up thread. I stumbled across the page when looking at the data indexes on IMO site. It has a collage of real time data from their screens and I guess it is not appropriate to publish the whole page.

  30. JR says:

    Has anybody an explanation for the big jump on the GPS plot? Same time as the eqs – coincidence?

  31. Tyler Mannison says:

    Could a phreatic explosion have occured this morning in Bardarbunga when that huge spike on the tremor charts took place?

  32. Jonni says:

    I am looking forward to your update tonight, what you make of the latest developments.

  33. Brian D says:

    It was good to get to see eruption last night, and looks like cam 1 might clear up enough to get some view time in tonight. We’ll see I guess. Eruption just continues on like the Energizer bunny. Wonder when Big B is gonna show surface activity? Something going on under the ice. With all those quakes continuing to rattle the caldera, something has to happen soon. Of course, been thinking like that for some time now. Unfortunately, viewing is so sporadic, we really won’t be able to see much when it does. My prayers continue for you Icelanders. With having to deal with the gas emissions, and the continued threat of something major happening in your backyard, that has to be a bit unnerving, especially with winter starting to settle in.

    • IngeB says:

      Map from the Icelandic Almannavarnir website re. possible glacier runs (jökulhlaup) with 25.000 m3/sec. from Dyngjujökull:
      It would take the water 90 min. from the glacier terminus to Vaðalda, 210 til Herðubreið.

      They say also that it is possible to enter the Danger area (Haettusvaeði), but a lot of precautions have to be taken, gas masks, informations gotten before and it still is very dangerous as the name says, because an eruption in the glacier – Dyngjujökull or Bárdarbunga might start without any warning time, it would perhaps not be possible to cross rivers in the area then, there is the possibility to be cut off and lend in more than 5 cm of heavy ash fall which can stop the motors of cars, not to forget the noxious gasses in the area.

      Map by Univ. of Iceland re. possible ash fall in the area during an eruption under the Dyngjujökull glacier:

  34. whistler says:

    BB seems to be getting unhappy again…. increased activity, simmilar to the one earlier today.

  35. Gwen says:

    The spike in the tremor plot is also visible on the gps, but no event on the hus or von drumplut.
    Something happened but I can’t explain it.

  36. Andrew says:

    @IngeB 23.31, 20th Oct

    Sorry, you referred us to a post you made at 23.30 but I couldn’t see it. Are you sure the time was correct? Or perhaps it was yesterday? Thanks.

    • IngeB says:

      Sorry, this was an (rather late) answer to Geyser Soze 19:55.

      I just said that I think IMO have their spread sheets with a lot of different possibilities prepared (decision tree models).

      • Andrew says:

        OK – thanks.

        (PS: for some reason, I’m having to do the Captcha test even though I’m registered, but the random test for this post included the name of a British beer. How random is that!)

      • IngeB says:

        It helps to log in to WordPress. You may find the link below the calender on the upper right-hand side.

      • @Andrew, WordPress logs you out after ~14 days. So that is your problem.

  37. Geyser Soze says:

    Cryptodome of rhyolitic magma under the NE caldera rim,heat and glacial thaw causing the steep rim in that area to become unstable?

    • IngeB says:

      Chaiten has lava domes, these are not cryptodomes on this image.

      As the greek part, “crypto” says, they are hidden within the mountain and initiate the mountain to bulge. The cryptodome at Mt. St Helens from 1980 is the most famous example.

      Whereas lava domes are actually very viscous lava which is extruded rather slowly (mostly anyway) and not very fluid. But it contains often a lot of gases and can be very explosive, esp. lava domes from andesite (see Sinabung in Indonesia at the moment).

      Rhyolitic lava domes are often to be found in Iceland, but they do very seldom explode. See eg. Brennisteinsalda: The last rhyolitic eruptions in Iceland were, as far as I know, from Torfajökull in the Middle Ages.

      • IngeB says:

        But this does not exclude that there could be intrusions of felsic magma within parts of the caldera rim which would provide extra heat and destabilize the rim.

        I could imagine that part of the extra magma streaming up from the mantle (only a small part of that seems to surface at Holuhraun), would enter the magma chamber and reactivate there some pockets of older felsic magma, which would then have the buoyancy to rise up eg. into the caldera rim.

      • Geyser Soze says:

        Yes I know the picture shows domes that have breached the surface,but it is hard to find a photo of a cryptodome.Ok there may not be any dome formation in Bardabunga,but its not impossible.

      • Geyser Soze says:

        The rhyolite would tend to be at the rim,where it would be extruded .

  38. SteveG says:

    Wouldn’t samples collected from Holuhraun tell us something about the uniform or evolving composition of the draining magma chamber under BB? I’ve been assuming that high sulfur content means deeper, mostly alkaline chemistry.

    • Randall says:


      How do we know that Bardarbunga is draining and we’re seeing the upflow at Holuhraun? I asked the question awhile ago, is the magma from the volcano or is it fresh from the mantle from the fissure rift?

      It is tempting to think that Tungafelljokull is also draining a bit too, but I have not yet heard a definitive word on this.


  39. New article is up about Bárðarbunga volcano current status for Monday-20-October-2014.

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