Deflation has stopped in Bárðarbunga volcano

According to a short news today on Rúv it appears that Bárðarbunga volcano has stopped deflating and activity is slowing down in new hydrothermal vents that opened up during the most active period of Bárðarbunga volcano. The rift activity that has started in this region of Iceland is not over yet, even if there is nothing happening at current time.

It is impossible to know when next period of eruptions starts in this area. Until then it is going to remain mostly quiet.

Icelandic news

Sigið í Bárðarbungu er hætt (Rúv.is)

Bárðarbunga volcano continues to deflate

The eruption in Holuhraun is over and nothing has been happening the crater for the past three weeks. This does not mean the deflation is over in Bárðarbunga volcano. Currently Bárðarbunga volcano continues to deflate at the rate of 2cm/day, total deflation since 31-August-2014 is around 60 meters. All this deflation has started to move the glacier inside the caldera, creating what appears to be inflation, that change in the glacier, that inflation is 1,5cm/day. That inflation should be 3-4cm/day according to Icelandic Met Office, so the difference is the deflation taking place. Currently the GPS sensor inside Bárðarbunga volcano caldera is not working so the only way to monitor this deflation is to continue to fly over the glacier and measure it that way. Next scheduled flight for Bárðarbunga volcano is going to take place after Easter.

News in Icelandic

Bárðarbunga hefur sigið um 60 metra (Rúv.is)

The eruption in Holuhraun has ended

The eruption in Holuhraun ended yesterday (27-Februar-2015) it seems. Current status of Bárðarbunga volcano is now yellow. While the eruption is over the area continues to be closed for public due to danger of new eruptions in the area, both outside the glacier and inside it. It is unclear what is going to happen next in Bárðarbunga volcano. There is also a considerable gas emission from Holuhraun crater at the moment and that gas is toxic.

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

What happens next is not known. There is a high risk of new eruption taking place under the glacier. I don’t know if subsidence of the caldera is going on at the moment or has stopped. It might take days, weeks or months until inflation starts again in Bárðarbunga volcano. This is a rifting event and that means this is far from over. For the moment however it is going to be a little break (at least, it can be hope) in the activity in Holuhraun or Bárðarbunga volcano. The lava and the crater continue to be extremely hot (~800C) and are going to remain hot for many years (5 years?).

Since the eruption in Holuhraun is over I won’t post any update next Wednesday. Next update is going to be when something happens.

Icelandic News

Icelandic Met Office information website
The eruption has come to an end (Icelandic Met Office)

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Article updated at 16:59 UTC.

Bárðarbunga volcano weekly update for 25-February-2015

There hasn’t been a lot of new information about the eruption in Holuhraun this week. Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano as before, but at slower rate and earthquake with magnitude 3,0 and larger have almost stopped at the moment.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours, no earthquake above magnitude 3,0 has been recorded for the past few days. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Earthquake activity continues in Bárðarbunga volcano, but at far lower level than just few weeks ago. Subsidence has slowed down considerably at the moment. It has not stopped. There are earthquakes along the dyke from Bárðarbunga volcano, suggesting that pressure might be increasing in it. That in it self might not lead to a new eruption.

The eruption in Holuhraun continues, but at low level. The only remaining vent that is now open is building a new crater inside the big crater that has now stopped erupting. The eruption might continue at this low level for many more months. Current status of the eruption is not known due to extremely bad weather in Iceland at the moment. The eruption is not over, it is however really small at the moment.

Due to bad weather I am expecting that my geophones might go offline due to loss of power or other connection problems that might happen due to this bad weather. Information about the storm can be found here. This is not a weather to travel outside. If you are in Iceland, stay where you are and don’t travel until the weather has passed over Iceland.

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Article updated at 16:35 UTC.

Bárðarbunga volcano weekly update on 18-February-2015

There has not been major change in Holuhraun eruption since last week. The eruption continues at low phase at the moment far as I know. Bad weather has prevented scientists monitoring the eruption in the past few days. There continues to be considerable activity in Bárðarbunga volcano, the volcano continues to deflate.

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Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours. Green star is a magnitude 4,1 earthquake that took place at 14:18 UTC on 18-February-2015. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

New vents might open up along the dyke once current vent closes up in Holuhraun. There seems to be several weak points forming along the dyke, based on current earthquake activity (cluster of earthquake activity). There is also a risk this might happen before the eruption in Holuhraun ends. If the pressure inside the dyke is enough to start an eruption in new location before that.

The long term view of Bárðarbunga volcano

When the eruption in Holuhraun ends it is not going to mean the end of activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Current activity is just a start of activity that is going to last for several years. According to Ármann Höskuldsson volcanologist in a interview at Rúv News yesterday. While it is not known for how long the rift episode that has now started in Bárðarbunga volcano is going to last. It is clear that this is at minimum of 5 years, common time for rift zone activity is up to ten years. There is a chance it is going to last longer than that. When it comes to Bárðarbunga volcano how long such activity is not known. There are also going to be breaks, with no activity at all between eruptions. Activity in Bárðarbunga volcano won’t be declared over until it is once again stable. Eruption activity in Bárðarbunga volcano might not end until the year 2026 at the longest.

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Bárðarbunga volcano update for 10-February-2015

No mayor changes have been reported since my last update. Bárðarbunga volcano continues to subside at slow rate. The eruption in Holuhraun continues around the same rate as before. Sulfur dioxide pollution continues to be a problem. There are now also worries about the amount of sulfur dioxide that is bound into snow, since once spring arrives in Iceland (April – May) that snow is going to melt and flood the grasslands and rivers with sulfur dioxide pollution, when sulfur dioxide is combined with water it creates acid rain (that has also been a problem in Iceland).

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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 remains high in Bárðarbunga volcano, but there has not been a magnitude 5,0 earthquake since January-8 according to latest reports. Largest earthquake in past 48 hours had the magnitude of 4,7. I did notice today (10-Feburary-2015) several deep earthquake had taken place. This might suggest that magma is coming up from depth into Bárðarbunga volcano. It is difficult to know for sure what this means at the moment.

Correction of misunderstanding regarding Hreppar Microplate

Hreppar microplate has nothing to do with the eruption and rifting episode in Bárðarbunga volcano. Details on Hreppar microplate can be found here (page 18). Few more details can be found here (page 9).

New article schedule for Bárðarbunga volcano updates

With less activity in Bárðarbunga volcano I am lowering the amount of articles I am writing about it. Since it is hard to write about the same thing for five months. There won’t be any article on Friday (13-Feburary). Next update is going to be on Wednesday 18-Feburary. After that I am going to have weekly updates on Bárðarbunga volcano activity.

Donations: The PayPal button is going to return soon. Since I won’t be moving back to Denmark (as I hoped that I would do) I am moving it back to Iceland. It is going to take few days to finish that process. In the meantime it is possible to donate directly with bank transfer, information on how to do so can be found here. Other way to support my work is to shop from Amazon. I get a small percent of the sale price for each item sold.

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 23-January-2015

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.

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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)

Donations

I am currently waiting for PayPal to finish validating my new account in accordance with EU anti-money laundry rules. I don’t know how long this process is going to take. I hope it won’t be long. While that happens, I want to point out that it is possible to support my work by buying from Amazon (select your area before you shop) or by support my work directly by bank transfer. Information on donations with bank transfer can be found on “Donations” site. Thanks for the support. 🙂

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.

Bárðarbunga volcano update for Friday 16-January-2015

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.

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 9-January-2015

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.

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 29-December-2014

I’m sorry for this late update. I went on to do other things, they took longer then I expected.

The eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano continues as before. Due to the holiday season and bad weather it has been difficult to monitor the eruption in exact details. What I do know is that the lava field is now close or larger than 83 km² in size. The earthquake activity remains, there are however fewer earthquakes taking place now than week ago and that is not all down to bad weather or off-line SIL stations. The drop in earthquake activity appears to be real. If it is going to increase again remains to be seen.

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

GPS data suggest that no change has taken place and there is ongoing drift in the crust next to Bárðarbunga volcano. Ice on the GPS antenna has been a big problem in last few days and that might not change while winter lasts in Iceland (depending on weather). The eruption is ongoing, there are however larger fluctuation taking place (that is what appears to be happening), sometimes the eruption appears to drop so much that it is not visible, just before it increases again. This would in line what was reported in November, the question is that change increasing or not. At the moment I am not sure on this detail, but I am waiting reports on this to be published (that might take a while).

I don’t think there are any more news on Bárðarbunga volcano at the moment. Next update is going to be on 2-January-2015.