Bárðarbunga volcano continues to inflate, gas readings unchanged

According to news report on Vísir.is (Icelandic), it appears that Bárðarbunga volcano is continuing to inflate at the same rate as it has been doing since the eruption ended in Holuhraun in the end of February 2015. Gas measurements from cauldrons that formed on the caldera rim during the eruption in 2014 show that gas output from Bárðarbunga volcano have not dropped during the last year and continue to be high. The glacier drop that formed during the eruption is now almost full of new glacier and snow from last winter. Nothing suggest that water has been collecting at the caldera bottom during the last two years.

The research trip to Bárðarbunga volcano was taken during the days of 3 – 10th of June. A new seismometer was also installed on the caldera rim. I don’t know if it’s a SIL station or not. If it is, it is going to appear soon on Iceland Met Office website.

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)

What is going to happen next in Bárðarbunga volcano

It has been few days since the eruption in Holuhraun has ended and everything is quiet for the moment in Bárðarbunga volcano. What is going to happen next is a big question and nobody has the exact answer. Here are few options.

  • Nothing is going to happen. The rift is going to continue without more eruptions.
  • New magma intrusion is going to start soon in Bárðarbunga volcano. New eruption is going to start days to weeks later.

There is also high risk in my view of eruptions in Hamarinn volcano (also called Loki-Fögrufjöll). That volcano system is inside Bárðarbunga volcano and dyke intrusion from Bárðarbunga to the south might start a volcano eruption in it. I don’t know how big such eruption would be, it is my estimate. Dyke to Torfajökull volcano is unlikely to happen. I however cannot rule it out at this point.

What is going happen in Bárðarbunga volcano depends on many factors and not all of them are known. What is known is that heat has been increasing in shallower parts of the crust and caldera for the past six months and those signs are not good. What is not known is the time in question. Next eruption could happen tomorrow or nothing can happen for years. There is no way to know when next eruption is going to happen.

Currently I am just monitoring Bárðarbunga volcano and waiting to see what happens next. The text above is just speculation, not fact. It is not clear what is going to happen next. The only way to know that for sure is to wait until next eruption starts and that might be a long wait.

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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)

Note on email: If you need to send me email please send them to volcano [at] jonfr.com. I do not answer emails send to blog [at] jonfr.com. Emails that go this address are ignored.

Article updated at 16:59 UTC.

No lava flow visible in Holuhraun main crater

Today (27-February-2015) there was no visible lava flow from the main crater in Holuhraun. The eruption is not officially over, this however seems to be the end of this eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano. It appears that gas emission continue from the crater and Holuhraun at the moment, it can be expected those are going to end in next few weeks to months.

New video of the crater in Holuhraun can be found here.

Ekki glóð í gígnum í Holuhrauni – Myndband (Rúv.is, video)

It is not known what happens next in Bárðarbunga volcano or when it is going to happen. All that can be done is to wait and see.

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.

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Bárðarbunga volcano update for 06-February-2015

This update is going to be slightly shorter than usual because I am sick (I got flu at the moment).

  • Over the past two weeks there has been considerable drop in the lava lake.
  • Lavafall was seen on new images (in the one of the lava rivers) in Holuhraun yesterday (05-February-2015).
  • Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues to drop.  It continues to be classified as considerable.
  • GPS data show that the area around Bárðarbunga volcano continues to subside towards the volcano.
  • The eruption in Holuhraun might end in 5 – 12 months, there is also a chance it might go on for years at low level. There is no way to know for sure.
  • Sulfur dioxide pollution continues to be a problem in Iceland. Depending on wind direction. Current release of Sulfur dioxide from the eruption in Holuhraun is from 30.000 tons/day and up to 80.000 tons/day.

 

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

Largest earthquake in the past 48 hours was a magnitude 4,9 earthquake in north-east Bárðarbunga volcano. It has now been one month since magnitude 5,0 or larger earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano.

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Bárðarbunga volcano update for 3-February-2015

Since last update of activity in Bárðarbunga volcano there have not been major changes in Holuhraun eruption. The lava lake in the crater has lowered by several meters based on pictures from Holuhraun today. Large cliffs have formed where the lava river is, I don’t have exact depth for them, but it is around 30 – 40 meters according to my estimate (it might be wrong).

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

Largest earthquake in the past 48 hours had the magnitude of 4,6. Other earthquake activity is as it has been for the past three to four weeks in terms of earthquake activity. What I have been observing in the past few days are harmonic tremor spikes, the largest one happened on 30-January-2015, after that smaller harmonic tremor spikes have been taking place. It is unclear at the moment why this is happening. This might be due to changes in hydrothermal areas under the glacier or magma is on the move inside the volcano.

Update 1: New webcamera close to the eruption. It can be viewed here.

Donations: I have currently removed the paypal buttons for a short time. The reason is that I have come to the conclusion that I cannot move back to Denmark (even if I want to). The reason is my social welfare that I am on in Iceland and the Icelandic Krona. I don’t trust the exchange rate of the Icelandic krona. The Danish tax is not a issue as such for me, but it does increase the pressure on my finances in general, so with everything adding up. I can’t afford living in Denmark even if I wanted to. I am going to be in north-west Iceland for the next few years, after that I am considering buying a house in north-east Iceland if I can collect at least 30% for the house (rest being a bank loan for the house).

While I am moving my Paypal account back to Iceland. People can donate directly with the bank transfer, information on what to do can be found here. People can also support my work by shopping with Amazon through the banners that I have here. Thanks for the support.

Article updated at 20:30 UTC.
Article updated at 20:36 UTC.
Article updated at 21:14 UTC.