Eruption update at 21:29 UTC

This information is going to go outdated quickly.

This is the current information about the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Please note: Since I cannot go to the area that is erupting my self (it is closed and I also live in Denmark at the moment). I have to relay on what is being told in the news and released by Icelandic Met Office along with other data. This means that I spend most of the day collecting data and working out what is going on (my view in most cases). This means that in most cases I write post late in the day when daily observation is done.

Current status of the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano

  • New fissure did open around 2 – 3 km south of the eruption fissure that started erupting 31-August-2014.
  • Comments on this website did notice the eruption around 04:00 UTC on 05-September-2014. At the same time there was an minor increase in harmonic tremor on SIL stations close to the eruption.
  • The new eruption fissure is around 1 – 2 km long. It might get longer as time passes.
  • The new eruption was first reported by the press around 06:00 – 08:00 on Rúv.
  • New cauldron has formed some 6 km in Dyngjujökull glacier. The  glacier in the that area is 300 to 350 meters thick. Last report was that this cauldron was getting deeper during the day.
  • Higher conductivity has been reported in Jökulsá á fjöllum glacier river. That is currently continuing on that last check I did on Icelandic Met Office website.
  • Smell of rotten eggs is now coming from Jökulsá á fjöllum. Normally there is no such smell of that glacier river.
  • Inflation in the dyke continues, not on the same speed as before, but it is ongoing.
  • The rift valley appears to continue expand were he is visible.
  • The air around the eruption site is toxic due to release of SO2, CO, CO2, fluorine gases and other dangerous gases.
  • The water vapour cloud goes up to 4,5 km according to latest measurements.
  • The SO2 goes the way of the wind direction at any given time.
  • The lava field has just 1 km to Jökulsá á fjöllum glacier river. Once the lava enters the river it might start to build a dam and the lava is going to explode and steam a lot in the process.
  • Largest earthquake since midnight was magnitude 5,3 that took place at 01:19 UTC. It took place in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera rim. As other large earthquakes since this events started.
  • Largest earthquake in the dyke area took place at 14:31 UTC and had the magnitude of 3,2. It was under the glacier were most earthquake activity is now taking place.
  • Volcano eruption with ash cloud is now expected to take place. When and exactly where it is going to take place is not known at current time. I don’t think it going to have effects on international flight. But the local effects might be big if wind is in the direction of populated areas of Iceland.

GPS inflation

DYNC_3mrap.svd.05.09.2014.at.20.56.utc
GPS measurements of the inflation that is currently taking place in the dyke. More GPS data can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to University of Iceland.

Magma continues to flow into the dyke. It is at slower rates than before, but it still flowing into the dyke at rates that current eruption is not powerful enough to equal or drop the pressure inside the dyke. This is going to result in more eruptions as we have already started to see. When and where they are going to take place is something that is not known.

The eruption area is closed to the public

Due to risk of dangerous gases and flood the eruption area is closed to the public. Anyone that is found within the closed zone is going to get heavy fine. Going to this area is also extremely risky sine the area that is now eruption is extremely unstable with the risk of new eruption opening up without warning in the fault area and even outside it (if there is a weakness in the crust the magma is going to go that way). Police in Iceland have already spotted and fined two cars that were trying to enter the closed off area. This area of Iceland is also out in the middle of nowhere. The town is up to 10 hours away in a car (due to bad roads). Weather is also extremely unpredictable and can change without warning. So if you are thinking about going on car or foot. Don’t go!

The good news is that it is still allowed to fly over the area. So get one of those tours. I don’t know what they cost, but I know they take place if weather allows.

News bits

Arrested near the Holuhraun eruption (Rúv.is)
See the lava creeping forward at Holuhraun (Rúv.is, video)
The powers at play beneath the surface (Rúv.is, video)

More news in English can be found here (Rúv.is).

Updates for 06-September-2014

  • As noted by many here there is now news report on how much Bárðarbunga volcano has lowered since 16-August-2014. Bárðarbunga volcano has lowered some 15 meters according to latest measurements. This does not reduces the risk of eruption in Bárðarbunga caldera, in fact, this might increase it by a large margin. Such large drop in a mountain has not happened in Iceland since Askja 1875 when that volcano dropped some 300 meters in one of the largest eruption in the 19th century. According to the news on Rúv the caldera crust is in fact floating the magma that is keeping it up. Part of that magma is now erupting just north of Dyngjökull glacier.
  • Magnitude 5,0 earthquake took place in Bárðarbunga volcano at 05:40 UTC. It was in the NE Bárðarbunga in the caldera rim.
  • The risk of large eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano has increased due the current activity and drop of the caldera (as explained above). When such eruption would take place is impossible to know at this time.
  • The lava field is now just 900 meters from Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. It is going to get into contact with the main stream sometimes in the next 24 hour period.
  • The activity in the new eruption fissure has decreased a little over the past 24 hours. It is now only erupting in one or two craters at the moment.
  • There is high risk of new fissures opening in the rift valley without warning. Both outside the glacier and below it. If an eruption takes place under the glacier there is going to be sudden glacier flood that is going to hit without warning.
  • Possible minor eruption might have happened under Dyngjökull glacier in last few days. As there have been cauldron formations in it. One of the cauldron is some 6 km from the glacier edge. The deepest cauldron is 35 meter deep according to radar measurements.
  • A new cauldron was also found some 10 km from the edge of Dyngjujökull glacier. This suggest that minor eruption took place there in past few days.
  • Blue mist has been seen today in east Iceland. It is not clear what is happening, but there are clues that this blue mist is connected to the eruption. Sensors to measure this blue mist have been sent to east Iceland. This blue mist can also be seen on satellites that Icelandic Met Office uses for weather measurements.

News bits for 06-September-2014

Rannsaka bláa móðu á Austurlandi (Rúv.is, picture of the blue mist, Icelandic)
Eldstöðvarnar í Holuhrauni – Myndband (Rúv.is, Icelandic, video)

Updates for 07-September-2014

  • Earthquake with the magnitude of 5,4 took place at 07:07 UTC. This earthquake took place in the caldera rim as other earthquakes in Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • The flow of magma is currently 100 to 200 m³ every second.
  • The new fissure has stopped erupting according to latest news.
  • There is a high risk of new fissure opening up in the erupting area without warning.
  • The lava field has reached Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. This is going to increase conductivity in the river as the lava goes more into the glacier river. There is a lot of steam cloud being created following this. It is not clear when the lava field is going to dam the glacier river.
  • There are now only 2 – 3 craters erupting in the main erupting fissure. The power of the eruption remains the same.
  • Earthquake activity continues south of current eruption. Most of the earthquake activity now is taking place in the glacier, where minor eruptions have been taking place in past few days.
  • There is no sign of this activity is about to end.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to sink. There is a lack of earthquakes in the caldera it self. That suggest the heat below the crust is high enough to make the crust soft and that prevents earthquakes from happening. More on this tomorrow (Monday).

News bits on 07-September-2014

100 – 200 rúmmetrar úr jörðu á sekúndu (Rúv.is, video, Icelandic)
Svona hefur Bárðarbunga sigið (Rúv.is, picture of the lowering of Bárðarbunga caldera, Icelandic)

Article updated at 14:04 UTC on 06-September-2014.
Article updated at 14:11 UTC on 06-September-2014.
Article updated at 18:16 UTC on 06-September-2014.
Article updated at 18:18 UTC on 06-September-2014.
Article updated at 18:29 UTC on 06-September-2014.
Article updated at 19:43 UTC on 06-September-2014.
Article updated at 14:52 UTC on 07-September-2014.

480 Replies to “Eruption update at 21:29 UTC”

  1. I’m not sure whether it is low cloud, but something appears to be happening on the far right of the screen on B1 on the glacier to the right of the dark spot.

    I webcaptured a pic at 0721GMT and there was a distinct puff off steam or cloud that promptly disappeared, it has been changing slightly over the past 20 mins.

  2. Just watching the cam and to the right of the doplar is another burst of steam/cloud rising just behind the ride of the valley.

    1. Meant to say ridge of the valley and infact just in front of the doplar is also steam/cloud rising.

      1. Yes, quite a lot of steam popping up this morning. It’s a pity the camera isn’t able to peek over the edge to give us a better view of the interaction between lava and river.

  3. In Mila Bard 2 camera, it seems that dark spot on the flank of the big edifice is steaming a bit.

    Visible confirmation of subglacial eruption, perhaps?

  4. “There is a lack of earthquakes in the caldera it self. That suggest the heat below the crust is high enough to make the crust soft and that prevents earthquakes from happening.”

    That doesn’t sound particularly scientific!

    I would like to read more about this theory.

    1. It doesn’t sound very scientific, but this blog is written in a way that helps the non scientists (like me) understand it.

      It’s difficult to read too much into a short phrase, but if my understanding is correct, then it’s a bit like the way chocolate behaves.

      Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then try and break a bar. You can, but it takes a lot of effort (equivalent to a big earthquake in the Volcano)

      Leave the chocolate out of the freezer till it’s room temperature. It doesn’t take much to break it (equivalent to a little earthquake in the Volcano)

      I think the suggestion here is that the problem happens when the chocolate starts to melt. As then no effort is required to break it, which means that the magma could just burst straight through into the Glacier.

      But again, I am not a scientist, and would also welcome a more rigorous explanation as opposed to my own, home grown, mental guesswork analagy.

    2. Have you ever tried cracking and splitting a liquid. If you pull on a liquid it just moves without need to crack, hence no earthquakes.

    3. The other thing you might not understand is that the rock in the crust is only solid because it is under enormous pressure. If it rises it is no longer under so much pressure and therefore melts (it is very very hot). Anything which reduces to pressure on rock in the earths crust will make it melt. That includes rising up, because the higher it is, the less pressure it is under.

      1. I think you have that the wrong way around. High pressure results in high heat. When the pressure reduces the heat drops and whatever was under pressure solidifies.

    4. While I can’t provide a science paper because I didn’t find any to link to. The basis of this is that the caldera is on top of magma chamber that is now providing the eruption in Holuhraun with fresh magma and allowing that eruption to continue.

      The magma chamber appears to be extremely warm, so warm in fact that it is melting the bottom layer of the crust and softening the upper layers that it cannot melt, this results in crust that doesn’t break and for that reason doesn’t make any earthquakes. This was the explanation in the news few days ago. This is supported by the fact that the caldera is sinking into the magma chamber.

      The reason why we don’t see any hydrothermal activity is down to pressure. Since there is so much pressure from the glacier on top of the caldera is that the boiling point of water is a lot higher than 100C. The glacier in this area is up to 850 meters thick.

  5. I spend most of my time watching cam2 but because of that steam or whatever it is to the right of the doplar, cam1 has my attention today .

  6. The lava is NOT going to explode when it dams the Jokulsa.

    There are NO big steam columns coming from the area where the lavaflow hits the Jokulsa. You would be the first to see big steam there. Only minor steam comes off.

    Earthquakes in the Bradarbunga caldera continue (at a bit lower rate, last night strongest 3.8), reason is in debate. I have learned: Sinking caldera means “preparing for eruption” but still that does not see to happen. But thing might change 😉

    The glacial flood they all are afraid of will ONLY happen if Grimsvotn or any other subglacial lake (Bardarbunga crater?) will suddenly flow over. As long at that does not happen, there can only be a steady rise in water level, no flood-wave.

    What a lovely eruption this is!

      1. I have just given you info proofing they’re wrong. You can see for yourself. Please do. Data don’t lie, people do. There is a lot of nonsense being told the last couple of days. Sadly.

        Another thing is those so-called observed steam columns at Jokulsa. The lavaflow is now halfway the riverbed, so there should be something, right? Show me in this picture where they are and I will ackknowledge my mistake. Only if someone can show me:

        http://icelandreview.com/news/2014/09/07/lava-halfway-across-jokulsa-glacial-river

        People who have seen video’s of lava at Hawaii, flowing into the sea, should have known about this….

      2. There are many small branches of the river in that plain…including the one that is at the bottom of the small mountain/hill where the cameras and the Doppler Radar are positioned. The steam raising just in front of the cameras is from the lava flow entering the river there. If you could peek over the side of mountain in front of the cameras you would be able to see it. Scientific proof? How about the plumes of steam that keep billowing in front of the Doppler?

  7. Looking at the IMO Mýrdalsjökull tab, there appears to have been a flurry of shallow earthquake activity at Katla this morning.

      1. In my opinion the activity is slightly higher than normal activity. There has been 19 earthquakes within 48 hours, but they mostly are very weak, only 1 has been more than magnitude 2. There is some uplift noticeable in ENTA and ENTC. And Katla can erupt without any warning, as the magma chamber is not very deep.

  8. First the lake, therafter the fissure and snow in the background… I think the lake is Askja volcano

  9. Sept 8 Monday just after 6 am eastern USA time

    A sudden earthquake as I watch B2
    Then rocking like a boat on the sea (almost nauseating rock rock rock)
    I had seen a couple jerks on cam prior
    I have NO idea whats happening. I report – you interpret!
    I see white and dark and very dark clouds rising – more rocking – egads

    B1 is not jumping or rocking

    I had exited this blog and planned to research my newsletter for today
    when all that happened. Now its over.

    1. I think it was a camera fault or as stated above, wind blowing the camera back and forth. No EQs on the drumroll anywhere near there. In fact, quake activity is very low this morning (excepting the 2 * 4.somethings that have yet to be added).

    2. They might be there servicing the camera. Yesterday they turned it on Askja for a few moments even.

    3. The B2 camera can be easily shaken by wind. B1 is pretty stationary, but B2 swings like crazy even in slightest wind. You don’t notice earthquakes from those cameras. Even magnitude 5 would be too weak to shake the camera.

  10. Shepherd, that is most likely just because of WIND.

    This area is quite prone to strong winds. Windforce 5 is “no wind”, or “usual bottom level”, wind up to force-8 are so common they do not even bother to mention. Note this is a sandy, dusty area…… The higher hilltops (where this camera stands of course) are even worse when it comes to wind. They are better of when it comes to dust and sand though, since these hills are rocky.

    B2 is a high-zoom one, so all movement is exagerrated enormously on the image it provides. That’s one reason why B1 hardly shows any movement.

  11. I’m very curious as to why this is happening, it seems like this event is unique in many ways. I’ve been concentrating my efforts not so much as to what is happening above the volcano but rather below. Based on what I have read so far I’m starting to lean towards the possibility that a new vent field could be opening up under/near Bardarbunga. Similar to Loki’s Castle/Azores/Caymen. Forgive me if this has already been discussed I may have missed it or it is impossible for this to occur (maybe I’ve been reading too much)

    1. I think i read somewhere and someone can correct me but this would happen if that it would work backwards.

  12. Little confused by that quake around 14:45 not mentioned anywhere but looks larger than this mornings

  13. IMO don’t seem to be verifying all the quakes properly today. There were definitely 2 4.something this morning, but only 1 has been listed. I saw them on the drum plot within an hour or so of each other, which to me seems a significant event.

    There has just been a 5.0 verified from an hour ago, so looks like they’ve missed one of this mornings entirely for some reason.

  14. Hi everyone,

    It would be easier if everybody comments on the new post writed by jon just above 😉

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