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.

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.

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)


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. 🙂


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 20-January-2015

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.

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

Bárðarbunga volcano update for 14-January-2015

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.

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)

Bárðarbunga volcano update 19-December-2014

Bárðarbunga volcano earthquake activity continues as before. No earthquake has reached the magnitude of 5,0 or greater since Monday 15-December-2014. Earthquake activity in the range of magnitude 3,0 and above remains high at the moment. There has been drop in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past few weeks, this has been followed by slower rate of subsidence according to latest measurements.

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

The lava field in Holuhraun continues to getting larger, it is now at the edge of being 80 km² in size. I don’t know the volume at the moment, since weather has prevented observation of it for the past few weeks and the lava field has considerable thickness in it (of few dozen meters at the most). The eruption continues at the same rate as before, there has been some reduction according to latest information, I don’t know how much reduction there has been at the moment. Lava is now flowing in lava tubes trough the lava field and breaking out at the edges and sometimes the surface.

Other things – pictures

If people remember this image that Icelandic Met Office posted few days ago.

I was there, I also got a bite of the cakes (they where good). I had made a surprise visit to the Icelandic Met Office that day. Since I just had the time to go there.

This was my angle. This image is released under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC licence for more details.

I do have many more pictures, but the internet is slow and it takes a while for them to upload them and I am just not going do that while the internet connection is this bad.

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Bárðarbunga volcano update 1-December-2014

This is going to be a short update on activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.

Observation of the eruption in Holuhraun has been difficult to impossible in the past days due to bad weather in Iceland. The lava field is now larger than 75 km². I don’t know the volume at the moment. The amount of SO2 is I think about the same as before, as for cycles of pulses I don’t know if that is currently ongoing or has stopped. The output of lava is around the same, around 50 – 130 m³/sec far as I know.

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

Largest earthquake today (01-December-2014) had the magnitude of 5,2 according to Icelandic Met Office. Fewer earthquakes where detected on Sunday due to the bad weather in Iceland. It looks like there has not been any change in earthquake activity for the past 48 hours, it just looks like it on the Icelandic Met Office maps due to the bad weather.

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Comments: Please remember that everyone has a right there own view. I however ask people with some of there less proven ideas to keep them out of this website. If you see flaming or bad behaviour in the comments. Please let me know with a email and I will deal with it. I also remind people to be nice to each other here.

Moving to Iceland: Tomorrow I am going to turn off my earthquake computer and other computers that I now have running. This means that I’m going to switch the backup settings. The geophone computers are going to upload the images to the internet while my main earthquake computer is off-line. I don’t know for how long that is going to be, at least until August when I plan on start back in school. Since I am going to be moving there won’t be any update on Wednesday 3-December-2014 or on 5-December-2014. I am going to try and post short update on 6-December or 7-December-2014 (using the laptop that is falling apart). I will try to approve any comment soon as possible if your comment ends up in the comment moderation for some reason.

Bárðarbunga volcano update Wednesday 26-November-2014

This is going to be a short update on the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano and the Holuhraun fissure.

The eruption in Holuhraun continues with no end in sight. There have been a change taking place in the eruption, this has been noted both in the comments on this website and by scientists in the field. There flow of magma now comes in pulses and those pulses happens in cycles, some only last for few seconds, but some pulses have known to last up to 6 – 10 hours (raw estimate of time) [details here]. I don’t know what this means at the moment and it is unclear at the moment why this is happening, so far this has not ended the eruption. Gas output has not changed far as I know, strong winds have carried the gas faster out to sea so it has not been a big problem in Iceland because of it for the past few days. At least that is what I so far know. I might be wrong on that detail.

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

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues around the same rate as before. After the magnitude 5,4 earthquake on Monday, earthquake activity dropped. This is normal and earthquake activity continues as before. There are now fewer magnitude 3,0+ earthquakes due the magnitude 5,4 earthquake. Number of magnitude 3,0+ is increasing again and that is to be expected, since this has been the pattern for the past three months now. View on the eruption in Holuhraun has been good during the last few days since weather has been good. Other than this I don’t think anything other to report at the moment.

Bárðarbunga volcano update Monday 24-November-2014

This is going to be short update on Bárðarbunga volcano activity.

Activity in Holuhraun continued as before during the weekend. Currently it seems that activity is increasing in Holuhraun eruption, I don’t have it confirmed at the moment. What has been detected is a fluctuation lasting from few seconds and up to several hours in output of lava in Holhraun eruption, this possibly that the eruption is about to end. Since the feeding of the eruption becomes unstable and is unable to feed the eruption in the same stable manner as before. There have also been detected changes in gas output (mostly SO2).
This however does not mean that the dyke is closing up, but the erupting vent in Holuhraun might be doing just that. This means there is a high risk of new vents opening up along the dyke if magma is flowing into the dyke with same force as before. There is also chance that the whole dyke is sealing up and the magma is going to find new paths up the surface once that happens. There might still be months until the eruption in Holuhraun ends, even if the changes have started to take place now. The amount of SO2 suggest that the magma is coming from a deep source of more than 9 km.

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

Strongest earthquakes during the weekend and today had the magnitudes of 5,1 and 5,4. Earthquake activity drops after large earthquakes and then slowly builds up in matter of hours to days until a new large earthquake takes place. I don’t know why this happens, it just does. New study into Bárðarbunga suggests that magma system of the volcano is far more complex than believed earlier. This study also suggests that the caldera floor is thinner than originally believed. I don’t know what the implication of that are going to be. There is no major change in GPS data around Bárðarbunga volcano. Other than this there is nothing more to report at the moment far as I know.

New video of the Holuhraun eruption

Nýtt myndskeið af umbrotunum í Holuhrauni (Icelandic, Rúv.is, video)

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Bárðarbunga volcano update Wednesday 19-November-2014

This is going to be a short update.

There have not been any major changes reported in the eruption in Holuhraun. It has however been reported that amount of SO2 appears to be increasing in the eruption. This might mean that the magma is getting even more primitive than before and contains more gas in it then before. I have not heard any new numbers regarding the size of the lava field, it is however now larger then 72 – 74 square kilometres. I am not sure what number is correct at currently. New image of the crater show no change in outflow of lava in it.

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

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues as it has been doing for the past three months. No earthquake with magnitude above 5,0 has happened since Sunday, that might change at any time without warning since such earthquakes happens at regular intervals. The rate of earthquakes with magnitude above 5,0 has dropped for the moment, I am not sure if it is going to increase again. That might happen and it might not happen again.

Other things

Minor stop in updates of Bárðarbunga volcano activity is going to happen between 2-December until 15-December (best estimate). The reason for this is that during this time I am going to be moving back to Iceland and I can’t work in that period while I am moving. I am going to clear comments that get stuck in moderation soon as possible in that time.

The dates of no updates are as follows.

3-December. Update might happen this date, but I am not sure yet if I have time to write it.
5-December. No update.
8-December. No update.
10-December. No update.
12-December. No update expected.
15-December. No update expected.
17-December. If I have my computer by this date I will post update.
19-December. ???

I am going to post update schedule for Christmas at later time.

Next week I am going to update my bank information for those who donate directly to me for my work here. The banking information can be found here. I am going to post information about changes to Paypal in late December-2014 or early January-2015.


As many have noted I have removed capchata word test. The reason for that was the plug-in in question did not work any more after a update. This also means spam bots have easier access to the comment section if this website. Please send me an email if you see any spam. I will try to keep an eye out for such commend and remove them soon as possible as they appear.

Bárðarbunga volcano update Monday 17-November-2014

There has not been any major change in the eruption in Holuhraun. Latest reports are that the lava field is now 74 square kilometres in size. While the eruption is smaller than it was when it started, it is still considered a large eruption based on volume of lava that is now erupting. The crater rim was according to last news around 60 meters high, it might have lowered from last report that I did hear that stated it was around 100 meters high. Since the rim is made out of loose material it is unstable and might suffer from collapses at regular time intervals. SO2 pollution continues to be a big issue in Iceland depending on wind. Once I am back in Iceland I am going to start posting pictures of it for those days it is going to be in the part of Iceland where I am going to be living (north-west Iceland).

The eruption site today (17-November-2014) as it appeared on Míla web camera at 14:32 UTC. Copyright of this image belongs to Míla.

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

Earthquake activity remains the same as before in Bárðarbunga volcano. Largest earthquake on Sunday (16-November-2014) had the magnitude of 5,4. Earthquake activity is heavy at times in Bárðarbunga volcano, after a large earthquake takes place (above magnitude 5,0) earthquake activity drops for few hours in Bárðarbunga volcano, this appears to be normal. The rate of subsidence is about the same, it has slowed down in the centre of the caldera according to the news from today.

Rúv News – New video of the eruption in Holuhraun

Holuhraun eruption – fresh video (Rúv.is, English)

Other: Please note that I have removed mobile device support from this website. The plug-in was old and the newer versions did not work for older mobile devices. Due the old age of this plug-in it was a security risk. So I did remove it for that reason.

Bárðarbunga volcano update Wednesday 12-November-2014

Eruption activity continued in Holuhraun at the same rate as on Monday (10-November-2014) and yesterday (Tuesday 11-November-2014). While bad weather has making observation of the eruption in Holuhraun difficult and close to impossible there are no signs of the eruption ending any time soon. A lava lake has now formed that is around 400 meters long and 100 meters wide. This is the first lava lake in Iceland in a long time. I don’t know when last lava lake existed in Iceland, but that was a while ago.

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

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano continues as it has been doing for the past two and half months. This means that the caldera continues to subside at unchanged rate. I do not know how much the area has grown that is now subsiding, I think there is limited information on that due to limited access to this area in the winter time. At the moment nothing seems to be changing and GPS data is supporting that view of mine. Comments on this blog and blogs posts by people how have gone to the eruption site in recent days say that new fractures are appearing south of current eruption crater. This means that rifting is continuing, this also means that new eruption south of current crater might start at any time without warning. Since magma is at shallow depth at this location, with depth being only 1 – 2 km at most, it is possible that it might even be at shallower depth closest to the eruption crater (but has not erupted yet).

Tungafellsjökull volcano

There has been minor increase in earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano. At the moment this looks just like a tectonic stresses are adjusting to all the changes in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity in Tungafellsjökull volcano might increase in next few days or weeks. I don’t expect any eruption to take place at this point in time.

Bad weather warning

For the next two days there is going to be bad weather in Iceland. This means that detection of earthquakes is going to be limited in Holuhraun and around Bárðarbunga volcano. This means that only largest of earthquakes are going to be properly detected. Visibility to the eruption site on web-cameras is not going to be awful to none due to the snowstorm that I expect might follow this storm in the highland (it might rain, but I am not sure on that detail yet). It is storm season in Iceland so expect a lot of storms all winter.