Eruption update for Bárðarbunga volcano at 18:52 UTC

This information is going to get outdated fast.

This is latest information that I got on Bárðarbunga volcano eruption. The status of the eruption and the volcano is always changing so I do not have up to date information on what is going on. The area is also remote and subject to bad weather at times and often for days.

  • There is no change in the eruption it self. There is also no sign that this eruption is about to end. It has now been going on for the past four days.
  • The lava field is just few days away from entering Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. It has already entered smaller streams in the area. When the lava enters the river it is going to create steam explosions and small local ash clouds.
  • More magma is flowing into the dyke at depth than is erupting from it. This means that there is extremely high risk of the magma breaking a new path to the surface south of current eruption. The most likely place for new eruption to start is in the rift valley that has formed.
  • The rift valley that has been created continues to grow. This also shows that magma is just 2 km under the surface at the most. Large parts of this rift valley is under the glacier.
  • Currently there is no explanation on why harmonic tremor increased yesterday (03-September-2014). No eruption under the glacier seems to have taken place. At least no sign of such event has been observed as of yet.
  • People have been trying to enter the area in illegal way. This is extremely dangerous. Since an eruption under the glacier might start without warning, there is also risk of quick sand around this area due to all the changes that are now taking place in the crust at Holuhraun lava field.
  • Bárðarbunga volcano caldera continues to have earthquakes. Largest earthquake since midnight had the magnitude of 4,8 at 03:44 UTC, second largest earthquake had the magnitude of 4,4 at 10:28 UTC. Other earthquakes have been smaller.
  • There has been a slight increase in earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera. Most of this earthquake activity is micro-earthquakes.
  • The glacier inside Bárðarbunga volcano caldera is up to 850 meters thick according to the news report I did hear today.
  • Since the eruption started there has been drop in earthquake activity. Most of the earthquake activity is taking place south of current eruption in an forming rift valley at that same location.
  • Eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera is still a possibility and has not been ruled out. Eruption under the glacier south of current eruption has not been ruled and is expected to take place at some point in the future if the current eruption continues as it has been doing.

News bits in English and Icelandic

“Everything changes when night falls”
(Rú, video)
(Full) frontal breakout of Pāhoehoe lava (Rú, video)
Up to 130 meter high lava fountains (Rú

Hraunið nálg­ast Jök­ulsá (, Icelandic, picture)

Updates 04-September-2014

Evening news on Rúv, 04-September-2013. Has some great video(s) of the eruption. Second news starts at 05:50.

  • Toxic gas has been measured up to 6 km above the eruption craters. Most of the toxic gas that is being released is SO2 (see Wikipedia information here). There is also some CO (Wikipedia information here) along with minor amounts of hydrogen. There is also some water vapour getting released from the lava in this eruption.

Updates 05-September-2014

  • Two new fissures have opened up according to Rúv News. This new fissures are now erupting and are closer to the glacier than the fissure that started erupting almost one week ago.

Article updated at 20:48 UTC on 04-September-2014.
Article updated at 20:50 UTC on 04-September-2014.
Article updated at 21:58 UTC on 04-September-2014.
Article updated at 08:09 UTC on 05-September-2014.

Large cauldron has formed in Dyngjujökull glacier (south of current eruption)

According to latest news a large cauldron has formed in Dyngjujökull glacier. The cauldron is about 1 km wide and it is deep (no mention of how deep it is in the news).

Update 1: No eruption has yet started. It is however now expected to start without warning. The cauldron are forming due an rift valley formation in this area.

I will post more information about is when I have more details.

Article updated at 12:40 UTC.
Article updated at 12:42 UTC.

Update on Bárðarbunga volcano and eruption at 19:23 UTC

This is a short update on current status in Bárðarbunga volcano and the eruption. This information is going to get outdated quickly.

Current status in Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Earthquake activity remains reactively high at the moment. Strongest earthquakes today had the magnitude of 4,9, 5,0 and 5,3. Other earthquakes have been smaller.
  • Dyke activity remains high and eruption remains high. See more details below.
  • Risk of eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano caldera remains high.
  • There is nothing suggesting that current events are about to end.

Current status of the eruption in Holuhrauni lava field

  • Eruption dropped this morning, but after 12:00 UTC it increased again. There does not seem to be any change the dyke that is feeding the eruption.
  • Sulphur (SO2) is being released into the atmosphere, according to measurements that is around 20,000 tonnes/day. Good map can be found here, the news in Icelandic.
  • According to the news, this eruption is about 5 times larger than the eruption in Fimmvörðuhálsi in Eyjafjallajökli. One geologist told in the news that this eruption had erupted everything that Fimmvörðuháls eruption did in it’s time around 12:00 today (If my memory is correct on this).
  • The lava field continues to grow. I am not sure about exact size at the moment.
  • Pressure in the dyke appears to be high. This might result in more fissure eruption and there is a high risk that some of them might open up under the glacier. More is going to be known tomorrow if the dyke pressure is changing.
  • Northern part of the fissure is more active than the south part. Part of the fissure has  closed and is not erupting any more. That might change without warning if the eruption gains more strength.
  • This eruption is might continue to for weeks or even moths.

If there is any sudden change I am going to post information soon as I can.

News bits

Close-up view of fresh Icelandic lava (Rú
Gosið ennþá nokkuð kröftugt – loftmyndir (air video, Rú


New crater opened up suddenly. It is far north on this image (to the right).
The new crater soon after it started erupting. Screen-shot of Míla web camera. Copyright of this image belongs to Míla.

  • The lava field is getting close to Jökulsá á Fjöllum glacier river. Once that happens steam explosions are going to start and local ash clouds are going to be created. They won’t have any effect on anything but the local area. Once the lava field gets into the glacier river it is also going to show higher conductivity on instruments that are monitoring the glacier river downstream. Due the volcanic material getting into the glacier river.
  • There is a risk of fissure opening up under the glacier without warning. Both close and at more distance from current eruption site.

Article updated at 03:39 UTC on 02-September-2014.
Article updated at 22:27 UTC on 02-September-2014.

Eruption update at 15:24 UTC

This is a short update on the eruption north of Vatnajökull glacier. The eruption has its origin in Bárðarbunga volcano. This information is going to get outdated quickly.

  • North end of the eruption fissure is in an area were no eruption has happened before (at least known eruption).
  • The eruption started around 03:00 – 04:45 UTC.
  • The eruption now is about large as largest eruptions in Krafla volcano during its eruption period according to the news.
  • Largest earthquake today was magnitude 5,1 that took place in North-east Bárðarbunga caldera. There is now an high risk of eruption in the Bárðarbungu volcano caldera.
  • There is a crazy storm in the area. Limiting viability at the moment. Wind is goes up to 25 to 30 m/s and wind gusts are even stronger.
  • The eruption fissure is now around 2 km long. It is on the glacier free area. The eruption fissure is the same one that erupted on 29-August-2014.
  • There is a high risk of new fissures opening up without warning in this area and under the glacier.
  • There are currently no signs of the eruption stopping at the moment.
  • The lava is now covering around 3 to 5 square km of area. This is just a desert area and nothing is at risk. It is running over the lava field that was created in the eruption of 1797.
  • There is currently no risk of any volcano ash. Since this is Hawaiian (Wikipedia link) type of eruption that is now taking place.

The eruption can be viewed on Míla web cam here (Bárðarbunga) and here (Bárðarbunga 2). Extremely bad weather is limiting visibility at times down to nothing. Weather is expected to clear up in few hours at the earliest.

Updates (as they come in)

  • There is now more power in the eruption. Reported by Rúv in last few minutes.
  • Lava fountains have been reported to up 70 meters high.
  • There is nothing indicating that the eruption is about to end.
  • North part of the fissure seems to have extended. There also seems to be less activity for the moment on the south end. That might change without warning.

Article updated at 15:25 UTC.
Article updated at 15:33 UTC.
Article updated at 19:41 UTC.
Article updated at 19:43 UTC.

Update on Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes at 22:21 UTC

This is a short update on Askja and Bárðarbunga volcanoes. This information is going to get outdated quickly. I am not going to use pictures from now on (in most cases), since the situation now is complex and is going to go more complex as this goes on.

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Askja volcano

  • The dyke from Bárðarbunga volcano continues its journey into Askja. It has not yet reached Askja magma chamber. When that is going to happen is unclear at the moment.
  • Activity has been picking up in Askja due to stress changed from the dyke.

 Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Dyke activity continues at similar rate as before. It is now moving about 1 – 2 km a day according to latest news. The dyke has reached Askja volcano main system, it has not reached Askja main magma chamber. Once that is breached earthquake activity along with harmonic tremor in Askja is going to trough the roof.
  • Eruption on 23-August-2014 has been confirmed. It only lasted for 1 – 2 hours before it died down. I think current ideas why it happened are wrong. From my perspective it happened due to magma pressure inside Bárðarbunga magma chamber reaching a high point (highest so far). This did mean that the dyke was not able to tap off the magma chamber at fast enough rate for a short while. Allowing magma to breach the crust at other locations. While this was a short event, this suggests that magma is coming into Bárðarbunga magma chamber at depth. So far the volume that is flowing in is low for the moment. I suspect that might change at any time and without any warning.
  • The reason why the ice cauldron did not appear sooner is that it took the water some time to dig its own path trough the glacier. Why it did go to Grímsvötn lake (Grímsfjall volcano) I do not knwo.
  • Earthquake activity remains high in the north end of the dyke. Earthquake activity is present in Bárðarbunga volcano (main volcano), but it is not constant at the moment. That might change without warning.
  • No dyke activity so far going south of Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • Cracks appearing in the crust suggest that the dyke depth is only about 2 km at most. This has also allowed for groundwater warning up in areas. This has been seen under areas were the glacier is thin. This is creating hot springs and hydrothermal areas along the dyke path.
  • Inflation so far is around 40 cm to the east and west. There is nothing to suggest it is going to slow down at the moment.
  • This might be a long eruption once it starts. How long I do not know. At most some years, as has happened in Bárðarbunga volcano in the past.
  • Today there has been minor “quiet” time in Bárðrabunga. Harmonic tremor has been stable and no cycle of up and down has taken place. In my view that might change in next hours. I am already seeing changes in the tremor plot that suggest this.

The situation is highly dynamic and is going to change rapidly at times. So this information is going to get outdated quickly for that reason. For wind, weather and earthquake information in Iceland please check Iceland Met Office website. My geophone website can be viewed here.

Article updated at 23:33 UTC.

Unclear what is happening in Bárðarbunga volcano

This information is going to get outdated extremely fast.

  • Earthquake activity remains high.
  • Cauldron have formed in Vatnajökull glacier just SE and SSE of Bárðarbunga volcano.
  • The cauldrons are 4 to 6 km long and about 1 km wide.
  • No harmonic tremor have been seen, but that might have its own reasons.


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

Earthquake activity remains dense in Bárðarbunga volcano for the past 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Harmonic tremor remains high on Dyngjuháls SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.
Harmonic tremor is also high on Kreppuhraun SIL station. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The cauldrons that have been spotted today in Vatnajökull just SE and SSE of Bárðarbunga volcano are in the south end are of the current dyke. What is also important, they are also in an area were magnitude 5,0 earthquake did happen few days ago, in a area that has not had any dyke activity since 16-August-2014 when this all started. It is still unclear what happened to all the water in this melt, the glacier in this area is 400 to 600 meters thick and this is not a little melt that has taken place in the glacier. There is a chance the water did go to Grímsvötns lake (caldera like in Grímsfjall volcano), but that remains unclear at the moment.

I am going to post more information about this once I have them.

Updated at 00:14 UTC on 28-August-2014.

Short update Bárðarbunga volcano at 17:52 UTC

This is a short update on current status on Bárðarbunga volcano.

Uncertainty level has been declared on Bárðarbunga volcano and it status has been raised to yellow. There are fluxuation in earthquake activity, this is normal since earthquake activity in volcanoes is never close to constant in this type of situations. There is also a storm taking place in the area at the moment, that is lowering what is detected by the SIL stations that are close to Bárðarbunga volcano.

The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga volcano. Green stars show earthquake larger than magnitude 3,0. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Largest earthquakes recorded so far have the magnitude of 3,1 and 3,5. There is a chance that more magnitude 3,0 have taken place but have not been reviewed yet by geologist at Icelandic Meteorological Office due the amount of earthquakes taking place at the moment.

As can be seen here the earthquake swarm is dense. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Harmonic tremor in Dyngjuháls SIL station. It has been dropping in the past few hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Harmonic tremor in Vonarskarð SIL station. The drop in harmonic tremor also appears clearly here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Harmonic tremor in Húsbóndi SIL station. The drop in harmonic tremor also appears here clearly. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

In the past few hours the harmonic tremors around Bárðarbunga volcano have been dropping slowly. The drop in harmonic tremor has not been followed by drop in earthquake activity. At least that is not the case when this is written. This means that the magma that is on the move there still has not yet found a pathway to the surface, even if some small part of it has done so in possibly in one or two eruptions vents under the thick glacier. If the harmonic tremor stops completely without the earthquake activity stopping it means that magma is still on the move there and it might look for a new pathway to the surface. When and where that might happen is impossible to know at current time, but once the magma has clear path to the surface, even if it is under a glacier all earthquake activity is going to stop (for most part).

I am going to post more information when more details are available.

Deep earthquake in Hamarinn volcano

Yesterday (21-March-2014) an extremly deep earthquake took place in Hamarinn volcano (part of Bárðarbunga volcano often called Loki-Fögrufjöll). The magnitude of this earthquake was just 1,4 but its depth was around 29,7 km. The location of this earthquake was just 10,4 km North-East of Hamarinn volcano (main). So it possibly was inside Hamarinn main volcano system, but I am not sure on that detail.

The earthquake activity in Hamarinn volcano and Öræfajökull volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Earthquakes that take place this depth happen due to magma movement or small dike intrusion at depth. I don’t know what is the actual case here, this might just be an earthquake at depth. The crust has the depth of 40 km at this location (study on this can be found here) due to hotspot [second link here] activity that has increased the thickness of the crust. Last eruption in Hamarinn volcano was in July 2011, it was an minor eruption that took place and lasted just for few hours and did not breach the glacier.

Post updated at 21:02 UTC.

Increasing conductivity in Skeiðará glacier river (Grímsfjall volcano)

Since 20-January-2014 there has been increase in conductivity in Skeiðará glacier river that comes from Vatnajökull glacier. The reason for this change is that water is leaking from Grímsfjall volcano. Water levels have also been increasing and dropping during this time since this started.
The conductivity in Skeiðará glacier river from 20-January-2014. Picture from Icelandic Meteorological Office Facebook page. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Conductivity is now measured at 416 µS/cm and according to Icelandic Meteorological Office that is an high value coming from Grímsfjall volcano. This water also goes trough several lakes and before it reaches the sensor at Gígjukvísl bride. So at the source of Skeiðará glacier river this value is probably even higher. No major earthquake activity and no harmonic tremor activity has taken place following this water leak from Grímsvötnum glacier lakes. But it appears that some glacier quakes might be taking place at the moment. Such activity can be seen here on IMO website. Currently the volume of water in Grímsvötn glacier lakes is small since the eruption that took place in Grímsfjall volcano in the year 2011. Coverage of that eruption can be found here. At current time nothing more is expected to happen.

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Deep earthquake in Hamarinn volcano

Today (25-February-2014) at 09:49 UTC an deep earthquake took place in Hamarinn volcano (is under Bárðarbunga volcano at GVP database as Loki-Fögrufjöll). This earthquake had the depth of 29,6 km and magnitude of 1,8. This means it was created by magma movement rather then tectonic forces.

The earthquake that had the depth of 29,6 km is located 12,5 km south of Hamarinn (64,417 -17,605). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

Hamarinn volcano last erupted in July 2011 [coverage of that can be found here] in an minor eruption that lasted for few hours but resulted in glacier flood in the area. Since then activity has dropped, but over the recent months it has been picking up again slowly. So far it is just earthquakes at depth. Harminn volcano is highly active volcano, even if it is not constantly erupting at the moment. The reason is that it is almost centre above the hot spot fuels the eruption activity in this area.

Blog post updated at 21:28 UTC.