Worldwide volcano and earthquake news – Bardarbunga volcano (Iceland) update(s) August 22

Last update: August 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm by By

After Rodger Wilson was obliged to discontinue his daily participation at this site, we have decided to start up an El Hierro type article. The newest additions will always be on top and if the article gets too long, we will cut off a part of it and archive it. This url will always be the one to follow and if you leave our page open in your browser, the page will refresh every 60 minutes automatically.
Please be a little patient with this new format.
This report is compiled out of many information sources.

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Bárðarbunga update August 22 23:25 UTC
The wider volcano below the icecap shows a deformation of about 20 centimeters, thats a lot, but not exceptional for activity below a volcano.  The main movement is horizontally. The dyke Intrusion seemed to have stopped in the northeastern direction.
The Geophysicists believes that there is either some obstacle or of reduced inflow of magma.
This behavior confirms our own statistics that the number of earthquakes have decreased considerably in number today. At 14:11 the number of the last 48 hours was 2032, at 23:18 the number decreased to 1872. A volcano is very unpredictable so the activity may jump up again or may further weaken.
Most earthquakes occur at a depth of five to ten kilometers. Geophysicists at the Icelandic Met Office believe that the seismic activity in the Bárðarbunga caldera is connected with changes in pressure in the magma chamber below, from where magma is moving into intrusions. However, there are no indications that magma is breaking its way to the surface.

Earthquake M3 or stronger since the beginning of the Bardarbunga activity

Earthquake M3 or stronger since the beginning of the Bardarbunga activity

Bárðarbunga update August 22 13:12 UTC
A report from RUV Iceland who quotes a lot of information from the Icelandic Met Service
A 25 kilometer long dyke intrusion has formed, north and east of the Bardarbunga caldera. Intense seismic activity continues there. Strong earthquakes have been detected in the caldera itself, but they are associated with decompression of the magma chamber beneath the caldera.
According to the Icelandic Met office there are no signs that seismicity is decreasing. A 25 kilometer long dyke has formed in the crust under the Dyngjujokull outlet glacier at 5 – 10 km. depth. Magma is thought to continue to move along the dyke, possibly branching out at the NE end of the dyke.
Several strong earthquakes have been detected in the Bardarbunga itself; the last one, magnitude 3,5, at around 11 GMT this morning, These events are thought to reflect an adjustment of the caldera rim, related to decompression in the caldera since the beginning of the unrest six days ago.
Land displacement measurement with GPS around the volcano show up to 14 centimeter drift since the unrest began, on August 16. Annual drift in Iceland, due to crustal plate movements, is about 2 cm.
„A new GPS station in Kverkfjöll is now running and sending data. Similar seismic instruments were installed by Kverkfjöll yesterday, as well as close to the GPS station at Hamarinn, which was set up two days ago. In addition, two seismic stations set up in Dyngjujökull yesterday are collecting data on site. This work is done in collaboration between IMO, the Institute of Earth Sciences and collaborators in the European FutureVolc research project.“ (Icelandic Met Office).
The evacuation order for the area north of Vatnajokull is still in effect. The area north of Route 1 (including Dettifoss, Hljodaklettar, Asbyrgi) is still open to the general public.
This story, by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), was updated on 22 August 2014, at13.45 GMT.
ER : below in red the number and Magnitude in earthquakes since the last 4 hours. The image shows a decrease both in number and Magnitude of the earthquakes.

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Bárðarbunga update August 22 13:12 UTC
Still on top of every Vedur page : Intense earthquake swarm continues at Barðarbunga. Presently there are no signs of magma moving to the surface. This message hasn’t changed since many days
- we are noticing a decrease in the number of earthquakes the last 12 hours. Still a massive number of course
- 3 M+3 earthquakes today below the Bardarbunga volcano location BUT at a depth of respectively 8.1, 9.2 and 9 km which means in human terms far away from a possible eruption. These stronger earthquakes are meaning that the pressure of the magma continues but cannot find a way up. Less earthquakes means also usually stronger earthquakes.
- The dyke North East area of the glacier where earthquakes are currently very shallow (a lot of weak quakes at a depth of 1 km) is currently having a decrease in number of earthquakes
- Visir Iceland reports the view of a number of specialists. Every belief finds his truth :)
Kristín Vogfjörð, Director of Research at the Icelandic Met Office believes that based on her interpretations of the GPS data, the pressure is receding and the likelihood of eruption is minimising.
Meanwhile, Ingi Þorleifur Bjarnason, a research scholar with the Insitute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland interprets the data differently, believing that the pressure is increasing and that the volcano is rising in preparation for eruption.
Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, geophysicist and professor at the University of Iceland has said that really, it could go either way.
“There is definitely a chance that this will end with an eruption, the likelihood of that has not changed,” said Magnús Tumi.  “You could say that the longer this [eruption delay] goes on the chances of an eruption will go up. But I believe that there is no more a chance that an eruption will happen than it won’t. Nobody really knows.”
ER believes Kristin is right (based on the current data)

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Bárðarbunga update August 21 22:15 UTC

Report 2014-08-21 16:49 UTC
Compiled by : Melissa Anne Pfeffer Sara Barsotti Gunnar Guðmundsson Kristín Jónsdóttir Matthew J. Roberts Ásta Rut Hjartardóttir Hildur María Friðriksdóttir Elías Rafn Heimisson Michelle Parks
Report based on Seismic, GPS, water samples and Eruption plume if any
Meltwater No eruption. Daily measurements of water samples from Upptyppingar on Jökulsá á Fjöllum have shown a stable conductivity of ~200 µS/cm since Sunday.
Conditions at eruption site : No eruption.
Seismic tremor : No sign of harmonic (volcanic) tremor detected.

Intense earthquake activity continues at the Bárðarbunga volcano – a situation that has persisted since 16 August. Since midnight, over 900 earthquakes have been detected in Bárðarbunga. There are no signs that the seismicity is decreasing. Seismic and GPS measurements reveal a 25 kmlong dyke being formed in the crust under the Dyngjujökull glacier at 5 – 10 km depth. The dyke has not propagated to the north-east, nor has it progressed to shallower depth. Today three earthquakes exceeding three in magnitude have occurred on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga (M 3.7 at 10:29, M 4.0 at 10:58 and M 3.4 at 13:02). These earthquakes were at depths around 2 – 5 km. They are interpreted as possible adjustments of the caldera due to changing magma pressure – they are not assumed to be the precursor to an imminent eruption.

GPS deformation
Seismic and GPS measurements reveal an approximately 25 km long dyke being formed in the crust under the Dyngjujökull glacier east of Bárðarbunga. The results of the GPS measurements also indicate a decrease in pressure in the magma chamber below the Bárðarbunga caldera, which might suggest migration of melt from the Bárðarbunga magma chamber to the dike intrusion east of Bárðarbunga. A new GPS station was installed in Kverkfjöll on the 21st of August 2014. This station will measure continuously and transmit data automatically to scientists of the Icelandic Meteorological Office and of the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland, in a similar manner as other continous GPS stations do near Bárðarbunga. The new GPS measurements will provide scientists with an improved understanding of how the magma is moving within the crust.

Overall assessment
There are no measurements to suggest that an eruption is imminent. Previous intrusion events in Iceland have lasted for several days or weeks, often not resulting in an eruption. However an eruption of Bárðarbunga cannot presently be excluded, hence the intense monitoring and preparation efforts. The ongoing monitoring and assessment effort is necessary in case a volcanic eruption occurs. Hazards in the event of an eruption are being assessed, including a glacial outburst flood and dispersal of volcanic ash. Additional seismic, GPS and hydrological stations have been installed in the Bárðarbunga region. Likewise, mobile radars capable of monitoring ash dispersal have been moved to the region. The aviation colour-code for the Bárðarbunga volcano remains unchanged at ‘orange’, signifying that the volcano is exhibiting heightened levels of unrest.

Bardarbunga update August 21 12:31 UTC
- The seismic activity is still high and continues to move northeast.
- The Coast Guard will send out its TF-SIF plane today at 13:00 with scientists and rescue workers on board.
- Víðir Reyn­is­son, the head of Iceland’s Civil Protection Department, stated that it is believed that there are still travelers in the area who are unaware of the closures, but that the department is taking care to find anyone still in the evacuation zone. Notably, there were individuals who registered with whose hiking plans indicated that they should be in the area north of Vatnajökull around this time, but that their plans were not very specific and they may have already passed through.
- ICE-SAR, Iceland’s Search and Rescue, says that they successfully evacuated the area around Dyngju­jök­ul last night, but will continue searching for people still in the area today.
More bits and bites on this very good page

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.28.45

Bardarbunga update August 21 08:35 UTC
Below a small table with the recent M3+ earthquakes. 2 of these recent 3+ quakes are right below the Bardarbunga crater area.
The 16:14 one is intriguing as it was reported at a depth of only 3.1 km. The left green stars on the map is the Bardarbunga crater area.
Whenever an eruption would take place a strong +4 earthquake might be an indication for it.
Do not forget either that an eruption would not necessarily get above the ice as the ice layer on top os the crater is at least 700 meter thick!

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.32.50 Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.33.16

Bardarbunga update August 21 08:17 UTC
Bardarbunga volcano continues to rumble but as yet there is no eruption to report, so here is a round up last night’s news.
- An earthquake measuring 3 or higher on the Richter scale struck the area around Bárðarbunga volcano around 11:30 pm last night, reports RÚV.
- Scientists flying over Bárðarbunga yesterday confirmed that so far there are no changes to the glacial surface of the volcano.
- Kristján Jónsson, a geologist with the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, has said that although he cannot confirm it, he expects the ash from this eruption will be coarser than that of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, meaning it may not effect the aviation industry as heavily.
- Tourists in the countryside around Mývatn are reportedly feeling anxious about the situation brewing in Vatnajökull glacier and the fact that Mývatn’s Tourist Information Centre was closed yesterday. About 2000 travellers visit Mývatn daily.
- Bardarbunga, was named after a Norwegian man, reports RÚV (so not after the bunga bunga parties from Berslusconi).  The Norwegian Bárðar sailed to Iceland, docked his ship in Skjálfandafljótsós and settled in a nearby valley that was eventually named after him – Bárðardalur (Bárðar’s Valley).
More bits and bites on this very good page

You’d better NOT believe the many pictures currently published on Twitter and Facebook – The image below is the real stuff, boring action images for us volcano followers BUT at least beautiful weather for the Icelanders :)

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright


Bardarbunga update 23:06 UTC
Iceland geophycicist after overflight : „It can go eit­her way“
Icelandic Co­astgu­ar­d’s airpla­ne land­ed at Reykja­vik airport tonig­ht. On bo­ard the pla­ne were geolog­ists ret­urn­ing from their flig­ht over Bárðarbunga, among­st them Magnús Tumi Guðmunds­son, one of Iceland’s lea­ding geop­h­ysicists.
“The flig­ht went well, we mana­ged to gat­her the in­formati­on we wan­ted. We did radar mea­surements of the glacier and the ri­ver Jök­ulsá á Fjöll­um, which will be of much value in the event of an erupti­on,” he said in a telepho­ne in­terview with
Magnús says it’s hard to evalua­te the chances of an erupti­on. “It can go eit­her way, no­bo­dy can really predict what will happ­en in this situati­on.”
A lot of ice to melt
He says that in the event of an erupti­on, one of two things would likely happ­en. “What’s more likely is an erupti­on below the glacier Dyngju­jök­ull, wh­ere we can see eart­hqua­ke acti­vity moving nort­heast. In that area the glacier’s thickness mea­sures half a ki­lometer, so it would have to melt a lot of ice before it could finally breach the surface.
Read the full article here

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Bardarbunga update August 20 @ 15:39 UTC
We encourage all our readers to read the linked NATURE article below. ER calls it the most adequate description of a) what is currently happerning and b) which scenarios can happen if it erupts + we fully agree with it. Click here or on the image below to read the full article in the Nature website

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Bardarbunga Update August 20 @ 15:13 UTC
National Crisis Center activated
The Nati­onal Cris­is Centre has been fully acti­vated af­ter a decisi­on was taken to evacua­te the high­lands north of Dyngju­jök­ull (part of Vatna­jök­ull glacier). The area is now closed and has been evacua­ted. These acti­ons were taken follow­ing seismic acti­vity around the Bar­dar­bunga caldera in the last few days.
The area that has now been closed is both lar­ge in size and un­pop­ula­ted. Th­ere are still no signs of erupti­on but these secu­rity mea­sures have been taken since it would not be possi­ble to evacua­te the area in time should a sub-glacial out­burst flood occ­ur from Vatna­jök­ull as a result of an erupti­on.
In the nort­hwestern part of Vatna­jök­ull glacier the seismic acti­vity is stable, with the main area being nort­heast of Bar­dar­bunga. Over 300 eart­hqua­kes have been detected since midnig­ht. The strongest event was of the magnitu­de 3.0. Anot­her event happ­ened insi­de the Bar­dar­bunga caldera and was of the magnitu­de 2.7.
Today The Co­ast guard airpla­ne, TF SIF, will make a sur­veill­ance flig­ht over the area with scient­ists and representati­ves of the Civil Protecti­on unit, if we­ather conditi­ons allow. Police and ISAR units will en­force the closure of the area. The situati­on will cont­inue to be closely monitor­ed.

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A nice gimmick starts when you click on the picture below. Earthquakes transformed in sound. Try it, earthquakes can make great music :)

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Click on this image to listen to the Bardarbunga quakes sound

Bardargunga Update August 20 @ 08:42 UTC
Nothing special to report – still a lot of seismicity but most of it today at a deeper level, average 6 km. The extremely shallow earthquakes (example 1 km) are normally triggered by stress and certainly not by magma intrusion. The Icelandic Met Office still has the following banner above the earthquakes list : Intense earthquake swarm continues at Barðarbunga. Presently there are no signs of magma moving to the surface.
Please keep in mind that normally volcanoes are not interconnected.

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Bardargunga Civil Protection report August 19 @ 22:17 UTC
The Police Commissioners of Húsavík and Seyðisfirði have decided to close and evacuate the highlands north of Dyngjujökuls, this due to the continuous earthquakes in the area in recent days. This is a precautionary measure.
The image below is a webcam view of the glacier during the night. The light in the background is the sunrise NOTHING else !

Image courtesy and copyright VEDUR.IS

Image courtesy and copyright VEDUR.IS


Bardarbunga volcano situation update from Civil Protection Iceland (19/08 at 10:12)
Below the press communique published yesterday by the Iceland Civil Protection.

The situation in Bárðarbunga volcano in NW Vatnajökull glacier has not changed today. The Civil Protection scientists committee held two meetings today with earth scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland. There is a very strong indication of magma movement east of Bárðarbunga caldera and on the edge of Dyngjujökull near Kistufell. Conductivity is high in Jökulsá á Fjöllum for the time of year.
Around 800 earthquakes have been detected since midnight. The strongest event was at 02:37 of the magnitude 4,5.
Civil Protection is still on Uncertainty Phase, which means that course of events has started that may lead to natural hazard in the near future. The National Commissioner of Icelandic Police (NCIP) has today met with the Prime Minister of Iceland, the Minister of Interior and government officials to consult on the issue. The NCIP also met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign embassies in Iceland and from key stakeholders in Iceland.
Mountain roads North of Vatnajökull, F88 (completely) and F910 (partly), have been closed for all traffic. That includes cars, bikes and hiking. A map of the area can be seen here.

ER : If you think you are clever enough to discuss the pre-eruptive state of Bardarbunga, we have a great place for you. They are discussing what is happening there 24/7. Enjoy the discussion :)


The crossed section is closed to cars, cyclists and walking trails

The crossed section is closed to cars, cyclists and walking trails

Earthquake animation from the seismic activity on August 17 and August 18


Alert level increased to ORANGE for Bardarbunga volcano , Iceland ? (update 18/08 at 13:34 UTC)
Still no eruption, but lets call it that the eruption is imminent and could happen anytime. An eruption does NOT mean a free air eruption as most of the Barbardunga activity kept nicely below the upper part of the glacier (also called subglacial). Some collapsing parts of glacier on top of the the activity location is also possible, just like it happened in 2004 with the eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano. The picture below shows what’s happening then – an ice river who might create a jokulhlaup which could lead to Ice rivers with an increased flow and big ice chuncks. These jokulhlaup‘s are the reason that some roads below the glacier complex have been closed.
More about the pre-eruption phase click here

Image courtesy and copyright @Lava_Ice alias Ben Edwards

Image courtesy and copyright @Lava_Ice alias Ben Edwards


1240 earthquakes below Bardarbunga volcano , Iceland ? (update 17/08 at 22:00 UTC)
An impressive number of earthquake and a yellow volcano alert because of the seismic activity below the Barbardunga volcano (Vatnajokull complex). Some roads have been closed to traffic out of fear for a Jokullhaup (sudden ice river triggered by the melting ice of the volcano). This normally happens below the massive icecap of the glacier.
The current status of the volcano is YELLOW
These are the possible next alert levels
YELLOW: Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level.
ORANGE: Volcano shows heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.
RED: Eruption is imminent or in progress – significant emission of ash into atmosphere likely.

Press report from the Iceland Civil Protection
Situation August 17 kl.19: 00
Meetings were held in the morning with the staff the Civil Protection Department, Icelandic Meteorological Office and Earth Sciences rods to review the situation.
The seismic activity is most pronounced in the two clusters north and east Bárðarbunga. No signs are visible that the eruption has started but the seismic activity may be a precursor to an eruption.
Scientists have increased surveillance in the area and police chief in Húsavík, Hvolsvelli and Seyðisfirði plus Vatnajökull National Park are alerted.
Coast Guard helicopter began today with the scientists and staff of the Civil Vatnajökull. That trip did add instruments and webcams as part of increased monitoring of the glacier as well as monitoring changes on the surface of the glacier and the area.
Commissioner of Húsavík has decided to close Gæsavatnaleið and other Highland roads east Skjálfandafljót the caldera. Way to Herðubreiðarlindir F88 (F88) has also been closed due to potential flooding in the area after an eruption.

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright

Image courtesy and copyright


Eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland ? (August 16)
During all last week (Week 33) there has been a minor earthquake swarm in Bárðarbunga volcano. No other activity followed this minor earthquake activity during the week until last night (16-August-2014). During the night (around 02:20 UTC) a harmonic tremor started to appear on SIL stations around Bárðarbunga volcano. Following the appearance of the harmonic tremor earthquake activity started around 03:30 UTC. Largest earthquakes in this swarm have magnitude around 3,0 so far. Depth is around 5 to 10 km. During the night the earthquake swarm moved around in the volcano and is now more east then it first started.
Follow the possible eruption at the website of Jon Frimann, and Icelander who is following up all volcanic and seismic activity below the island

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2013 : July 8 – July 31
2013 : June 24 – July 7
2013 : June 8 – June 23
2013 : May 26 – June 7
2013 : June 8 – August 20
2013 : August 21 – October 27
2013 : October 28 – December 12
2013 : December 13 – January 30
2014 : February 1 – May 20
2014 : May 21 – August 11


  1. goldminor says:

    Hello Armand, it has been awhile. This could be a very dangerous event. I have been reading several posts at WUWT regarding this volcano. You have done a nice job with your graphs and pictures. I will crosslink your page to WUWT. Here is one of their posts on this…

  2. Edward Lane says:

    Hi Armann, been a little while since I posted, the Bardabunga stuff looks interesting :)

    I was just looking on the bbc and I spotted this earthquake related story that might be of interest in a quieter moment.

  3. Leona says:

    Yellowstone Park had a quake swarm yesterday, July 6th. So far, 25 of those quakes have been listed. The quakes that are listed , all shook in about an hour.

    It was a big holiday weekend yesterday in USA, so scientists are just now checking and listing the quakes this morning.

  4. Carl says:

    Clear Lake volcano
    8.7 mile diameter magma chamber 4.3 miles from surface 18.6 miles deep (USGS web site).
    About 4 miles to the left of Cobb, CA in the last 155 days there has been 5,743 earthquakes (USGS web site). The most of these earthquakes has been between 3 km and 0 km. I think near the top of clear lake mountain where the earthquakes are happening is about -.8 km. If these earthquakes start happening at -.1 km to -.4 km Clear Lake Volcano will most likely erupt. This has the potential of making Mount Saint Helen look like a burp.

  5. ASA says:

    Tens of thousand of indonesians have fled their homes after a volcano erupted in east java. Maunt kelud spewed ash and debris over a large area,about 80 miles away. Three people died after their houses collapsed under the weight of ash.

  6. carl says:

    I read about mammoth mountain but what about clear lake volcano in the last 100 day has had over 4,000 earthquakes and the most of them are at 3k to 0k. It look like it happening at about 2,000 foot on the mountain on the north east side. I would say theirs 2,000 foot of mountain holding back the lava. I say it could go any day.

  7. dedelduelzz says:

    here is the amazing lightning flashes during the mt kelud eruption..

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