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.
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)
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.
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.
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 SafeTravel.is 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
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!
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
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 mbl.is.
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
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
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.
A nice gimmick starts when you click on the picture below. Earthquakes transformed in sound. Try it, earthquakes can make great music
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.
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 !
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.
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
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.
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
OLDER ARCHIVED PARTS OF THIS REPORT :
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