Earth Shift: Iceland’s Bárðarbunga Volcano Eruptions Begins*

Earth Shift: Iceland’s Bárðarbunga Volcano Eruptions Begins*

According to Icelandic Met Office, a small lava-eruption has been detected under the Dyngjujökull glacier today, August 23, 2014. The aviation colour code has been raised to “red”.  It could be 0 – 20 hours before lava reaches the surface of the ice but it is also possible that the lava will not break through the ice.

Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 230814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

The aviation color code has been raised to “red” as the data is currently interpreted as a subglacial eruption. Both the thickness of the ice at the possible contact point (100-400 m) and the volume of lava in possible contact with ice are highly uncertain. It could be 0-20 hours before lava reaches the surface of the ice. It is also possible that the lava will not break through the ice, and the eruption could remain subglacial.

August 23, 2014 @ 14:10 UTC – a small eruption under Dyngjujökull

  • A small lava-eruption has been detected under the Dyngjujökull glacier.
  • The Icelandic Coast Guard airplane TF-SIF is flying over the area with representatives from the Civil Protection and experts from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences. Data from the equipment on board is expected later today.
  • Data from radars and web-cameras is being received, showing no signs of changes at the surface.
  • The estimate is that 150-400 meters of ice is above the area.
  • The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.
  • Some minutes ago (14:04 UTC), an earthquake occurred, estimated 4.5 in magnitude.

August 23, 2014 @ 12:20 UTC – notes from the scientists’ meeting

Intense earthquake activity continues at the Bárðarbunga volcano – a situation that has persisted since August 16.

During the last 6 hours the dyke has propagated ~5 km to the north. The rate of earthquakes has increased such that they are happening so quickly that it is difficult for the seismologist to discern individual events. Observed high frequency tremor is interpreted to be caused by the propagation of the dyke.

Some larger earthquakes of magnitude 3 – 4 have been measured in the Bárðarbunga caldera in the last days. These events in the Bárðarbunga caldera are interpreted as adjustments related to decompression in the caldera since the beginning of the unrest.

Most recent GPS data shows that magma flow is continuing.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson

The large central volcano of Bárdarbunga lies beneath the NW part of the Vatnajökull icecap, NW of Grímsvötn volcano, and contains a subglacial 700-m-deep caldera. Related fissure systems include the Veidivötn and Trollagigar fissures, which extend about 100 km SW to near Torfajökull volcano and 50 km NE to near Askja volcano, respectively. Voluminous fissure eruptions, including one at Thjorsarhraun, which produced the largest known Holocene lava flow on Earth with a volume of more than 21 cu km, have occurred throughout the Holocene into historical time from the Veidivötn fissure system.

The last major eruption of Veidivötn, in 1477, also produced a large tephra deposit. The subglacial Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system located SW of Bárdarbunga volcano is also part of the Bárdarbunga volcanic system and contains two subglacial ridges extending from the largely subglacial Hamarinn central volcano; the Loki ridge trends to the NE and the Fögrufjöll ridge to the SW. Jökulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods) from eruptions at Bárdarbunga potentially affect drainages in all directions. (GVP)


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