Over the past week Iceland’s second tallest (and arguably, most powerful) volcano has begun to stir after roughly a century of somnolence. The Icelandic Met Office upgraded the volcano’s aviation alert status to Orange on Monday, and since that time we’ve seen almost non-stop tremors indicating magma movement.
After a slowdown in tremors yesterday, overnight we’ve seen another spike in activity. In the past hour a small eruption has been detected under the Dyngjujökull glacier, and the Aviation Alert code has been raised to RED.
Although this volcano has produced some monumental eruptions in the past, there is no way to know how big - or how small - this current event is likely to be. For now, only local air traffic is impacted.
Apparently, volcano watching in Iceland is an activity akin to Hurricane watching here in Florida, and so there’s plenty of twitter activity using the hashtag #Bárðarbunga. But as always, Caveat Lector.
Most of the webcams are either badly slammed by those eager to get a glimpse, or out of service right now, but if you are very patient you might get a look at Live From Iceland.
This from the Icelandic MET Office.
It is believed that a small subglacial lava-eruption has begun under the Dyngjujökull glacier. The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.
It is believed that a small subglacial lava-eruption has begun under the Dyngjujökull glacier. The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red. Just now (14:04), an earthquake, estimated at magnitude of 4.5 was detected.
Written by a specialist at 23 Aug 14:34 GMT
Overview of seismic events in August 2014
In this article, updated information on the Bárðarbunga seismic activity is given with daily status reports from the scientist of IMO and the University of Iceland. New material is added to the top of the article. The original information is at the end of the article. All in all, this article gives an overview of events. For additional material, check also the news list on our front page.
23rd August 2014 14:10 - 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), an earthquake occurred, estimated 4.5 in magnitude.
23rd August 2014 12:20 - notes from the scientists' meeting
Intense earthquake activity continues at the Bárðarbunga volcano – a situation that has persisted since 16 August.
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.
The Coast Guard TF SIF aircraft is taking off by 13:00 to make observations with scientists from Icelandic Met Office, the Institute of Earth Sciences, and people from the Civil Protection.
A tourist plane called in at noon to report no visible changes at the surface.
Current winds: weak winds at low levels. At higher levels winds are northerly (towards the south).
Hydrological measurements at Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Upptypingar, do not indicate a contribution of geothermal/volcanic gases to the hydrological system that is outside of the typical range observed in the last decade.
The activity continues and an eruption can therefore not be ruled out.
The aviation colour-code for the Bárðarbunga volcano remains unchanged at ‘orange', and we are continuously evaluating if this should be changed. The volcano is exhibiting heightened levels of unrest.