Bardarbunga volcano alert in Iceland

Posted: August 20, 2014 by oldbrew in Earthquakes, Forecasting, volcanos
A previous Icelandic volcano  [image credit: BBC]

A previous Icelandic volcano
[image credit: BBC]

BBC reports:

“Intense seismic activity” began at the volcano on 16 August, and there was a strong earthquake in the region early on Monday, the met office said.

“This is the strongest earthquake measured in the region since 1996.

“Presently there are no signs of eruption, but it cannot be excluded that the current activity will result in an explosive subglacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood and ash emission,” the met office said, adding that the situation was being monitored.

BBC News – Iceland raises Bardarbunga volcano alert to orange.

The risk level to the aviation industry has been raised to orange, the second-highest level, the met office said.

Update 23rd August : Volcano alert level raised to red

*** Update 24th August: Alert level reduced to orange. ***

Update 29 August** Warning A fissure eruption has started north of Dynjujökull.** (Richard Holle)


  1. Andrew says:

    This is a good site for more detail

  2. oldbrew says:

    An area north of the volcano has been evacuated (mostly tourists and park rangers) as a precaution.

    ‘Einar Einarsson, a meteorologist at Iceland’s Met Office, said earthquakes were happening practically every minute and seismic activity was constant.’

  3. This’ll be of some relief to “English-speaking” media presenters who, when reading about a previous eruption in Iceland, avoided saying “Eyjafjallajökull” on air as much as stage actors are reputed to avoid saying “Macbeth”. 😉

    The “English” should not have much trouble pronouncing Icelandic names as the roots of the languages are common. It just takes some listening and practice. And accepting that it’s useful to become accustomed to a language other than a “romance”.

  4. oldbrew says:

    CNN report focussing on what the airlines might face:

  5. Stephen Richards says:

    It seems possible that the shorter melt season has left a huge block of ice over the volcano which is holding back the eruption. I think it was last year that a volcano erupted beneath the ice without blowing throw it. It melted the ice from underneath and then flowed through man built channels to the sea.

  6. Gray says:

    Icelandic met office covers earthquakes and eruptions…

  7. another link that updates automatically, been watching the live webcams in the area, nice country this time of year.

  8. jazznick says:

    4.8 earthquake 117km WNW of Hofn (Suderlund) this morning.

    [reply] Details here:

    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.
    Starting to vent steam to the surface, nice front row seat but, server overloaded at this time.

  10. Andrew says:

    Eruption has started

  11. Ed Martin says:

    Small fissure eruption under thin ice. Could melt through in as little as three hours. We have to wait some more to see if the dyke is getting replenished with magma much.

  12. oldbrew says:

    At least it’s in a remote area and any meltwater should flow to the sea without threatening anyone – in theory.

  13. Anything is possible says:

    The video from the Badarbunga webcam is just a sandstorm, nothing to do with any possible eruption :

    “Do not be fooled, this is not a photo of the Dyngjujökull eruption. This is a photo of a small sand storm near the Bardarbunga webcam, some distance away from the site where the eruption is supposed to have occurred.

    The eruption took place under a glacier, so no photos have been taken of the eruption, nor has anyone seen the eruption.”

  14. oldbrew says:

    Earthquake in California rated 6.0, north east of San Francisco:

    ‘At least 87 people have been taken to hospital in the Napa area, with three of them seriously injured.’

  15. I have been looking at Google maps for the surface location of the column of Quakes on the right side of the 3D graph. That area has no ice on top of it, and looks like a ridge sliding out of a butt crack in the Northern edge of the ice field at Lat 64.850 Long -16.850 being out in the middle of an area with a lot of surface cracks that look like uplift/separation features can be seen at 100 ft scale if you wait for it to load at that resolution.,-16.8459562,7078m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

  16. ren says:

    25th August 2014 16:00 – status report

    Overall assessment from the joint daily status report 250814 of the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences:

    There are no indications that the intensity of the activity is declining. Currently, three scenarios are considered most likely: 1) The migration of magma could stop, attended by a gradual reduction in seismic activity. 2) The dike could reach the surface of the crust, starting an eruption. In this scenario, it is most likely that the eruption would be near the northern tip of the dike. This would most likely produce an effusive lava eruption with limited explosive, ash-producing activity. 3) An alternate scenario would be the dike reaching the surface where a significant part, or all, of the fissure is beneath the glacier. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity. Other scenarios cannot be excluded. For example, an eruption inside the Bárdarbunga caldera is possible but presently considered to be less likely.

  17. craigm350 says:

    A look at some of the possibilities.

    The longer the ‘crisis’ goes on the more magma can be erupted, but it could fizzle out (not likely imo)

    Ren – Joe Bastardi not thinking much of possible climactic effects due to Iceland’s location – I.e. no tropical (Indonesia) or polar cells (Alaska/Kamchatka) would be effected.

    Whatever happens it will be fascinating to follow through the various metrics and maps.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Getting an earthquake every 2 minutes at the moment:

  19. oldbrew says:

    Still churning away…

    ‘Teams monitoring Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano have found evidence of a possible underground eruption as powerful earthquakes continue to shake the area, Icelandic authorities said Thursday.’

    Read more at:

  20. Currently there is a bright red spot in the midnight web cam photo
    the moon is near new moon phase so it isn’t the moon on the horizon. slowly growing bigger. Warning
    A fissure eruption has started north of Dynjujökull.
    Fissure opened up lava fountain starting to show in web cam.
    29th August 2014 02:45 – An eruption north of Dyngjujökull

    An eruption started in Holuhraun north of Dyngjujökull at around 00:02. Seismic tremor was observed on all seismic stations and the web camera installed in the area by Mila has showed some nice pictures of the eruption. It is a small fissure eruption and at 02:40 AM the activity appears to have decreased.

  21. They have adjusted this camera view to be centered on the fissure eruption, now just steam and light ash drifting out of the lifting morning fog.
    There have been helicopter flights around the site for the past two hours, whether they are tourist tours or an official survey team I don’t know.

  22. ren says:

    31st August 2014 08:40 – Eruption in Holuhraun observed 05:15
    Observation from scientists in the field (07:15): It appears that the eruptive fissure is longer than in the last eruption. It is extending north and south on the same fissure. The eruption is a very calm lava eruption and can hardly be seen on seismometers (almost no gosórói). Visual observation confirm it is calm, but continuous.

  23. ren says:

    If the eruption is under the ice can melt the space for gases. This could cause an explosion.

  24. ren says:


  25. ren says:

    Bardarabunga currently.

  26. oldbrew says:

    ‘Bárðarbunga Eruption More Likely, Geophysicist says’

    Report: ‘An earthquake of magnitude 5.4 shook Bárðarbunga at 7.08 AM this morning. That’s one of the largest tremors since the volcano’s bunga bunga started.’