Aaand action.. Bárðarbunga

First a BIG thank you to all our readers for your contributions and especially for the way you have followed our proposed guidelines in respect to what you post. You are VolcanoCafé, a place where everyone contributes to a common interest!

The following is a loose collection of interesting maps, photos and figures and links provided by readers and collectively assembled by the dragons. The last 24 hours have been a bit chaotic, so have forbearance with us!


Where to get scientific updates

Note for everyone checking the IMO pages: the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland has a news page with the same content as IMO. Checking this would help with not overloading the IMO servers while still getting the same information, so please, use this link for the official scientific updates.


Today’s contributions about the eruption

This showed up as a large tremor spike on the Askja SIL-station that immediately died down:

Credit IMO

This map shows the location of the Holuhrauni eruption:

Credit IMO

This infrared image was recorded by the Icelandic Coast Guard aircraft TF-SIF and gives a good impression of the lava flows from the fissure. The image is recorded as ‘black-hot’ (the darker the tone, the higher the temperature). IR operators usually have the option of switching between ‘black-hot’ and ‘white-hot’ to help them analyse the image. (Icelandic Coast Guard)

Taken shortly after the IR image, this is a daylight image (‘EO’ – electro-optical) from TF-SIF’s sensor. Annotations on the image show that TF-SIF was flying at 10,270 ft and the ‘target’ (cross-hairs) was 6.6 nautical miles away. (Icelandic Coast Guard)

Image of eruption site from Thorbjorg Agustsdottir

Our readers kept seeing light on the new Milawebcam and they sent images.

Webcam screenshot improved by Islander

Some great video footage was recorded in the morning during a series of low-level passes along the fissure. Camerawork credited to Hjalti Stefánsson

According to IMO lava effusion peaked between 00.40 and 01.00 UTC, and then slowly subsided. Lava flow had ceased by around 04.00 UTC, although the fissure continued to steam. The end of the eruption, or at least this phase of it, was reported by Icelandic news outlets, while the Icelandic Coast Guard flew its patrol aircraft over the region to conduct observations and confirm that lava was no longer flowing. At midday London VAAC (the volcanic ash advisory centre responsible for Icelandic airspace) issued a notice stating “No VA [volcanic ash] observed. Overflight conducted and no lava was observed flowing from fissure N of Dyngjujokull. Repeat no VA observed”.

With the aviation code at Red, the Icelandic Transport Authority initially imposed a large no-fly area for IFR air traffic around the fissure and extending to the north/northwest (downwind) and up to 18,000 feet altitude. Later the restricted zone was reduced in area, and the altitude limit lowered to 5,000 feet. Subsequently all flight restrictions were lifted.

At 10.00 UTC the aviation code was downgraded to Orange. Askja remains at Yellow.


Close-up of the new Holuhrauni lava by Thorbjorg Agustsdottir via Twitter.

Article in an Icelandic online Newspaper posted by Junior.

Ekström model of the caldera.

Richat ring in Mauritania

Need more real-time info? Check this

Another good site for scientific updates is Bardarbunga’s own website. He also has a serious twitter account @Bardarbunga_IS and a crazy twitter alter ego @Bardarbunga. Incidentaly, so do Dygnjuokull @dygnjujokull and Eyjafjallajokull @Eyjafjalla.

You can also check the twitter feed of the University of Iceland @uni_iceland.

In general twitter is a great place to get quick updates and there are many volcanologists, geologists and other volcano-related professionals worth following. Here are a few that we know of and follow, but if the readers know of others, please, let us know:

Dr Erik Klemetti @eruptionsblog, Dr Dave McGarvie @subglacial, Gisli Olafsson @gislio, Dr Jascha Polet @CPPGeophysics, Prof Simon Redfern @Sim0nRedfern,  Steven Hicks @seismo_steve, Prof Tim Wright @timwright_leeds

ETA: Further twitter reader suggestions:

Thorbjorg Agustsdottir @fencingtobba

The dragons

651 thoughts on “Aaand action.. Bárðarbunga

  1. Satellite imagery of the storm approaching Iceland. Iceland is notorious for it’s succession of storms starting in the late summer through to late spring.. Most storms (cyclones) that germinate in the mid Atlantic work their way up to Iceland . These are often originally hurricanes but become known as extratropical storms as they move over the cooler waters of the North Atlantic. They can have winds of hurricane force but are not actually hurricanes as they obtain their energy from the contrast between warm and cold air masses.

    With thanks to EUMETSAT/Met Office, UK

  2. Gisli Olafsson ‏@gislio 1m

    Scientists believe #eruption near #Bardarbunga last weekend was 10x larger than yesterday’s #Holuhraun eruption

  3. Magnitude mb 5.3
    Date time 2014-08-30 15:29:53.6 UTC
    Location 43.42 N ; 27.93 W
    Depth 2 km


    This is possible evidence that the entire MAR currently is under strong tectonic shifts. Definitely a link to the current changes in Iceland.

  4. Have to go to a wedding. Won’t be back till tomorrow. Withdrawals will start in a little while. Can someone put a BIG cork in Bardy until I get back?

    • Big cork already in Bardy (the plug in Göran Ekström’s model) – fingers crossed it will stay in place until you get back! 😀 Enjoy the wedding! 🙂

  5. I wish I could see a live feed. Non of my links work. I wonder if the fact that husband is watching films off his memory stick on our new smart TV would affect my ability to see live feeds off the web. 😦

  6. Its been raining all night…. and soon as the sun comes out you can see the mixture of vapour / old ash and dust rising in the form of steam… if it wasnt pissed wet through down there maybe, but its soaked

    • Exactly. It’s both. And watching earlier, there were tiny “billows” of steam at the bases of some of these otherwise “dust” devils/plumes/storms/whatevers.

    • Amen…….and if you look to the far right on the cam picture you can see the rays of light coming down from heaven as the Gods are speaking 😀 :D.
      As a child I had a picture Bible and whenever God spoke to anyone he always seemed to communicate with light rays through cumulus clouds 😀 😀

  7. Ah the dust discussion again, I commented during the intial fissure eruption that it appeared in the exact same location (of three predominant) as the source of the dust cloud on the right of the mila screen, no-one replied at that point. This latest screen that is happening now is another of the same of three intial “dust” locations.

    I know someone is going to say dried up river beds, but the later close ups of the fissure eruption was not a dried up river bed.

    I am recording webcaptures of these dust events and we’ll see what transpires. As for now I’ll sit here and take the flak now…..

  8. Anyone notice, the big quakes today didn’t have the usual spikes on the tremor plots, it’s stayed more or less steady instead. Why would that be oh great ones of knowledge?

    • …puts on extra strong glasses (normally kept in the kitchen for reading tiny print instructions)…. on closer inspection, I think there are spikes, Loco, but they are ‘thinner’ and somewhat swamped by green and blue.

    • Oh that’d be right – just when I think I’m catching up, there’s another thousand comments on a new post! 😀

    • Hi Barbara, copy pasted this into the new thread, interesting; if only it had been a veteran volcanologist saying this…

  9. OK! This especially for Carl, Lurking, Geoloco, Scotsfjohns and any other scientific gentlemen interested in Fun with a feather duster. 🙂 Here it is!
    Iceland’s answer to all that dust we are seeing.
    Not only that but in Iceland you can pouffe up your duster over a nice steamy, rifting vent .
    Oh My! Aren’t we ladies lucky to be able to have so much fun?

  10. From my last weekends journey to Veiðivötn (Erupted in 1480)
    Photo (image from video) taken in one of the many lakes of Veiðivötn
    – behind furthest on right is Vatnaöldur (erupted in 870)
    Both eruptions courtesy of Bárðarbunga.

    Just a little relief from all the dust 😉

  11. its interesting times indeed. The “dust-part” of me wants to see a giga-eruption, the “normal” part of me wants to see something spectacular, but still ” easy handleable” for Icelanders, and the old and “empatic” part of me hopes for “just a little more action”. I have followed this blog since it was starting up, and followed Jon’s blog before that.
    When I say “dust-part of me” in the first sentence its refering to DUST in Norwegian ( =very stupid person).
    Problem: With all these big quakes; how will the future be like when we get back to “normal”?

    • Back to normal you say….
      Bárðarbunga itself erupted multiple times in the years 1702-1740 and last eruption was in 1780
      Somethings tells me we are in for some exciting adventures in this field in the years to come 😉

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s