The IMO has confirmed that a fissure eruption has started north of Dyngjujökull.
Please do not link to http://www.vedur.is and en.vedur.is sites at this time
Please use the live Youtube stream for the webcam rather than the Mila link, as the latter is likely to be in use by emergency authorities and IMO. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoISDUAPNgc
This is just a holding post – more information will be provided later as it becomes available.
After reviewing images. This eruption seems to for the moment take the best possible solution way. Currently the true eruption has not started, but will do so in a few hours. What I mean by that is that currently we are mostly seeing steam coming out of the newly opened fissure, this is caused by rising magma heating away the water table on a local scale.
As the true eruption starts we will see fire fountains a few hundred meters high. I also expect that the fissure will widen during the day, and we might also see new fissures open up in the days and weeks to come. The ultimate scale of the eruption remains to be seen, and this eruption could continue for weeks, months, or even years.
I am though happy that the eruption started now instead of later since this will limit the amount of peak pressure in the volcanic system which should dampen the initial effusive rate. I do not currently expect a large explosive event, but if a fissure opens up closer to the volcano under the ice it could turn ashy temporarily.
Normally fissure eruptions tend to open new fissures closer to the parent volcano, so the current fissure is most likely going to be the furtherest point from Bárdarbunga that this eruption will reach. I do not expect a follow up eruption at Askja at this juncture.
this is a 3D view of the situation this morning. Note the seismic activity under Askja, and some activity aver the 64.7° zone. To my mind this should not be too far from the eruption site.
And this is a zoom on the earthquake front.
Note the reactivation around 64.8°N
it is a view from the east – all quakes over mag2 since the 16th – finishing 6H38 this morning