During a scientific over flight a marked and unexpected drop was noticed in the caldera floor of the Bárdarbunga Central Volcano. The drop was 15 meters, and is as such the largest deformation of a caldera in Iceland. It is interpreted as the result of magma leaving the magmatic reservoir under the caldera floor.
If this number is valid for all of the 11 by 7km caldera it equals to a volume of drained magma of 808 million cubic meters, or just shy of a cubic kilometer. This does not take into account magma that has come into the system during this episode
.Now, where has all of this magma gone? Well between one quarter and one third has erupted out through the fissures. The current estimate is that between 250 and 300 million cubic meters have come out of all of the fissures so far. And that would leave between 500 and 750 million cubic meters inside the rifting fissure extending from Bárdarbunga Central Volcano.
A short note on the diminished amount of earthquakes. This is fully to be expected since the earthquakes are mainly a sign of increased pressure in a fissure system as magma pushes apart rock. Now that the fissures have opened the pressure will be more constant and no new rock would need to be ripped apart by the magma.
So far at Volcanocafé we have been able to keep ahead of the eruption at Bárdarbunga. We were the first in the world to publish information about the upcoming unrest of Bárdarbunga before the earthquake swarm started; we accurately predicted the most likely scenario with the following eruption. As did we do with what now has been confirmed to be happening at the caldera.
So, what will most likely happen at the caldera? For starters, it is normal for rapidly deflating large magma chambers to cause deflation caldera formations. Normally this does not lead to an eruption, or lead to just small eruptions since a deflating caldera floor is a sign of loss of pressure.
In this case we need to take into account that there are two large pools of water below the ice over the caldera floor, and that the ice in and of itself can rapidly transform into water. If that water finds a way down into the extremely hot magma reservoir the water will instantly transform into supercritical steam and a steam explosion will occur. In that case pure physics take over; if a small amount of water hits a small area of hot material a fairly benign explosive event happens. If a large amount of water hits a small area of hot material a prolonged event follows. If a small amount of water hits a large area of hot material a short rapid explosive event happens. And if a large amount of water finds a large area of warm material I would prefer to be more than 50 kilometers away.
Now that we have covered the options of water dumping into the magma reservoir we should briefly discus Jökulhlaups. For Bárdarbunga it would take quite a lot for it to cause a Jökulhlaup directly from an explosive event at the Caldera since there is not natural way for the water to leave. So, a lot of new water would need to be melted for that to happen. So either a prolonged event or a very large scale event would be needed.
As usual, follow the warnings from the Icelandic Authorities; they are the best on the planet at handling situations like this.
Correction: In a recently published article on volcanic gasses, I stated that volcanic ash could cause silicosis. Upon further review of the information out there, I found that this is unlikely. While volcanic ash is mostly silica, the most toxic form, (fine, crystalline silica,) is rarely abundant in volcanic ash. It would take years of exposure to crystalline silica rich ash to develop silicosis. Those with preexisting lung diseases, such as asthma, may be more prone to problems, up to and including death. Additionally, there is some evidence that children exposed to ash may be more prone to asthma. However, healthy individuals are unlikely to experience anything more than bronchitis-like symptoms.
The pertinent information on volcanic ash toxicity is presented here: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/~raman/papers2/HorwellBaxterBV.pdf
1,525 thoughts on “Changes in Bárdarbunga Caldera”
Lens or windscreen flare?
Your mirror has worked so fine for me, Tom, thank you for putting it up. The forbidden links often don’t work here.
No problem 😀
Sorry if this is a repost. This gentleman is not right.
Whaaaaaaat the …. ????
Fess up, its one of our VC friends right? 😉
Yep, kind of. Hear the kiwi accent? That’s Geoff Mackley. While Geoff is not on here to my knowledge, Mike Ross has worked with him doing exactly the same thing.
Incredible photography… Amazing work! She’ll be ‘right! (did I do that correctly) 😉
😀 didn’t catch that bit but it was probably when he when to pick up the glowing lava fragment with his bare hands…
Oh lordy.I need a sit down after that. And I wasn’t even there. I felt almost ill during those last shots of him in his suit in front of the roiling lava lake,
All I can say, apart from ‘wow’, is:
Fixed link #DraGra
Oh, don’t know how to embed gifs … Dragons, help please, pretty please?
LOL @ that .gif
Previously I’ve posted overlays of the quakes and cauldron on top of the topo map that Desert Rat posted and the Landsat image that Bjarki posted. This is a combination of the two. It doesn’t show the same level of detail (look at the originals for that), but it does give an overview and shows the sheer scale of the area we’re looking at and how the eruption sites and lava field are tiny compared to Bardarbunga. The alignment isn’t perfect and it looks a little messy, but I think it is good enough.
I found a great resource yesterday for Iceland maps yesterday, in case anyone’s interested. Lots to play around with there.
Oh this is very good! 😀
It’s amazing that I just found your site today. As soon as I found it I Tweeted it to my followers because your work far exceeds what I have done. I am not a Vulcanologist, however I have been studying volcanoes and earthquakes and their relationship to Climate Change for over eleven (11) years now. I have been concerned greatly in regard this series of eruptions and recently wrote an article on my site laying out the historical danger that Bardarbunga could pose to the entire Global Community if it experiences a major eruption. If Bardarbunga does experience even a moderate eruption we could easily experience a year or two without a summer and that would be disastrous. A huge eruption as it has erupted before that is a VE-6 would be unimaginable to me and even though I believe it could happen, I hope that I am wrong.
Again, you folks are going a great job and my hat is off to you for an eye-opening experience. I’ll be a regular visitor from this date forward.
There are now names for the craters. However, the fissure itself hasn’t been named.
Heh, typical no-nonsense Icelandic names 😉 “South”, “North” and “Circle”
Please correct me if I am wrong, but with 15.9 km2 covered by lava since the eruption started, assuming an average depth of 0.33 m, which I think would be rather shallow, wouldn’t it mean that more than 5 km3 of magma have already been erupted?
I have read that it is about 4 meters on the edges, and up to 30 in the middle. Assuming 15 m on average we get:
Which WA says is 0.24 km^3
WA is neat 🙂
Ah, ok I see. I guess I mixed up the units of measurements, computing 0.33 m as 0.33 Km.
Average depth let’s say 10m:
16 km2 x 0.010 = 0.16 km3 which is as much as Eyjafjalljokull, roughly. And average small fissure eruption.
If it keeps for more 10weeks, then it could make up to 1 or 2 km3, which is a nice size for a flood basalt, quite common in Iceland.
At maximum, if it keeps for 1 year, it would make 0.16 x 52 = 8 km3, about half of Laki.
If one looks at the speed at which the lava has been growing since the third it could make quite a different volume over time. 6,8 Km2 in the last three days w. the same thickness (10 m. avg.) would give 0.023 km3 growth a day.
Or 8,4 km3 a year.
5 m. avg. growth gives 4,2 km3 in a year
10 m. avg. growth gives 8,4 km3 in a year.
15 m. avg. growht gives 12,6 km3 a year.
And so on.
Just numbers, but maybe someone could make some graphs? And add SO2-release based on known output?
Ok, here’s a question in regards to the Jökulhlaup. If there is one, and it comes down into the lava fields, Holuhraun, where the current fissure eruption is happening. Carl said that the flood would be equvilant to the flow of several Amazon rivers at coming at once. So, if that comes into Holuhraun, it would seem to me, that it would also flow into the erupting fissure. What happens then? Enough water to put out the eruption at the fissure (some reason, I think no) or would it cause a massive eruption possibly unzipping the dyke and causing a bad situation to become worse?
I was just wondering if it would be strong enough to wash away some of the new lava field?
Okay, first of all, an eruption is not fire instead it is molten rock poured out, so water will not put it out. Instead the eruption would change in nature and become explosive and we would get ash.
And it would not cause a massive eruption. The output of magma would stay the same.
BOOM. Don’t think it would unzip the dyke but there would be a big bang if it hits a 900 meter lava fountain.
Coming soon to a webcam near you; the VolcanoCafé productions land expedition is enroute to Holuhraun.
Is that the car I see driving around down there?
Will they be visible on the webcam, and do we get a wave? 🙂
Give us a wave on valdalda, please 🙂
The expedition is closing in on the dragons’ nest.
That should give some spectacular night time photage 🙂
Keep seeing flashes on Bar1….is that lightening?
I think so, I saw them too…
And, I can now confirm the numbers by sCyborg, the larger fire fountains are in excess of 250 meters. I did the trigonometry after getting the angles.
Converted to the Eiffel Tower scale, that’s at least 10/13 Eiffel Tower.
(sCyborgs high estimate would be 1 1/4 Eiffel Tower.)
Haven’t seen any myself, but there’s a lot of roiling cloud and scud generated by the heat and eruption so it would not surprise me.
Nothing on the lightning early eruption detection page of IMO.
And a bit of trigonometry on that one gives at hand that the average thickness is 30 meters. That river will be a lake by tomorrow.
You mean 30m. x apx. 16 km2? Giving 0,48 km3? !!!
And reaching 250 m. up in the air… WOW!
It was 0,24 3 days ago, so that sounds quite right.
Remember that the average thickness I gave is at the outer tongue, I would suspect the lava is thicker closer to the fissure since it is layered up there.
0,24 km3 in just three days? That is a lot of goo…. In a year that would accumulate to 29,2 km3 in a year. Or apx. 2 times Laki. Are you sure?
Pretty much yes, but I am equally sure that this flow will dwindle in a while.
Remember, those fire fountains are now at 40% of Laki’s – without the aid of water!
@DracoPyrite; do we know anything about the openings themselves? If the fissureopening at laki was narrower, then a higher fountain might have been produced given the same pressure (?) Think of two different sized hoses from the same pressuresource. A 2″ hose would give a smaller fountain then a 1/2″ hose given the same pressure. Correct?
So the case might be that the rift/opening is much wider here than it was when Laki erupted. ???
Did they give a figure to the depth of the layer flow exposed at the new graben ?
didn’t look that thick…closer to 10-12 meters.
so the older fissure eruption was less effusive ?
The first fissure that closed down was a mini compared to the big one. Also the two new ones (that also seem to have closed down) are also tiny in comparison.
I presume that’s the mila camera site in the background. can’t see R2D2 though
Wish ti have video on that. Hissssshhhh….
Are there fish in that river down stream ? maybe a salmon run goes up it. Could poisons leach out of the lava and kill aquatic life down stream ?
how does boiled salmon taste?
Absolutely lovely. Not sure I would want it boiled in that sort of liquid though.
Yes, most likely it will kill most of the fish. But the salmon run has been allready so no worries about the salmon.
This happens now and then, but the fish always come back when the poison has been flushed out by the water.
Salmon? Dettifoss is a bit of a barrier to jump !!
The salmon would obviously spawn below dettifoss 🙂
Thank you Peter! (feeling shtoopid right now)
But, if there is poison leached out into the water in sufficient quanitities it would whack the fish below dettifoss also.
And, not to forget that there is quite a chance that the hraun will dam the river sufficiently to drown the fish on dry land so to speak. Will be interesting to see a dry Dettifoss.
Yes, this fascinate me, the rivers will change, new lakes will form, the nature will show us this right now. And this is permanent!
Yes Mizar, this is what I find so interesting in this scenario also, the changing topography of the land. I was wondering if the river could eventually even find another way through to the sea. Then I realise that would be very doubtful as there are so many mountains and valleys which will likely keep it to the same channels.
When this eruption first started I was a little disappointed not to get a ‘real’ volcano. Now I realise this is far more of a treat, far less dangerous and a real delight to the eye. Instead of just getting smoke and steam out the top of a mountain and almost no sign of lava as at Eyjafjatlajokull, we are seeing lava fountains in abundance and a massive outpouring of lava flows to delight us. As beautiful as Hawaii with no danger to people. Just wonderful I feel.
Dettifoss will not dry out since a large part of the river is the tributary Kreppa that joins in opposite of Herdubreidarlindir, also I think it will be a while before you see a complete dam, the river is already finding ways to flow further east of this main channel, Look at the photo how the water is spreding towards the right) if you look at maps you will see a small branch of the river quite aways east of this one -it will take over that channel as soon as this one is shut down I presume, there is hardly any height difference.
Jökulsá á Fjöllum´s flow is also buffered by rainwater and snowmelt percolating through Ódáðahraun, there will be some flow down river for decades even if the upstream were completely blocked. By the time you get to Dettifoss there are a lot of sources for the flow, not just the root tributaries from the glacier.
But these are Icelandic salmon. tough guys, they wouldn’t be stopped by a little bump in the river like Dettifoss would they?
Monster salmon :P.
Sharks with jet skis could probably manage it, though…
Isn’t there a webcam at Detifoss?
Would be pretty cool to watch the flow finish…
It really wouldn’t.
Only in an abstract way and only if one was, shall we say, “insensitive to the plight of others”.
Unmentionable’s crossword puzzle clue: So, view a narrow dirt walkway, with an “Oh!” on the way
Is the answer “42”?
Yes! That’s it! 42! 😉 Wise, wise answer.
Love crossword puzzles and finally worked this one out. 😀 😀
Francis, I share your <3. And I have a tendency to mention the not-so-mentionable. Speaking in crossword puzzle clues might keep me out of trouble occasionally. 🙂
^*Frances. ( Sorry! Did not mean at all to put you through that surgery!)
Haha, Not a lot of surgery needed as my twin brother’s name is Francis so I thought I would use Frances. You were of course addressing him rather than me eh? 😉 Not revealing my true name as it isn’t English (although I am) and appears to most people to be as difficult to pronounce as Icelandic names. 😀 Anyway, more people get those names mixed up than don’t. 🙂
Aha, Francesca & Francisco. 😉
Can’t find a webcam, one at Gulfoss tho, on the Mila page.
Here is google street view 360.
Likely the flow wouldn’t stop altogether anyway as there must be other sources of that water surely?
Hello, take a wine glass and look at this fresh video from scietists at work, 500m from lava front and fountaneiring spot. Some instumentation is shown and lava sampling. Spech in english.
dont think fountain reach more than 60/80 m hight, but i’m glad to be corrected if someone do math/trigonometry with the few elements
That video though was shot on the 4th Sept. Todays lava fountains, particularly the middle crater, seems very much higher to me but that is just watching the cams.
Also this seems much higher because we can see this one clearly even during the daytime and through the smoke. Obviously not too much smoke though! 😉
That was three days ago – narrator says 4th of September, and that they are about 500m away. They are probably bigger now.
One of the smaller lava outlets starts to produce ash on the video, I think he says it was weak and got occluded.
Timing blobs of lava is a quick and easy way to gauge the height.
h = (1/2) * a * t^2
h ~ 5 * t^2
I make roughly 7 seconds, or about 240 meters.
Could you translate part of that into stupid for me? How did you get 10 for acceleration?
it’s g value, 9.8 m/s^2
Q. Daniels: quite smart thinking
Thank you! Being an accountant, I never had physics courses, so I’m frantically googling a lot these days. Q. Daniels’ and your assistance is greatly appreciated.
Glad I could help, and thanks for pointing out the explanation I omitted.
I’ll note that others at VC have previously used the same method. All I did was write it out.
. . . which enabled me to do future estimations myself. Don’t diminish the significance of that. The difference between giving a person a fish and teaching a person to fish. You just taught me to fish. (And your humility is admirable, BTW.) Now, back to The Bard.
At about 1:52 in this video, the videographer zooms in on a lava formation that looks quite like a shark fin with a bite out of it. The formation rises up much higher than the rest of the lava. I think I recall that rhyolite in lava tends to pile up into towers, and the mineral analysis of the lava said it contained some rhyolite, but other sources say there is no rhyolite. Is there rhyolite in the lava?
Taking advantage of a quiet spell in the action, a wannabe from darkest Wiltshire here to thank the Dragons for the only blog in Known Space whose comment section isn’t a knowledge-free zone. And a special thank you, too, to Tom-Helge Andersen for the mirror webcam feed which most of the time is the only one I can get.
At uni many score moons ago I tried to sell my soul to become a ologist rather than a olic but there were no takers. In my department if you could damage it with a hammer it was gardening not geology – oldy but goody. So I’ve lurked silently and seethed with jealousy, and whacked many a passing rock, ever since.
I think we should sue somebody as it is blatant discrimination that Iceland has more than one volcano while we have none. There’s a big blank area in Wiltshire where we could easily put one, a small one anyway; but even an explosive one would be ok as the only town that could be damaged is in dire need of improvements. I’ve approached the county planners about this matter but they don’t seem to return my calls any more. C’est la vie.
Back to ogling the lovely hunk of pumice on my mantelpiece which I picked up somewhere near Askja some aeons ago; it weighs no more than a whisper.
Dragons, commenters, lurkers, please Keep calm and carry on.
😀 Told with a lovely sense of humour!
I will just say this to you as you mentioned me in your post 😀
Hi Devil! I’m also in Wiltshire (so I know what a Devil’s Toe Nail is – it’ll be our secret). Are you on the chalk or cheese? I guess chalk with that name. Welcome! 🙂
My daughter’s a lawyer – unfortunately her speciality is European mortgage law. She could probably help though if you wanted to buy a volcano over 25 years.
Re where to position one, I’m a Derby County fan so naturally I would suggest the perfect place would be on the centre spot – of Nottingham Forest’s ground.
From the great plains of Texas…ummmm…I mean, live from Iceland! Truly it looks like a massive tornado, that doesn’t move 🙂
That’s a great comparison, sCyborg! 😕
yeah i still really can’t to seem to wrap my mind around it. it’s so daunting.
went on to try and find some sort of comparison for seeing the buildings at a distance of 15 to 20 KM since that’s about the distance in between the cam and fissure
Hello Volcano Cafe! I finally stick my nose in the door, after being a habitual lurker since Eyjafjallajokull did her dance in 2010. Thank you for the most excellent coverage and commentary, not to mention the occasional outbursts of volcanoholic humor! I am curious, how does this current eruption now compare with Krafla, as far as volume and coverage, and whatever happened to the camera at Kverkfjoll? It should cover some of the lava flows. Thanks!
There appears to be a possible funnel forming right in front of Barda 1 at the moment.
It’s moving off screen, but still seems to be sucking material in.
Could it be steam from the lava/river clouding the view right now? Seems to come from the north though…
I think there was steam as well, further out. It’s now chucking it down, so that was possibly rain not steam, but I was looking at the cloud towards the top left, almost above the radar.
Was thinking the same, View won’t be excellent on the cams if the “fog”- smoke- clouds stay that way.
Some fun for us newbies, the blue lavas of Indonesian volcano’s
ok, the blue is sulphur, not lava, but very pretty…
Has anyone been able to get onto the Grimsfjall or kverkfjoll webcam since it all started?
I haven’t. Frustrating!
Down for me since it started, but i only check them once a day. I have no problem with mila.
They did work fine for me before the mayhem started. But Grimsfjall froze before the site went offline.
about 30 min ago, there was a wall cloud with a thin, just visable Multi vortex tornado, someone pics?
I posted one above, although I’m not sure it was the same one you’re describing.
yes was about 18:33 3 very thin funnels
Avcan !!?? Seems they are on holiday 😉
guess they got to hot, ski vacation 🙂
Bob meets Bardi 🙂
whats happening on mila camera 2? looks like an eruption up on/near the glacier
Looks to me just like the next vent along to the main one has had a flare up. They appear to be the same level to me.
Really, really hard to see through all that smoke and steam.
I’m surprised you can see the glacier :P.
or is it the setting sun?
can’t be the sun, there is two of them now, orangy glows up near the glacier
I still think this is jusy the fissure eruption, the fog, smoke and steam distort distances. Also no large quakes showing and there would be if something has just erupted in a new spot.
Ah, think it must have been those two flows from the main rift reflecting off cloud for a minute 🙂
You’re looking at two of the vents in the fissure
New post is up :-D: https://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/hekla-the-movie/
Hekla: The Movie by Volcanocafé Productions
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/64/ff/59/64ff590cfba0024a2ecfb13dd244e650.jpg this feel….. 😉
❤ ❤ <3. (With the caveat that if this event starts to cause human suffering, my ❤ will be moved to 😦 and providing disaster relief for anyone affected.)
No, that was Mila1, here’s 2
Deleted on request #DraGra
Mila1 looking a bit brighter
Mila 1. Looks as if the fires from all the vents have joined together, and the lava stream on the ground is glowing
and Mila 2. Have circled a bright spot I haven’t noticed before
Oh, I see Leslie’s shot of Mila 2 at 22:43 had a number of bright dots in foreground, must be lava flow.
Tiger, tiger, burning bright. . . guess everyone but me is off drinking beer. I’m drinking beer too and editing a book on paper so the screen is Mila.
don’t know what was happening on mila 2, looked like northern lights but so close to right side of pic,
sorry forgot to mention, its 6.20 in USA right now, can some one tell me how to post pic and ill show you
what the world is that light??? To the left of R2D2? It doesn’t get light out for another couple hours! ]http://i58.tinypic.com/33mo3gp.jpg
moonlight on the river
Yeah, I kind of got that a bit late….I thought at first it was someone with a flashlight, before I looked a bit harder!
Reblogged this on Willow Andreasson's Journey Into The Mysteries of Life and commented:
Interesting developments detailed in the latest on the Bárdarbunga Volcano, published by the incredible Carl of the Volcano Café. Recommended reading once more. Reblogged with much gratitude.