Current activity of Bardarbunga volcano, Iceland: An intense seismic crisis started at Bárdarbunga volcano on 16 August 2014 and is continuing at the time of writing (23 Aug). It may or may not lead to a volcanic eruption, possibly under the Vatnajökull ice cap.
Follow updates as news come in!
Bardarbunga (Bárðarbunga) is a large central volcano lying underneath Iceland's 500-m thick Vatnajokull glacier in the center of the country. It is located at the junction between the eastern and northern volcanic rift zones in the area where the present-day center of the mantle hot spot beneath Iceland is thought to be.
Bardarbunga has had about 300-400 eruptions during the past 10,000 years which includes only 23 eruptions historic times (approx the past 1000 years), i.e. it seems to erupt currently at rates of approx. twice per century, the last one having occurred in 1910. A massive explosive-effusive eruption (VEI 6) in 1477 resulted in a large ash and pumice fall-out deposit.
Approx 8600 years ago, Bardarbunga produced the largest known lava flow during the past 10,000 years on earth (more than 21 cubic kilometers of volume). The lava was erupted from the Veidivötn fissure system and traveled more than 100 km to the south coast.
Yesterday's magnitude 3.8 quake at Bardarbunga volcano
A magnitude 3.8 earthquake followed by dozens of small aftershocks occurred yesterday at 3 km depth under the volcano's northeastern caldera rim (located under the ice cap). ...more
While it is possible that such earthquakes are caused by shallow magma intrusions, the present quakes at Bardarbunga are more likely result of volcano-tectonic movements, in this case the continuing subsidence of the caldera (a so-called slow caldera collapse) which has been going on since the large 2014-15 Holuhraun flank eruption. This also seems to reflect the opinion of Icelandic Met Office's seismologists according to a local press article.
Location and depth of yesterday's earthquakes under Bardarbunga volcano
Moderate seismic unrest continues at the volcano. A swarm of earthquakes occurred yesterday afternoon under the northern caldera rim of the volcano. ...more
The quakes were located in depths between 1 and 20 km, with the strongest being a magnitude 4 event at 16:15 local time. Such events possibly reflect a magma intrusion from deeper into shallower depth beneath the volcano. [less]
Earthquakes under and near Bardarbunga volcano during the past week
Ever since the large Holuhraun fissure eruption (Aug 2014-Mar 2015), the volcano has remained restless. Over the past months, the volcano's seismic activity has been showing a slow increase. ...more
The quakes have been concentrated at shallow depths under its central caldera, and the northeastern fissure system (in particular, near Herdubreid volcano). So far, the frequent earthquake swarms have been small and rarely contained quakes above magnitude 3; an eruption in a very near future seems unlikely for now. However, they indicate that the volcano's storage system is probably recharging with new shallow magma intrusions; a new eruption of Bardarbunga in a not too distant future (months to years) would certainly not be a big surprise. [less]
Earthquakes under and near Bardarbunga volcano since Jan 2016 (yellow circles = older than 2 days, red = past 48 hours)
Over the past few months, seismic activity at the volcano, mainly under the volcano's large, ice-covered caldera has been increasing again, suggesting that magma might be filling the volcano's reservoir underneath the caldera. ...more
Since the beginning of the year, more than 300 shallow earthquakes of magnitudes up to 3.8 on the Richter scale were recorded, clustered in areas near the southern and northeastern caldera rim. Another cluster of small earthquakes concentrates along the 2014-15 eruptive dyke 20 km to the NE of the volcano.
Dukono volcano photos: Dukono on Halmahera in Indonesia has been in permanent activity for years, often producing ash plumes that drift around the northern part of the island and have become normality.
Top 20 quakes in 2016: Several magnitude 7 quakes occurred in 2016 (but none above M8): Papua New Guinea, NZ, Ecuador, Solomon Islands, Sumatra, Chile, Alaska and others - nearly all major earthquakes were located near active subduction zones.
See the top 20 list of largest quakes in 2016 with this map.
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