Volcanic activity worldwide 23 Aug 2014: Bárdarbunga volcano
Saturday Aug 23, 2014 21:00 PM |
Location of today's earthquakes showing the propagation of the intrusion to the north
Location of earthquakes since the start of the crisis (red: today) (image: IMO)
Harmonic tremor at Dyngjuháls station (IMO)V
Bárdarbunga (Iceland): Even if Bárðarbunga's eruption continues and breaks the ice, allowing explosions between magma and water/ice to eject significant amounts of ash, most experts agree that a scenario like the Eyjafjallajökull back in 2010 is unlikely to repeat itself.
Back then, most of Europe's airspace was closed for 6 days, which caused 100,000 flight cancellations and left thousands of travelers stranded all over the world.
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So far, the eruption is thought to be small, and remains under the ice. However, it could rapidly become a bigger event.
Intense internet traffic seems to overload the servers of the few available webcams.
After a phase of weakened activity, the intrusion gained strength this morning. According to data from IMO, the dyke progressed approx 5 km in just 6 hours, i.e. at an average speed of 0.23 meters / second.
Even higher progression rates have been recorded during past eruptions, most notably the rift eruption at Krafla to the north in 1975-1984, when top speeds of magma intrusion progression reached approx 1 meter per second.
The change in direction of the propagating magma intrusion (dyke) is very well illustrated by the following graphic from Culture Volcan showing the locations of today's earthquakes:
The eruption has started today under the Vatnajökull glacier, the Icelandic Met Office wrote in a brief update. An reconnaissance flight by the Icelandic Coast Guard detected an ongoing lava eruption under the Dyngjujökull glacier using radar data.
So far, the eruption seems to be small and has not breached the glacier's 150-400 m thick ice. No signs were seen at its surface during the flight.
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As of now, there is no confirmation that an eruption started, but the situation at Bardarbunga is evolving quickly. In addition to suspiciously high tremor levels, the location of the most recent quakes tells its story:
The magma intrusion northeast of the central volcano developed a N-S trending path today, marked by earthquakes between 20 and 2.5 km depth.
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Seismic stations near the volcano show a marked increase in tremor since about an hour ago. This could indicate that an eruption has started or is about to start, but this needs to be confirmed. The first visual signs of an eruption (assuming it starts under the ice cap) should be meltwater floods.
An eruption could occur any time now, and perhaps even has started already. We will post updates and news as they come in on this special page.
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