Sunday, 31 August 2014

New eruption: 60 m high lava fountains

The effusive eruption in Holuhraun that started early this morning is producing 50 - 60 meter high lava fountains, according to a volcanologist at the site. The active fissure is 1500 - 1800 meter long, considerably larger than the fissure that opened Friday morning.

Bardarbunga caldera

According to Armann Hoskuldsson, volcanologist at the University of Iceland´s Institute of Earth Sciences, who is at the site, the lava flow from the fissure is about 10-20 times more than Friday morning. The eruption is estimated to be 10 to 20 times bigger than the one Friday morning, and looks "robust" says Dr. Hoskuldsson. He says the highest lava fountains can be seen at the southern end of the fissure, but at the northern end, they are less powerful. The southern end of the fissure is about 4 kilometres north of the Dyngjujokull outlet glacier.

The Civil Protection Agency has maintained its level of preparedness at "danger", and previous road closures and area restrictions are in effect.

Bardarbunga caldera

This effusive fissure eruption is the third one in the area since last weekend. On Aug. 23, a small subglacial eruption occurred near the Bardarbunga caldera in Vatnajokull. The eruption was shortlived, and did not break through the glacier, but did create calderas that were spotted a few days later. Early last friday, a small fissure opened in the Holuhraun lava field, north of the Dyngjujokull outlet glacer. That eruption lasted for 3 - 4 hours.

Seismic activity has been detected in the Bardarbunga region this morning, but less intense than in recent days. Today, the weather conditions are very unfavorable north of Vatnajokull, with high wind and rain forecast for today. Here is a webcam near the eruption site, but due to fog and rain, visibility is sometimes very limited.

Bardarbunga caldera

Eldgos hófst í Holuhrauni, norðan Vatnajökuls, rétt fyrir klukkan sex í morgun. Þetta er þriðja gosið á Bárðarbungusvæðinu á rúmri viku. Gosið er hraungos, á sömu sprungu og opnaðist aðfaranótt föstudags, en gosið nú er 10-20 sinnum stærra, að sögn Ármanns Höskuldssonar eldfjallafræðings, sem skoðaði gosstöðvarnar í návígi í morgun. Hann segir að hæstu hraunstrókarnir séu allt að 50-60 metra háir, syðst á sprungunni, en mun lægri norðar. Suðurendi sprungunnar er á sama stað og aðfaranótt föstudags, um fjóra kílómetra frá sporði Dyngjujökuls.

Source: website

Friday, 29 August 2014

Holuhraun eruption lasted 3-4 hours

The fissure eruption in Holuhraun lava, north of Vatnajökull glacier, which started at midnight, is already over. The eruption lasted for about three or four hours, according to Páll Einarsson, professor geophysics at the University of Iceland.

"It was a small eruption and a small sample of the magma that is moving underground reached the surface," says Páll, describing the events of the night as an abberation in the larger course of events of the last two weeks.

Páll agrees with a fellow professor of geophysics, Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, who earlier today described the eruption as an "accident". "The magma intrusion strayed unnecessarily close to the surface and some magma came out," Páll says.

The Icelandic Met Office has downgraded the aviation alert over the volcanic eruption area from red to orange. There is not considered to be a risk of volcanic ash reaching the atmosphere.

The Icelandic Transport Authority has also reduced the restricted flight area around the volcanic activity from 10 nautical miles (NM) to 3 NM and 5,000-foot altitude. The warning area restricting instrument flight rules flight remains unchanged.

The eruption fissure is about 5 kilometers from the Vatnajökull glacier. The fissure appears to be about 1 kilometer long. The lava is thin and flowing quickly southeast towards the glacier.

Source: ruv .is

An small eruption in Holuhraun

A fissure eruption started around midnight in the Holuhraun lavafield, ca. 9 kilometers north of Dyngjujokull glacier. Lava streams out of a 100 meter long fissure, in the northern part of the lava field, about 15 kilometers south of the Askja caldera. IMO has issued a ONLY orange alert for aviation (there is no danger, it is a small eruption).


The eruption seems to have started near the northern end of the magma intrusion that has been propagating northward from the Bardarbunga caldera since August 16.

Small surface crevasses were seen in the Holuhraun lava field yesterday, leading to increased interest among scientists. The possibility of an eruption migrating southwards, towards the Dyngjujokull glacier cannot be excluded at this time.

Benedikt Ofeigsson, staff member at the Icelandic Met Office is at the scene. In an interview with RUV tonight, he described the eruption as small; lava is flowing to the southeast and some small tephra mantles are coming out of the fissure.


The IMO has issued a red alert (highest) for aviation. That means that airtraffic is restricted in a large area around the eruption. The fissure lies on a northeast - southwest direction.

A live webcam of the eruption can be found at Road and area restrictions that have been enforced over the last days are still in effect in the area north of the Vatnajokull glacier.

The situation is not serious and is a small eruption. There is a tour company that is already offering a tour to go see the volcano.

Jóhanna & Kolla
Iceland24, August 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Seismic activity near the Askja caldera

A 4,5 Magnitude earthquake occurred just east of the Askja caldera at 01.52 GMT this morning and strong seismic activity has been detected south of Askja in recent hours. The dike intrusion is believed to have reached a lenght of more than 40 kilometers to the north, towards Askja.

Askja caldera

Models of the intrusion, based on GPS measurements of land deformation and earthquake resolutions, indicate that about 20 million m³ of magma have entered the intrusion over the last 24 hours; 3-400 million m³ since the beginning of the episode, on Aug. 16. The intrusion also seems to have caused considerable stress in the bedrock over a large area, including the vicinity of Askja. According to scientists at the Icelandic Met Office, that could explain the 4,5 event near Askja this morning. Most of the seismic activity has however been concentrated near the intrusion, north of Dyngjujokull outlet glacier.

„The 4,5 Magnitude earthquake near Askja was duly noted,“ says Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland. „Our interpretation of that event is that this is a reaction in the rock strata to the intrusion coming from the south. It causes tension, but the earthquake does not signify an impending eruption in Askja.

Askja caldera

This is a very interesting sequence of events; big news really in a geological context, even though an eruption has´nt happened yet, and hopefully will not happen. We are looking at the active rift between the plate boundaries in the middle of the country, where much of the volcanic activity has taken place. This particular area has been relatively quiet in recent decades; an intense episode like this has probably not happened for the last hundred years, perhaps not even two hundred years.

How much has the land spread? 

„It´s difficult to say precisely. The intrusion is perhaps 2 - 3 meters wide, but that does not mean that the distance between Egilsstadir and Reykjavik has increased by that; rather the island is being pulled apart, and the landmass on either side is pushed together. But locally, down in the crust, the rock has been cleaved.“

Source: ruv website

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bárðarbunga: The situation is considered stable

The seismic activity in Bárðarbunga is still strong. Last night at 01:26 there was an earthquake of M5,7 which make it the biggest one since the events started on Saturday 16. of August.

Just before noon today there was an earthquake (M4,6) under the edge of Dyngjujökull. The earthquake was felt as far away as Akureyri. The Civil Protection department is following the events closely, but the situation is considered stable.

Bárðarbunga eruption

Ak­ur­eyri wobbles in eart­hqua­ke

An eart­hqua­ke of the magnitu­de 4.6 was mea­sured und­er the edge of Dyngju­jök­ull at 11:56 am today at 8 km depth. The eart­hqua­ke was felt by some resi­dents as far as the town of Ak­ur­eyri, and it is the lar­gest since one of the magnitu­de 5.7 was mea­sured in the nort­hern/​nort­hwestern part of Bárðarbunga at 01:26 last night.

The Advisory bo­ard held a meet­ing this morn­ing to discuss the Bárðarbunga situati­on. Follow­ing the meet­ing the same three scen­ari­os as predicted yester­day are still consi­d­ered most likely.

The follow­ing po­ints were the conclusi­on of the bo­ards meet­ing.In­ten­se seismicity cont­inu­es with over 500 events recor­ded since midnight.

Seismicity cont­inu­es to migra­te nort­hw­ard and is now concentra­ted on the 10 km long tip of the dike ext­end­ing 5 km beyond the edge of the Dyngju­jök­ull glacier.The dyke bene­ath Dyngju­jök­ull is now thoug­ht to be close to 40 km long. Modell­ingof GPS data indica­tes that about 50 milli­on cu­bic meters of magma have added to the volume in the last 24 hours.

Fur­t­hermore th­ere are no indicati­ons that the in­tensity of the acti­vity decl­in­ing.

Jóhanna, Iceland24
August 2014

Monday, 25 August 2014

Breaking news: Road 864 to Dettifoss has been opened

Road 864 to Dettifoss has been opened again and Ásbyrgi as well. Road 862 to Dettifoss remains closed. The Road and Costal Administration has issued an new map showing the closures as they stand now.

Good news!

road 864

Earthquake activity near the subglacial volcano Bardarbunga is still intense, though it has decreased since Sunday. Over 700 earthquakes were detected from midnight to noon Monday. Several earthquakes were above 3.0 magnitude.

Jóhanna, Iceland24
August 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bardarbunga: Aviation alert downgraded

The Icelandic Met Office has downgraded the aviation alert for Bardarbunga, from red to orange, meaning that eruption is not imminent. Subglacial eruption is not thought to have occurred yesterday. Seismic activity is still strong and the dyke intrusion in Dyngjujokull has propagated to the north.

Icelandic Met Office (IMO) said this around 12.00 GMT, after a meeting with scientists and the Civil Protection Agency. The aviation alert was raised yesterday to red, but has now been downgraded to orange. Observations show that a sub-glacial eruption did not take place yesterday as previously thought and the low-frequency seismic signal observed has other explanations.

The dyke intrusion under Dyngjujokull, north and east of the Bardarbunga caldera has however been propagating to the north, and is now believed to be about 30 kilometers long. A 4.2 earthquake was detected there this morning, along with numerous other quakes. Since midnight, more then 700 quakes have been detected in the area. IMO says no indication that the seismic activity is slowing down; therefore an eruption can not be excluded.

Two strong earthquakes occurred in the Bardarbunga caldera last night and this morning (Magnitude 5,3 and 4.6). These quakes are associated with pressure changes in the magma chamber beneath the caldera as magma flows out to the intrusion.

The Civil Protection Agency (CPA) declared an emergency phase yesterday and extended the restricted area north of Vatnajokull. CPA will reassess the situation later today.


Expert: Likely no eruption yet

The IMO has changed the aviation color code from red back to orange. No visible sign of eruption but seismic activity still ongoing.

Geoscientists in Iceland seem to be of differing opinion regarding the small eruption that is believed to have taken place today. The Iceland Met Office said today that an eruption had likely taken place, but a professor of geophysics at University of Iceland sees no signs of an eruption.

A group of scientists surveyed the glacier today from the air, aboard a surveillance plane from the Icelandic Coastguard. After the flight, Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, professor of geophysics at University of Iceland, was interviewed at RUV.

„The most likely scenario is that an eruption has not begun. This morning we saw a large increase in seismic activity and tremors, so it was perfectly rational to assume that an eruption had begun. A subglacial eruption melts the ice and causes floods. We surveyed the glacier for three hours today. I can of course not assert that nothing has happened, but it is clear that there are no signs of abnormal melting or other signs that normally appear during a subglacial eruption. It is therefore likely that the magma has not reached the surface yet - regardless of what will happen later in this process, because this is a fairly large event and those who delay to give timely warnings can carry a large responsibility.

Therefore, it was considered proper to be careful today but when more information comes in, the most likely conclusion is that an eruption has not begun, whatever happens later in this event,“ said Magnus this evening on RUV television newscast.

„The most current information I have is that the latest GPS deformation measurement shows that the dyke intrusion is getting wider and getting longer. That means that magma is still moving. Whether that results in an eruption or not, only time can tell. If we look at the Krafla eruptions, which are the most similar eruptions, we had a lot of dyke intrusions there at the beginning, but much smaller volcanic activity. We don´t know if this activity will show a similar pattern, but we have to be prepared. This run-up is positive in a way, because we have had time to prepare. There are no tourists in the area, so it´s positive that the process has not been more rapid. And of course, we all hope that this will end without an eruption and the ensuing damage.

“The dyke intrusion has been forming over the last few days. It is now believed to be around 25 km. long, and about 0,2 - 0,3 cubic kilometers of magma is thought to have entered the intrusion from a magma chamber beneath the Bardarbunga caldera. The intrusion has been propagating towards the north: it´s lenght seems to have increased by several kilometers just today.

At this stage measurements taken are based on a small event. The Jökulsárgljúfur canyon has been closed and evacuation of tourists in that area and around Dettifoss waterfall has started. The situation at this stage does not call for evacuation of habitants in Kelduhverfi, Öxarfjördur and Núpasveit. People in those areas are encouraged to watch news closely and have their mobiles switched on at all times.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Small eruption believed to have started

The Icelandic Met Office says a small subglacial eruption started today beneath the Dyngjujokull outlet glacier, near the Bardarbunga caldera. Scientists aboard a surveillance airplane above the glacier see no signs of an eruption yet. All flight traffic has however been banned near the volcano.

Kristin Jonsdottir, geophysicist at the Icelandic Met Office says that this morning, increased seismic activity and increased tremor was observed around the Bardarbunga caldera, especially in a 25 km. long dyke intrusion north and east of the caldera, near the edge of the Dyngjujokull outlet glacier. 

Iceland Volcano

Shortly after 2 PM GMT, the Met Office declared an aviation alert for a large area around Bardarbunga and said a small eruption was believed to have started under the glacier. No signs of glacial flood has been observed and scientists in a surveillance airplane above the glacier see no sign on the surface of the glacier. Even so, the measurements indicated a small eruption under the glacier and it is now believed that it was small enough, not to cause significant melting of glacial ice. A larger eruption can not be ruled out, according to the Met Office. 

The dyke intrusion has been forming over the last few days. It is now believed to be around 25 km. long, and about 0,2 - 0,3 cubic kilometers of magma is thought to have entered the intrusion from a magma chamber beneath the Bardarbunga caldera. 

At this stage measurements taken are based on a small event. The Jökulsárgljúfur canyon has been closed and evacuation of tourists in that area and around Dettifoss waterfall has started. The situation at this stage does not call for evacuation of habitants in Kelduhverfi, Öxarfjördur and Núpasveit. People in those areas are encouraged to watch news closely and have their mobiles switched on at all times.

August 2014

Small eruption near Bardarbunga

A small volcanic eruption has started near Bardarbunga volcano, according to the Icelandic Met Office. All air traffic is now prohibited in a large radius around the volcano. The met office has upgraded its alert level to red. A 25 km (16 mi) long dike has formed benath the surface.

The main road no. 1 has not been closed, due to the volcanic eruption in Dyngjujökull, North Vatnajökull.

All Icelandic airports are open even though an airspace, 140 x 100 nautical miles, is closed over the sub-glacial eruption site in Vatnajökull.

Jóhanna, Iceland
August 2014

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Surfing in Iceland? Icelandic surf guide

While surfers have been wandering the globe in search of perfect waves for a solid 50 years now, until recently, in order for a place to be considered a surfing mecca it had to meet the idyllic tropical threshold: swaying palms, warm water, powder-white beaches. It’s no wonder places like Tahiti, Fiji, and Indonesia have well-beaten paths. But true adventurers are always on the frontier, which, in surfing circles, is getting pushed farther and farther away from the equator.

Surfing in Iceland

This movement has been fueled largely by incredible advances in wetsuit technology. Softer, lighter, more flexible rubbers that have been developed in Japan have been incorporated by every major wetsuit manufacturer, and subsequent advances in fit and ergonomics have dramatically improved comfort for surfers in cold locales. Today, a place like Iceland, which was once considered impossible to surf, is suddenly on the surf-adventurers map.

Surfing in Iceland

California’s Chris Burkard is one surfer who never let the cold stop him. “I grew up on the Central Coast of California, which has chilly water year-round, so that part never intimidated me,” he said. As a staff photographer for Surfer magazine, he doesn’t mind volunteering for assignments in the northern reaches. “Surfers are always wondering where the next perfect wave is going to be found, and there are still a lot of warm-water discoveries to be made, but the bottom line is there’s way more unexplored coastline up where things get cold and rugged, and that’s what lured me to Iceland,” he said.

Surfing in Iceland

While he’s only made a few trips to the Nordic island, what Burkard has found will keep him going back for years to come. “I’m a lover of the outdoors, and this is wilderness surfing at its finest,” he said. Here are some of his images from his most recent visit.

Surfing in Iceland

“There are very few places in the world where you can find ice on the shores of a beach with perfect surf. Walking around huge glacial ice chunks on the way to the water there was no question this was going to be the coldest session of our most recent trip to Jökulsárlón,” Burkard said.

Surfing in Iceland

“In summer the water can be a toasty 47 degrees. But in the fall, when the swells get bigger, water temps drop into the high 30s.”

Surfing in Iceland

Sam Hammer has been surfing through New Jersey’s harsh winters for nearly 20 years, so he’s used to pretty chilly water. But you won’t find a scenic lineup like this anywhere near the Jersey Shore.

Surfing in Iceland

“We spent days wandering in places where you don’t even see signs of civilization,” explains Burkard. “I brought a Goal Zero solar pack just to keep my camera charged, and it quickly became the most prized possession within my crew, because everyone had gadgets that needed charging. Little things like that can become your lifeline.”

Surfing in Iceland

Driving is both heaven and hell in Iceland, but the scenery is always changing. One minute you’re on a black sand beach, the next a giant white glacier, and and hour later a sea of green.

Surfing in Iceland

Shooting photos from the water in Hofn was surreal. “It was hard to imagine we were scoring waves at the foot of some of the most dramatic mountains I’ve ever seen,” said Burkhard. With the air temperature dropping below the water temp on this day, “The water felt surprisingly nice,” he added.

Surfing in Iceland

A decade ago wetsuits were so stiff and heavy guys like Alek Parker wouldn’t have stood a chance of being able to perform like this. Today’s suits have improved dramatically, allowing for a lot more fun, and opening the door for a lot more exploration.

Surfing in Iceland

The best part of wilderness surfing like this is you get your pick of camp sites. Burkard and his crew always go for the ones with a view.

Surfing in Iceland

Advances in technology are pushing surfing's frontier farther and farther away from the equator

Surfing in Iceland

When to go?

Low pressure systems spawned in Baffin Bay, wind up south of Greenland, before sending groundswells slamming into the Reykjanes peninsula, the first stop on the transatlantic swell highway. These swells can be giant and very powerful, building suddenly and they are often accompanied by raw winds and stormy conditions.

Surfing in Iceland

Winter is the most consistent swell season with excellent waves regularly hitting all sides of the Reykjanes. The problem in mid-winter is getting the right conditions to conspire in the very short span of daylight. Strong winds, chilling temperatures, snow storms and large tidal fluctuations are just some of the variables. September to November can be good months, with manageable air and water temperatures, and frequent low pressures.

Surfing in Iceland

May-August sees plenty of summer flat spells in the southwest and could be a good time to explore the east and the north coasts for arctic wind swells. Tides exceed 5m (15ft) and there are only a few spots that can handle all tide heights. Even the main beachbreak at Sandvik struggles to break at high tide.

Source: / Christopher Mauro
Iceland24, August 2014