September 19, 2014

Eruption continues - little changes

  • Little changes in the eruption in Holuhraun
  • Due to unfavorable winds there is a possibility of some sulfur dioxide pollution from the volcanic eruption area
  • Pollution can accumulate in depressions in the landscape and reach higher concentrations
Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga continues but activity is less than in the first couple of weeks of the volcanic eruption. Over a period of one month there have been about 20 thousand small earthquakes in the area. Some earthquakes have been detected on the caldera rim of Bárðarbunga although none of them has exceeded the magnitude of the largest one from 14:21 which was rated at 5.1. 
There is no significant change in the flow of lava and it is still too soon to say if the volcanic eruption is beginning to fade out. Currently the lava is starting to spread to the sides and there is less visible activity in the craters.
September 16, 2014

Eruption Update

  • The eruption in Holuhraun continues
  • The subsidence in Bárðarbunga continues
  • Increased volcanic gas in inhabited areas
  • SMS warning messages sent to highly polluted areas

We are now one month into the events that lead to the eruption in Holuhraun. The eruption continues with similar intensity. There is a continued subsidence in the center of the Bárðarbunga caldera. GPS monitoring shows insignificant crustal movements north of Vatnajökull.

High air pollution was detected yesterday in Mývatnssveit in North Iceland. The highest peak was measured 1250 micrograms per cubic meter. The area likely affected by air pollution from the eruptoin is now marked by Bárðardalur to the west to Hólasandur/Merlakkaslétta platou in the east. This evening the affected area more to the east from Mývatn-area in the west to Vopnafjordur bay in the east. Tomorrow lighter westerly winds are expected and likely effected area will be from Vopnafjörður bay, and south towards Djúpivogur.
Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. Scientists had to leave the area because of bad conditions at the site yesterday. At the eruption site, local wind anomalies can occur due to thermal convection from the hot lava. This makes the conditions on site extremely dangerous as winds can change suddenly and unpredictably.
The Environmental Agency of Iceland and The Chief Epidemiologist advise people to stay indoors, close windows and turn off the air conditioning if they experience symptoms from the volcanic gas. More information can be found on the EAI website
  • People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close their windows, turn up the heat and turn off air conditioning. Use periods of good air quality to ventilate the house.
  • Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage TheMeteorological Office issues forecast on its web-page and warnings if conditions change to the worse.
  • The Icelandic Met Office will read forecasts for sulphuric gases along with weather news on the national radio and TV.
  • The Environment Agency is working on getting more measuring equipment to better monitor the gases coming from the volcanic eruption.
September 12, 2014

Info Sheet

Info sheet and FAQ regarding the Eruption in Holuhraun. 


September 11, 2014

Eruption - Day 12

  • Eruption continues 
  • Increased measurements of gas
The eruptive activity at Holuhraun continues at similar intensity. Lava flows at similar rates as yesterday. The lava is flowing towards East but widens slightly towards North. The main flow follows the river bed of Jökulsá á Fjöllum. No explosive activity due to the lava and river water interaction has been observed, but steam rises from the lava. Earthquake activity in the caldera of Bárðarbunga remains similar to that of the last days. GPS observations show insignificant crustal movements supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke continues to be similar to the magma erupted to the surface.
Forecasts indicate that high concentrations of sulphuric gases may be expected in the northern part of the Eastern fjords, Fljótsdalur, Hérað, Jökuldalur, and Vopnafjörður. High concentrations could occur in other areas as well. People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close the windows and turn off air conditioning. Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage The Meteorological Office issues warnings if conditions change to the worse. Instructions from the office of the Chief Epidemiologist and The Environmental Agency can be found on their web-sites.
September 9, 2014

Eruption - Day 10

  • Little changes in the eruption between days 
  • No ash-fall detected

There are little changes between days in the eruption in Holuhraun. The eruption continues at similar intensity. Lava flows to the East at similar rates as yesterday. The lava is now flowing in the river bed of Jökulsá á Fjöllum. There is no explosive activity due to the interaction between the lava and the river water, but steam rises from the lava.GPS observations show insignificant crustal movements supporting the assumption that the amount of magma flowing into the dyke continues to be similar to the magma erupted to the surface.

Gas emissions at the eruption site remain high. Local gas concentrations at the site can be life threatening and people close to the eruption site should wear gas masks and gas meters. Scientists on the site, have had to leave the area repeatedly as concentrations of gas reached dangerous levels, due to sudden changes in wind conditions.
Concentration of SO2 in urban areas in East of Iceland may affect air quality. Levels comparable to those measured last Saturday in Reyðarfjörður can affect people with underlying respiratory problems although others should not experience any significant discomfort. No chemical pollution, related to the eruption, was detected and none is expected today.
Instructions from the office of the Chief Epidemiologist and The Environmental Agency can be found on their web-sites. 
September 8, 2014

Eruption Continues - Day Nine

  • Ongoing lava eruption in Holuhraun,
  • New smaller fissure.
  • Continued seismic activity
The eruption in Holuhraun continues, with no signs of abating. The lava continues to flow to the east north east and has grown in area since yesterday. This morning RÚV public broadcaster reported that new eruptive fissures had opened to the south of the on-going eruption. A 8:30 surveillance flight with scientists from the Met office and University of Iceland confirmed this; two fires south of the previous eruption site in Holuhraun, in a graben which that had formed above the intrusion, about 2 km away from Dyngjujökull Glacier. The eruptive fire fountains from the new fissures are substantially smaller than in the older fissure. The cauldron in Dyngjujökull seems to have grown deeper since the last observation. No changes are visible in Bárðarbunga. Considerable activity is in the northern fissure (fissure 1) and the height of the steam cloud is about 15,000 feet. 
Sulphur dioxide emission continues. The area has been been opened for scientists and media, it is essential that anyone, who is near the eruption site is equipped with gas sensors and gas masks. The Administration of Occupational Safety and Health stresses that it is crucial for all institution and companies working in the area to conduct a risk assessment and response plans according to regulation (nr. 920/2006)
The road to Dettifoss on the West side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum (No 862) has been opened for traffic from the ringroad 1 to the Dettifoss waterfall. Other roads on the west side are still closed, including hiking trails. All roads leading to the volcanic site are closed, based on the risk of a flood if an eruption will start under the glacier. Information on closures can be found on the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration web page.
The Full Report from The Iceland Civil Protection since this weekend. 
September 3, 2014

Eruption Update - Day Five

  • Little changes in the eruption between days 
  • No ash-fall detected
There is little descernable change in the volcanic eruption in in Holuhraun, North of Vatnajökull Glacier. Yesterday, scientists working in the area were asked to move out after the discovery of a depression, or a rift valley North of the glacier. The rift is likely the result of the expansion of the surrounding area. 
There is still no fallout of ash from the eruption. There is still a possibility of the fissure extending South towards the glacier, which could result in rapid flooding. Certain areas are still closed to safeguard against that possibility, but closings in other areas have been lifted as we have documented in earlier posts. 
September 3, 2014

Eruption Update - Day 4

  • Eruption continues steadily
  • No ash-fall detected
  • Considerable volume of SO2 gas detected
The lava eruption on Holuhraun continues. A white plume of steam and gas rises from the eruption on Holuhraun, reaching an elevation of about 4.5 km above sea level. Downwind, a volcanic cloud extends from the eruption site. Yesterday afternoon, a white cloud from the eruption extended 60 km to the north-north-east.
A noticeable decrease in seismicity has occurred during the last 24 hours. The level of activity is approximately half of that during recent days. The eruption has not created any ash-fall, however, considerable volume of SO2 has been measured in the eruption cloud. People could be exposed to highly dangerous gas levels close to the eruption. It is essential that those working near the eruption site are equipped with gas sensors and gas masks.
The road to Dettifoss on the West side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum (No 862) has been opened for traffic from the Ringroad to the Dettifoss waterfall. Other roads on the west side are still closed, including hiking trails. The decision is based on the Civil Protection risk reduction measures, increased surveillance of the Vatnajökull National Park rangers, increased scientific monitoring as well as additional law enforcement. The decision does not in any way indicate less flood risk, only increased mitigation and surveillance.

September 2, 2014

Eruption Heads Into Day Three

The volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, North of Vatnajökull Glacier continues at a steady pace. The eruption started three days ago, but has not changed much in volume or velocity since the fissure opened. 
There is no threat to people or properties caused by the eruption, which is located in an unpopulated area in the highlands. 
In the meantime, road 862 leading to Ásbyrgi has been opened, but it was previously closed due to safety reasons. At this time there is little to suggest flooding in the area. 

September 1, 2014

Volcanic Eruption Continues

The volcanic eruption that started yesterday continues at a steady pace, but shows signs of decreased activity according to scientists. Weather in the area has been extremely difficult, which makes scientific work in the area more difficult. 

There is little to indicate major changes to the eruption at this time, although it is showing signs of decreased activity. There is no danger to populated areas, and no disruption to daily life in Iceland. All airports remain open and airline traffic is according to schedule. 


August 31, 2014

Volcanic Eruption North of Vatnajokull Glacier

  • Lava eruption North of Vatnajokull Glacier
  • No danger to people or properties
  • All airports are open and no disturbances to flights are expected

flight restrictionEarly this morning a small eruption started North of Vatnajökull Glacier. The eruption is in the same area as the previous eruption that started two days ago, and lasted only four hours. The eruption is in a remote, uninhabited area, and does not create danger to people or properties.

There is a small flight restriction zone surrounding the eruption, but it will not affect normal air traffic at this time. All airports are open and airline traffic is not affected by the eruption. There have been flight delays today, but that is due to bad weather, not the eruption. The weather in the area is very bad and as a result, data gathering is taking time. 

There are restrictions on roads west of Jökulsárgljúfur canyon up to Dettifoss waterfall (roads on the east side are open), as well as closures in the highlands North of Vatnajökull glacier. This is a safety measure and goes for both driving and hiking.



August 29, 2014

Eruption Over - All Flight Restrictions Lifted

Key points: 

  • Eruption ended at 4 Am
  • All flight restrictions lifted
The volcanic eruption that started North of Vatnajokull early this morning has been declared over. The eruption only lasted for about four hours. No damage was caused by the eruption or in its aftermath. 
A volcanic eruption originating North of Vatnajökull Glacier was confirmed this morning at two minutes past midnight. A fissure, close to 1 km in length, opened up, emitting lava at a slow pace. Active flow of lava is believed to have stopped around 4 AM this morning. Very little lava was emitted from the eruption, and no discernable distribution of airborne ash was detected. 
The Icelandic Meteorological Office has changed the volcanic activity alert status for aviation in Iceland from red to orange. The small eruption is not a threat to aviation and the published aviation warning area has been cancelled. A 3 nautical mile radius and 5,000 foot altitude immediate safety restricted flight area around the volcanic activity set by the Icelandic Transport Authority remains is effect.
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has also decided to downgrade the emergency phase  back to alert phase. This decision is based on scientific evaluation of the situation. 
Authorities will continue to monitor the situation closely. There is still significant seismic activity in the area and travelers are encouraged to follow and for continued updates. 

August 29, 2014

Small Eruption North of Vatnajokull Glacier

Key points: 

  • No immediate threat to people or populated areas
  • Airspace and all airports, international and domestic, are open.
  • No volcanic ash has been detected with radar systems
  • There are no signs of flooding

Volcanic Activity

An eruption has started North of Vatnajökull Glacier. No volcanic ash has been detected with the radar system at the moment. The wind conditions in the area are wind blowing toward NW at 12 m/s at 5 km altitude. Seismic eruption tremor is low indicating effusive eruption without significant explosive activity.

At this time there are no signs of immediate danger or flooding in the area, and nothing to indicate that this will affect flight traffic.

The aviation warning area has been reduced to 5.000 foot altitude. All Icelandic airports in Iceland are open. The Icelandic Transport Authority has issued a restricted area three nautical miles around the volcano and up to 5000 ft. over the ground.  

Precautionary measures

Because of this The Police authorities have decided to close and evacuate the area North of Vatnajökull.This decision is a safety measure. The eruption is in an uninhabited area, but there are hiking trails in the area. No civilians are considered to be in any danger at this time.

The aviation color-code is now orange - the third level on a four-level scale. The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, has decided to raise the Civil Protection phase to emergency phase, due to the eruption. This is in accordance to procedure. 

All roads leading into the area are closed as they have been since the seismic activity began in Bardarbunga on the 19th of August. Anyone travelling in the area or planning travels in/close to the area is referred to

Follow updates on for further developments. 

Related material:


August 29, 2014

Eruption Confirmed in Bardarbunga

The Icelandic Met Office has confirmed that an eruption started in Bardarbunga two minutes past midnight on Agust 29. The eruption is not sub-glacial and appears to be a lava flow eruption, rather than an explosive eruption. Mote details to follow as they become available. 

Web cam


August 24, 2014

No Eruption at This Time

  • After reviewing data - scientists believe no eruption took place
  • Aviation color-code has been lowered from red to orange
  • Flight restrictions have been lifted

Following the announcement yesterday that an eruption was underway, scientist have since reviewed their data, and now believe that no eruption took place. The intense low-frequency seismic signal observed yesterday has therefore other explanations. 

The Icelandic Met Office has decided to lower the aviation color-code from red to orange, indicating that the volcano is showing signs of unrest, but there is no eruption. All flight restrictions have been lifted. 

Earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga remains strong. 700 earthquakes have been observed since midnight and they are somewhat larger than previous days. Two large earthquakes, over 5 on the Richter scale where measured the Bárðarbunga caldera this night. There are no indications that the activity is slowing down. It is impossible to exclude that this will result in an eruption. 


Agust, 23, 2014

Small Sub-glacial Volcanic Eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano

  • Small eruption has started in Bardarbunga
  • Air space surrounding the volcano is closed
  • The eruption is considered a minor point at this point. 
  • Nothing Indicates floods. 
  • 150-400 metres layer of ice on top of the eruption

Scientists at the Icelandic Met Office believe that a small sub-glacial volcanic eruption has now started under the icecap of Dyngjujökull glacier in the Northern part of Vatnajökull glacier. Because of this the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the alert phase to emergency phase. At the same time the Met Office has raised the aviation color code from orange to red resulting in the air space above the eruption site being closed.

The eruption is considered a minor event at this point. Because of a pressure from the glacier cap it is uncertain whether the eruption will stay sub-glacial or not. The Coast Guards aircraft, TF-Sif, is currently monitoring the area and there are no visible signs of a plume at this moment. Nothing indicates floods because of the eruption.

At this stage measurements taken is 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 20, 2014

Area closed North of Vatnajökull

For safety reasons, police authorities in Iceland have decided to close all roads into the area North of Vatnajökull Glacier.

This decision is made for safety reasons. Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office have measured growing seismic activity in the volcano Bárðarbunga in Vatnajökull Glacier since August 16. This activity is an indication of ongoing magma movement, which could possibly lead to a volcanic eruption. However, experience shows that seismic activity can be ongoing for a very long time without an eruption going off. At this time, there are no changes in measurement to indicate further danger of an eruption compared to previous days.
This is first and foremost a precautionary action. The closed area is in the interior highlands of Iceland. It is unpopulated and in difficult terrain. Evacuation of the area on short notice in case of a flood caused by a sub-glacial eruption would be very difficult.
In accordance with procedure, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the Civil Protection level to Alert Phase. All mountain roads leading into the area are closed. The area in question is South of Higway one and North of Vatnajökull. The area is uninhabited, but popular with hikers. Police authorities in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður have evacuated the area. No populated areas are considered to be at risk.
At present there is nothing to indicate possible disturbances to flight schedules as a result of this development, but as a precaution, the Bárðarbunga aviation colour code has been changed to orange, indicating that the “volcano is exhibiting heightened unrest with increased likelihood of eruption.“ No further action has been taken.
The situation is being monitored closely and relevant authorities are on high alert. Any changes to the situation will be reported promptly. Daily updates will be posted for those who want to follow the development. 


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