Activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

Seismic activity in Bardarbunga volcano has increased. A seismic swarm has been ongoing since 3 AM this morning, and near continuous earthquakes have been occurring since then. The depths of earthquakes in the present swarm are in the upper crust and their magnitudes are mainly around 1.5; a few earthquakes are of magnitude greater than ML3 the Icelandic Met Office reports.

Long-term seismic and GPS data indicate that there is increased unrest in the northwestern region of Vatnajökull glacier, where Bardarbunga is located:

Over the last seven years seismic activity has been gradually increasing in Bardarbunga and the fissure swarm north of the volcano. This activity dropped down at the Grimsvotn eruption in May 2011, but soon after, the activity started to gradually increase again and has now reached similar level of activity to that just before the Grimsvotn eruption. Earlier this year, in the middle of May 2014, there was a small swarm of over 200 events and now the present swarm has already generated at least 300 earthquakes.

Since early June 2014, displacements at GPS stations around Vatnajokull (Hamarinn, Grimsfjall, Vonarskard and Dyngjuhals) show an increased upward movement and away from Bardarbunga.

Together, these two systems indicate magma movements in Bárðarbunga. Due to increased seismicity IMO has decided to turn volcano Bárðarbunga status to yellow on the aviation colour code map. In case of a sub-aerial eruption, an ash plume of potential concerns for aviation will be generated.

At 23:00 on August 16, there is no unequivocal indication that magma has reached the surface.

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"There is full reason to expect an eruption"

The seismic activity in Bardarbunga on the Vatnajokull glacier is very powerful and therefore full reason to expect a volcanic eruption according to a specialist at The Icelandic Meteorological Office. A live webcam has been placed in the vicinity of Bardarbunga.

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