Magma started flowing in Holuhraun at 5:00 AM this morning. The eruption is located on the same fissure as the previous eruption on Friday morning, but is many times larger. This is the third eruption in the Bárðarbunga region in roughly a week, and the largest by far.
It is a magmatic eruption, located about 5 kilometers north of the Dyngjujökull glacier and lava is flowing eastwards. The fissure reaches slightly further north than the Friday eruption and measures about 1.5 kilometers in length. The northernmost point is in an area that was not part of the previous eruption. It is estimated that the lava flow is 10-20 times more powerful than in the eruption on Friday eruption, and lava reaches as high as 50 meters into the sky.
On Saturday an eruption took place in Bárðarbunga, but it was sub-glacial and failed to penetrate the ice. On Friday morning there was an eruption in Holuhraun which only lasted for roughly 4 hours and was about 10 times smaller than the eruption in Bárðarbunga.
The current eruption is stable, with very little seismicity in the area compared to the last few days. Scientists agree that the eruption is continuous and rather quiet.
Alert level still in effect and flights restricted
The Civil Protection Center was activated this morning and the decision was made to retain the current danger level. The Icelandic Meteorological Office has upgrades its alert phase to red and banned all flights around the eruption area, which extends as far north as Mývatn and only up to 6000 feet. These restrictions will be revised later today. According to ISAVIA the current eruption does not affect flights over Iceland in any way.
Visibility at Holuhraun is very poor due to worsening weather, with sandstorms and fog present. Geophysicists that monitored the eruption early this morning have vacated the area, the eruption is currently only being monitored via webcams in the area.
"Ususally these kind of eruptions start strong but then slowly peter out"
"Right now we don't know what's going on," said geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson. "This time it's a considerable eruption, which is evident by the 3 kilometer long lava flow that it formed in only 3 hours. The upstream from the fissure is considerable."
He estimates that the eruption was releasing a thousand cubic meters of magma per second during the first three hours.
"This is the largest eruption so far, it's roughly the size of the largest eruption during the Krafla eruptions 35 years ago. Ususally these kind of eruptions start strong but then slowly peter out."
The Krafla eruptions lasted from December 1975 to September 1984, the controversial Krafla hydrodam was being built during this time in the vicinity.
An eruption has started again in Holuhraun, just north of Dyngjujokull in Iceland. The eruption was visible from a live webcam at 5:49 AM local time.