Blue volcanic haze in Reykjavik

20.09.2014 - 21:32
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Bardarbunga volcano was still shaking and sinking Saturday, and scientists reported no significant changes in the ongoing lava eruption at Holuhraun lava field. Haze from the eruption was reported from most parts of Iceland.

Sulfur dioxide pollution from the eruption brought blue volcanic haze to the capital Reykjavik, though the gas did not reach unhealthy levels. Similar haze was reported from all over the country, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

The great extent of the pollution was caused by a high-pressure area over Iceland, which is expected to pass late Saturday and early Sunday. People reported discomfort in Modrudalur and Sprengisandur, both located in the highlands, relatively close to the eruption.

Photo: Hallgrimur Indridason.

13 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or above were detected at Bardarbunga from midnight to 21:00 GMT Saturday. The largest were a M5.1 at 01:10 GMT and a M5.0 at 17:11 GMT. 

The eruption in Holuhraun, north of Bardarbunga volcano, has continued with a similar rate as in the last few days, according to scientists, with most of the lava coming up around the middle of the fissure. 

GPS monitoring continues to show subsidence in the Bardarbunga caldera, and crustal movements indicate that the volume of magma in the dike intrusion, which feeds the lava eruption, is still increasing slightly, scientists say. They still do not rule out a subglacial eruption at Bardarbunga's caldera, although there are no direct signs of that being imminent. If Bardarbunga erupts, significant production of ash is expected, as well as flooding caused by the glacier melting. Check out this video where we explain what's going on beneath the surface.

This graph shows the subsidence of Bardarbunga caldera in meters in the last two days. The graph at the bottom shows earthquakes in the area in the same period. Notice the sudden increase in subsidence when the M5.3 earthquake struck Thursday.


This story, by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), was updated on 20 September 2014, at 21:25 GMT.

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