Cannot rule out an eruption at Bardarbunga

03.09.2014 - 03:02
A volcanic eruption under Vatnajökull glacier cannot be ruled out. The seismic activity in the area is still great, despite a slight reduction. The eruption at Holuhraun is still going strong and there is a risk of gas explosions if the lava reaches a nearby river.


This footage was taken by reporter Ómar Ragnarsson who flew over the eruption site at Holuhraun yesterday. Access to the eruption area is currently restricted to scientists and media personnel, with the prior approval of the Icelandic Civil Protection Agency.

Risk of gas explosions

Kristín Jónsdóttir, geophysicist at the Icelandic Met Office says that access to the site is restricted because of the risk of explosions. Lava from Holuhraun eruption is flowing towards the nearby glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Iceland’s second largest river which flows from Vatnajökull.

Kristín says that the lava is already quite close — currently about 6 kilometers from the river — and will probably reach the river eventually. When the lava meets the water, powerful steam explosions can be expected. Such explosions can release dangerous gases.

Cannot rule out an eruption beneath the glacier

The seismic activity in the area has decreased somewhat but is still significant. Around five hundred earthquakes were detected in and around Vatnajökull yesterday, three of them magnitude 4 and over.

Kristín says that if the current fissure lava is flowing from closes, there is a possiblity that the eruption might create new fissures, possibly to the north or to the south, closer to Vatnajökull glacier. Therefore, an eruption at Bárðarbunga, beneath the glacier, cannot be ruled out.


This story, by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), was updated on September 2, 2014, at 03:02 GMT.

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