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Latest information on volcanic activity

24.10.2014 - 12:57
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The following is the latest information from the Icelandic Met Office on the volcanic and seismic activity in Bardarbunga and Holuhraun. The volcanic eruption in Holuhraun continues with similar intensity as the last few weeks.

The lava field is now 63 square kilometers. Seismic activity in Bardarbunga continues to be strong. Over 160 earthquakes have been detected in the caldera over the last two days. Thereof at least 15 have measured larger than M4 and 45 have been between magnitude 3,0 and 3,9. The biggest ones were M4,8 at 13:21 on Wednesday and at 13:07 yesterday.

 Over 50 smaller earthquakes are detected in the dyke. The biggest was M1.9 The GPS station in the centre of Bardarbunga shows that the subsidence of the caldera continues at a similar rate to the last few weeks. GPS measurements in the active area show minor changes. No change was detected in water monitoring that cannot be explained by changing weather.

Today (Friday) gas pollution can be expected in the areas north and east of the eruption. Tomorrow (Saturday) the pollution will move first to the north and northwest and then to the west and southwest. A map showing the gas forecast can be found on the web page of the Icelandic Met Office An interactive map showing the gas distribution can be seen at 

The Icelandic Met Office has a form on its web-page for the public to report if they have detected gas pollution. A link to the page can be found on the Icelandic version of the web page under Skrá mengun.

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. People experiencing adverse effects should be in immediate contact with their healthcare centre. Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage The Meteorological Office issues forecast on its web-page and warnings if conditions change to the worse.

Instructions from The Environment Agency of Iceland and Chief Epidemiologist can be found on their web-sites. The Icelandic Met Office will publish forecasts for sulphuric gases dispersion on the web and in the national radio. Information and any questions on air pollution can be sent to The Environment Agency through the email [email protected]. The Environment Agency is especially looking for information from people who have been in contact with high concentrations of gas; where they were, at what time it happened, how the gas cloud looked (colour and thickness of the cloud) and how they were affected by it.


The following three scenarios are considered most likely:

-The eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually and subsidence of the Bardarbunga caldera stops.

-Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujokull, resulting in a jokulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.

-Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jokulhlaup, accompanied by ash fall.
Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

Courtesy of the Icelandic Met Office