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In recent weeks, increased seismic activity has been detected on the Reykjanes peninsula, including a M4 earthquake in late May close to lake Kleifarvatn, which was felt widely in the capital region. Following such earthquakes, stress conditions in the shallow crust can be changed in the surrounding region.
An analysis of micro-earthquakes in the region indicates possible instabilities in the crust between lake Kleifarvatn (Krísuvík) and Ölfus (the region of the 2008 earthquakes, close to Hveragerði). Deformation measurements in recent years also indicate possible stress accumulations in the region, which might be released as a larger earthquake. Historic recordings show that earthquakes in that region can be up to M6.5. The last earthquakes of M>6 were in 1929 and 1968. Both of these events caused no major damage in the capital area. In modern times, however, urban settlements have spread closer to historically active earthquake faults.
It can be expected that large earthquakes on the eastern Reykjanes peninsula will affect surrounding areas (capital region, Grindavík, Þorlákshöfn, Hveragerði and Reykjanesbær). Such earthquakes would be felt by all people in the affected area, many people might be frightened and leave their homes. Heavy furniture could be displaced and wall plastering might be damaged. Severe damage of well-built dwellings is not expected. The intensity of a large earthquake in this region can reach levels VI-VII on the Mercalli Scale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercalli_intensity_scale).
It is important to regularly remind all inhabitants in seismically active regions about potential earthquake hazards. People should review their own security measures and preparedness for a large earthquake to minimise damage and possible injury. This includes homes and workplaces. Outdoors, the main hazards due to earthquakes are rockfalls in caves and landslides close to the epicentre.
Instructions on how to prepare for and react to an earthquake can be found on the web-page of the Icelandic Civil Protection agency: http://almannavarnir.is/displayer.asp?cat_id=140
A video from Landsbjörg is available via Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch…
The Commissioner of the Icelandic Police in collaboration with the district Commissioner of Police in North-Iceland east district has lowered the alert level for the seismic activity in Bárðarbunga to Uncertainty Phase, which is the lowest level of three alert levels.
An earthquake of magnitude 4.0 occurred close to the lake Kleifarvatn on the Reykjanes peninsula at 13:10 UTC on 29 May. It was felt widely in the capital area.
Information on prevention, preparedness and response before, during and after earthquakes can be found on our webpage /displayer.asp?cat_id=140
Snow cores from the 2014-2015 winter precipitation on the Vatnajökull glacier and the highlands north east of the glacier:Effects of the Holuhraun eruption.
The effects of the 2014/2015 Holuhraun eruption (August 31−February 27) on the winter precipitation (September 2014−March 2015) on Vatnajökull and the highlands northeast of the glacier have been investigated. In total, 29 snow cores were collected as bulk samples and two additional cores were sampled in several increments. The bulk cores represent the average chemical composition of the winter precipitation, whereas the incremental sampling informs about spatial and time evolution of the snow chemical composition.
The preliminary pH and anion concentration data for the bulk samples indicate that moderate changes in the snow’s composition were caused by the Holuhraun eruption. The anion concentrations (mainly SO4, Cl, and F) were slightly higher and the pH was lower when compared with equivalent snow samples collected in 1988 from Vatnajökull and in 1997−2006 from the Langjökull glacier. Higher SO4/Cl ratio in the snow compared with seawater confirms the addition of a non-seawater SO4 source, which most likely originates from the oxidation of volcanic SO2. In addition, increased Cl concentration can be attributed to dissolution of volcanic HCl. However, the acidification of snow samples was mainly caused by SO2 rather than HCl.
The chemical evolution of the snow with depth, with decreasing pH and increasing SO4/Cl, reflects changes in the lava effusion rate and gas emission rates. They were higher at the early stage of the Holuhraun eruption in September−October 2014 and therefore lower pH and higher SO4 and F concentrations have been measured in the deeper sections of the cores.
Based on these preliminary results, we can conclude that the melting of the snow in the Spring will probably not cause major acidification of surface and/or groundwaters fed by the snowmelt. Additional analyses to determine the concentration of cations, including heavy metals and aluminium, will be performed over the next weeks in all of the samples.
Iwona Galeczka, Eydís S. Eiríksdóttir, and Sigurður Reynir Gíslason
Institute of Earth Sciences University of Iceland.
The Police District Commissioners in North Eastern, Eastern, Southern Iceland, and the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police have decided to change the restricted area in Holuhraun with reference to the Civil Protection law no. 82/2008 article 23.
The restricted area extends 20 m outside the edges of the new lava field, to the edge of Dyngjujökull glacier on the south side, the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum to the east and to the westernmost branches of Jökulsá á Fjöllum in the west. The restricted area is shown on the enclosed map of the area.
This decision is based on a risk assessment from the Icelandic Meteorological Office covering risk factors in the area. The Icelandic Meteorological Office has also proposed countermeasures to increase public safety close to the restricted area.
The Police, in cooperation with Vatnajökull National Park, will provide a presence in the area to secure public safety, in close collaboration with the Icelandic Meteorological Office. These institutions will try to install further monitoring equipment to add to the existing monitoring system in the area to increase monitoring so that warnings may be issued if necessary.
Vatnajökull National Park will issue locations of viewing areas. Information on evacuation routes will be issued by officers on site.
The volcanic eruption in Holuhraun, which began on August 31st 2014, has come to an end. Bardarbunga system, Bardarbunga caldera and the area around Holuhraun will be monitored closely. Gas pollution is still detected around the eruption site. No changes have been made to the restricted area north of Vatnajökull. The Civil Protection still operates in Alert phase. The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga has been downgraded from orange to yellow . Icelandic Volcanic Systems is explained here on the Icelandic Met Office web site.
The next meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Civil Protection will be held on Tuesday 3rd of March 2015.
Map of possible gas pollution in Iceland made by the Icelandic Met Office. See also guidelines on the webpage of the Environment Agency www.loftgaedi.is
. A new simulation is beeing
developed (Calpuff). The latest simulation can be accessed here nýjustu keyrslu
Volcanic gases with possible effect human health are released into the atmosphere from the eruption in Holuhrauni. The most abundant gases are water ( H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). Other substances such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen(H2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF) and helium (He) are also released, but in smaller amounts.
The human health effect is mainly caused by SO2, the most common symptoms are irritation in eyes, throat and respiratory tract and people can experience difficulties in breathing in high concentrations of SO2. Persons with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and heart diseases are more sensitive than healthy people and develop symptoms at lower concentrations compared with others. They are advised to have their respiratory medication available. It is wise to use the same recommendations for children as for people with underlying respiratory diseases, although no reliable data on children and SO2 is available
The Environmental Agency measures SO2 in various locations and information is available on www.loftgaedi.is
Health effects of short-term volcanic SO2 exposure and recommended actions
Weather warning for tonight and tomorrow. Northeasterly wind 18 to 23 m/s (strong gale) with snow in the evening in Vestfirðir and the north coast. Increasing wind in most parts tonight. North and northwest 15 to 23 m/s tomorrow, but 23 to 32 m/s in the east . Considerable snow or blowing snow in the north and east. Occasional snowshowers in the south and west, and considerable blowing snow also in that area. Decreasing wind in the west late tomorrow. There will be blizzard in all parts of Iceland tomorrow and not a weather for travelling .
We are expecting the first real snowstorm this autumn on Monday morning (Oct. 20th). The weather forecast for Sunday is mild with some rain, but changes in the weather are expected on Monday morning. Those who are driving around the country are advised to use Sunday for travelling as driving conditons may change. More information on the weather can be found on the Met Office webpage http://en.vedur.is/ and information on road condition http://www.vegagerdin.is/english/road-conditions-and-weather/
Southwest or variable wind 3 to 10 m/s. Widely occasional rain. Temperature 2 to 8 deg. C. Increasing north wind in west part tonight and snow. North strong gale (15 to 23 m/s) in most places tomorrow, lighter wind in south and west until afternoon. Snow in north part, but some snowshowers in south Some rain or snowshowers in the south part. Becoming colder tomorrow, wydely frost 0 to 5 deg,C , but above zero deg, at the south coast. On Tuesday: Northwest 13 to 23 m/s, strongest in the northeast. Snow in the north part, but dry in the south. Moderating in the west by evening and clearing. Frost widely 0 to 4 deg. C. On Wednesday: Becoming east 5 to 10 m/s with sleet or snow, 8 to 13 m/s and rain by the coast. Widely lighter wind in north and fair until after noon, but occasional snowshowers in northeast part. Temperature around zero in south part but plus 5 deg,C by the coast. Frost 0 to 8 deg in north coldest inland. On Thursday: Easterly or variable wind, 3 to 10 m/s. Sleet or rain in the south temperature 0 to 5 deg.C , but occasional snowshowers in north . Frost 0 to 5 deg.C. On Friday and Saturday: Rrather light variable wind and widely some snow- or rainshowers. Cold.
The Icelandic Met Office mesasures SO2 at the eruption site and issues daily forcast on SO2 concentration in the atmosphere based on SO2 measurements and weather conditions. Today the forecast of Sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentration is high in the vicinity of the eruption and surrounding area. The pollution can be expected to move towards Hofsjökull and Tungnárjökull to the south, also around the eruption area. The pollution can accumulate in depressions in the landscape and reach high concentrations.
Weather forecast: Light variable or easterly wind and cloudy but mainly dry. East and southeast 3 to 10 m/s and some rain or drizzle later today, least in the northwest. Similar weather tomorrow. Temperature 8 to 14 degrees C, during the day.
Today light southwesterly winds are expected at the eruption site in Holuhraun. Areas norheast of the eruption site can be affected by pollution. They are marked by Mt. Herðubreið in the north to Mt. Kárahnjúkar in the south. So Sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentration could become high in the eruption vicinity in Holuhraun and to the northeast. In situations like today where the wind is light, pollution can accumulate in depressions in the in the landscape and reach high concentrations.
The concentration of SO2 (Sulphur Dioxide) is increasing in Kópasker and the surrounding area in northeastern Iceland. No gas monitoring is in the area but the inhabitants have felt the pollution and symptoms. Inhabitants are advised to close all windows and turn up the heat inside, while the concentration is high. Follow the Met Office forecast www.vedur.is/enalmannav3.jpg on wind direction.
The area likely to be affected by air pollution from the eruptoin is now marked by Bárðardalur to the west to Hólasandur/Merlakkaslétta platou in the east. This evening the affected area is more to the east from Mývatn-area in the west to Vopnafjordur bay in the east. Tomorrow lighter westerly winds are expected and likely effected area will be from Vopnafjörður bay, and south towards Djúpivogur.
Information on possible health effects and response to increased concentration of SO2 can be found on the webpage of the Environmental Agency. The Civil Protection and Emergency Management advise people to look up for further information http://ust.is/einstaklingar/loftgaedi/so2#Tab1
Volcanic gases with possible effect human health are released into the atmosphere from the eruption in Holuhrauni. The most abundant gases are water ( H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Other substances such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen(H2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF) og helium (He) are also released, but in smaller amounts.
The human health effect is mainly caused by SO2, the most common symptoms are irritation in eyes, throat and respiratory tract and people can experience difficulties in breathing in high concentrations of SO2. Persons with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and heart diseases are more sensitive compared to healthy people and develop symptoms at lower concentrations compared to others. They are adviced to have their respiratory medication available. It is wise to use the same recommendations for children as for people with underlying respiratory diseases, although no reliable data on children and SO2 is available.
It is therefore of importance to monitor the concentration of SO2 in the atmosphere. The Icelandic Met Office mesasures SO2 at the eruption site and developes daily forcasts on SO2 concentration in the atmosphere that are based on SO2 measurements and weather conditions. The purpose is to alert the public in areas where high concentration can be expected and the results are published on The Icelandic Met Office home page. The amount of SO2 that are released in the eruption is an important factor, but the wind direction and force also have a large impact on the concentration of SO2 in the athmosphere.
It should be reiterated that it is impossible to foresee all circumstances and it is therefore crucial to respond to unexpected events. The general public is encouraged to respond if an unextpected plume appears, stay indoors, close windows and turn of the air conditioning if they experience symptoms from the plume.
The Envrionment Agency of Iceland measures SO2 in various locations, information is available at the home page for the agency http://www.ust.is/einstaklingar/loftgaedi/so2/#Tab4
High consentration of SO2 was measured at Reyðarfjordur in the eastern fjords today and peaked at 1400 measuring SO2 at 2600 µg/m3. Measurement were showing decreasing concentration at 1500. It is uncertain how the situation will develop. Members in sensitive groups, including healthy individuals with mild asthma, may experience health effects. They may be affected at lower levels than general public. Toward the upper end of this range, most asthmatics who are active outdoors are likely to experience some breathing difficulties. Stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities when the consentration of SO2 is high. More information on www.loftgaedi.is
The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management reiterates that all traffic in the area north of Vatnajökull glacier is prohibited. The Police patrols the area i.e. in cooperation with the Coast Guard. During regular patrol today, vehicles were seen inside the prohibited area. All those in the cars will be charged with violations of the police act and can expect heavy fines.
Closures have been in force in the area north of Vatnajökull glacier since 18 August. The reason for this is danger related to eruptions, such as flash glacial flooding, poisonous gasses, flowing lava and hot lava-stones.
Scientists, police and media are the only ones who have gained limited access to the prohibited area, depending on certain conditions. Due to the increased volcanic activity, all were ordered to leave the area this morning.
The decision on closures pertaining to scientists and media, will be re-addressed tomorrow morning, Saturday.
This morning journalists from Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), who were flying over the eruption site in Holuhraun, saw that a new fissure south of the old one had opened up during the night. The new fissure is closer to the Dyngjujökull glacier. Scientists and representatives from the Civil Protection are now flying over the area to collect data on the new fissure.
The District Commissioner in Husavik has decided to further restrict access to the eruption site northwest of Vatnajökull glacier, due to increased unrest at the eruption site in Holuhraun. The media and scientists have been given a limited access with special permissions to the area, subject to certain terms and conditions. While this uncertainty remains no one will be allowed into the closed area. Road F910 by Vaðalda has also been closed.
This decision will be reviewed in light of new information.
The District Commissioner in Husavik
National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management..
Yesterday, the District Commissioner of Police in Húsavík decided to clear the area close to the volcanic eruption site in Holuhraun and to close road F910 leading to the site. This was done in light of unexplained increased seismic tremor in the area. The tremor decreased late last night and has not been measured since.
The District Commissioner of Police, in Húsavík, in cooperation with the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, Department of the Civil Protection, has decided to lift the restrictions on traffic in the area for scientists and journalist with special permissions. They will now be able to return to the eruption site. This decision is made with conditions that it may be necessary to restrict access to the area if the situation changes. As before, all access to the area is limited to media and scientists with special permission
The District Commissioner in Husavik has decided to further restrict access to the eruption site northwest of Vatnajökull glacier, due to increased unrest at the eruption site in Holuhraun. The media and scientists have been given a limited access with special permissions into the area, subject to certain terms and conditions. While this uncertainty remains no one will be allowed into the closed area. Road F910 by Vaðalda has also been closed.
This desicion will be reviewed in light of new information.
The lava eruption on Holuhraun continues. A white plume of steam and gas rises from the eruption on Holuhraun, reaching an elevation of about 4.5 km above sea level. Downwind, a volcanic cloud extends from the eruption site. Yesterday afternoon, a white cloud from the eruption extended 60 km to the north-north-east.
The eruption has not created any ash-fall.
Since midnight about 400 earthquakes have been detected automatically (700 at the same time yesterday). The main activity is in the dyke mainly in the northern part. Two earthquakes occurred by the rim of the Bardarbunga caldera, the first one at 11:26 AM M4.7 and the second one at 13:55 PM M4.3. A few earthquakes were detected by Herdubreidartogl. A noticeable decrease in seismicity has occurred during the last 24 hours. The level of activity is approximately half of that during recent days.The rate of deformation at GPS sites closest to the dyke intrusion has decreased. Together with an overnight decrease in seismicity, this implies that magma inflow appears to match magma outflow at the eruption site..
A new website will publish news in English during the activity in Holuhraun and the seismic activity in northwestern Vatnajökull http://avd.is/en/
The District Commissioner in Husavik has decided to lift the closure of road nr. 862, the section from the Ringroad to Dettifoss waterfall on the west side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum . The opening will take effect from 0800 on September 2nd. Other roads on the west side of Jökulsá are still closed including hiking trails. The decision is based on the Civil Protection risk reduction measures, increased surveillance of the Vatnajökull National Park rangers, increased scientific monitoring as well as additional law enforcement. The decision does not in any way indicate less flood risk, only increased surveillance. This decision will take effect on September 2nd at 0800.
The eruption north of Vatnajökull in Holuhraun continues. Lava flows northward from the eruption site.
At 20:00 UTC yesterday, the lava extended over a 3-km2. This corresponds to a magma discharge of 300 to 500 cubic meters per second. From observations yesterday evening, the volume of erupted lava is between 16 and 25 million cubic meters. The eruption has not created any ash-fall. Seismic activity is stable. Most of the seismicity is occurring on the northern end of the dyke intrusion, covering a 15-km-long region that extends partly beneath Dyngjujökull and north of the ice margin. 8 earthquakes over M3,0 have been recorded since midnight with over two larger then M5,0 near the Bárðarbunga caldera. Considerable volume of SO2 rises from the lava. It is essential for those who work in the area to have gas detectors and gas masks available.
All previously road closures are still in effect. All roads leading to the volcanic site are closed based on the risk of a flood if an eruption will start under the glacier. It remains unclear how the situation will develop. Four scenarios are still considered most likely:
o The migration of magma could stop, resulting in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions.
o The dyke could reach the Earth’s surface causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure. Lava flow and (or) explosive activity cannot be excluded.
o The intrusion reaches the surface and another eruption occurs where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity.
o An eruption in Bárðarbunga. The eruption could cause an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity. In the event of a subglacial eruption, it is most likely that flooding would affect Jökulsá á Fjöllum. However it is not possible to exclude the following flood paths: Skjálfandafljót, Kaldakvísl, Skaftá and Grímsvötn.
The coordination of the operation and information continues at the National Crisis Coordination Center. This morning there was a meeting with the Icelandic Civil Protection Scientific Advisory Board. After the meeting a teleconference was held with District Commissioner in Húsavik to coordinate measures. At 13:00 UTC today, TF-SIF flew over eruption site and the area north-west of Vatnajökull with scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland, together with a representative from the Icelandic Civil Protection. Observations from this flight will be reported in later briefings
Gas and steam rises to a couple of hundred meters above the eruption site, extending up to 1,200 m.
The Icelandic Met Office has lowered the Aviation colour code from red to orange for Bárðarbunga/Holuhraun due to recent observations which show the ongoing eruption without any explosive component.
The 3 nautical mile safety restricted flight area around the volcanic activity set by the Icelandic Transport Authority has been cancelled. No flight restrictions are in effect as a result of the volcanic eruption. The eruption can be seen on Mila-live from Iceland webcam http://www.livefromiceland.is/webcams/bardarbunga-2/
A small eruption started at 0600 this morning close to the eruption that was on Friday. Scientists on scene, estimate that the fissure goes further to the north than the previous eruption and is around 1,5 km. long. A lavafield of about 3 km flows to the east. Very bad weather is at the eruption site, sandstorm and windy conditions.The Civil Protection and Emergency Management is working on Alert Phase. The Icelandic Met Office has raised the Aviation colour code to red for Bárðarbunga/Holuhraun.
All airports are open. The area has no effect on any airports.
Isavia has issued a small flight zone a Danger Area which reaches from ground to 6000 feet in a similar area as the one on Friday the 29. August, for instrumental flight.
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has decided to move the emergency phase back to alert phase for the eruption north of Vatnajökull glacier, which began at midnight and ended around 04:00 local time. This decision is taken in collaboration with the District Commissioners in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður.
This decision is based on scientific evaluation of the situation. There is still significant seismic activity in the area and travelers are encouraged to follow news and www.safetravel.is for continued updates.
Restrictions on roads and areas in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon up to Dettifoss waterfall from the west-side, road 862, are still in effect, as well as other closures in the highlands north of Vatnajökull glacier.
At 10:00 UTC, the Icelandic Met Office changed the Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga to ‘orange’, signifying that significant emission of ash into the atmosphere is unlikely. The aviation colour-code for the Askja volcano remains at ‘yellow’. All restrictions on flights havr been lifted.
Latest information on the volcanic eruption in central Iceland indicates that airborne ash material produced is minimal.The aviation warning area has thus been reduced to 5.000 foot altitude. All Icelandic airports in Iceland are open. The Icelandic Icelandic Transport Authority has issued a restricted area 10 nm around the volcano and up to 5000 ft. over the ground. The fissure is about 1 km long.
29.08.2014 Just after midnight a fissure eruption started in the Northern part of Holuhraun lava, between Dyngjujökull Glacier and the Askja caldera, North of Vatnajökull glacier. The fissure is 300 meters long and in direction Northeast and Southwest. No volcanic ash has been detected with the radar system at the moment. The wind field conditions in the area are wind blowing toward NW at 12 m/s at 5 km altitude. Seismic eruption tremor is low indicating effusive eruption without significant explosive activity.
Scientists who have been at work close to the eruption monitor the event at a safe distance. The Coast Guard aircraft, TF-SIF is scheduled to take off at 9:30 this morning. The Icelandic Met Office has raised the aviation colorcode over the eruption site to red and the Icelandic Air Traffic Contol has closed down the airspace from the earth up to 18000 feet for instrumental flights (see picture below).
The National Crisis Coordination Center is active and the Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the Civil Protection Phase to Emergency Phase in collaboration with the District Commissioner in Husavík..
Scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, together with representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland, met today to discuss the on-going unrest at the Bárðarbunga volcano.
This morning, there was a flight over the Bárðarbunga area and the surface of the glacier was surveyed. No changes to the ice crevasses southeast of Bárðarbunga, that were seen yesterday evening, were observed. These crevasses (cauldrons) were likely formed due to melting at the ice bottom.
The depressions have been located southeast of the Bárðarbunga caldera, in all likelihood within the water divide of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. There are three circular crevasse formations, about 5 km in total length. The ice thickness in the area is 400-600 m.
The water level in Grímsvötn Lake has been surveyed and has likely risen by about 5-10 m in the last days, which corresponds to an addition of 10-30 million m3 of water in the lake. A slight increase in conductivity in Köldukvísl River was measured this morning, but the cause is yet unknown. No change has been measured in the Hágöngulón lagoon, Jökulsá River and Skjálfandi River. It is assumed, that the water from the cauldron has flowed into the Grímsvötn Lake or the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
The seismic activity is similar to that of the last days. Around midnight, three earthquakes of magnitude around 4 were recorded and one of magnitude 5 at 08:13 this morning, all located within the Bárðarbunga caldera.
Shortly before 08:00 this morning, there was a slight increase in seismic activity in Askja volcano. Changes in the stress field due to expansion caused by the dyke have an effect on the Askja area.
Since yesterday, the length of the dyke under Dyngjujökull has increased by 1-1.5 km to the north, which is considerably less than in the last days. The dyke has now reached the fissure system of the Askja volcano and GPS measurements indicate that the area there is greatly affected.
The Icelandic Coast Guard aircraft TF-SIF will be surveilling northwestern Vatnajökull this morning . Yesterday the scientists onboard TF-SIF detected a 4-6 km long row of 10-15 m deep and 1 km wide cauldrons on the surface of Vatnajökull glacier. Conditions for surveillance from air were not good when the cauldrons were detected, making it hard to estimate precisely their size. Conditions today are very good, bright and sunny, which will help the scientists to observe the surface of the glacier. News from the flight can be expected around noon.
Scientists from the Icelandic Earth Science Institute, the Icelandic Meteorological Office and representatives from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management were on a flight onboard the Coast Guard aircraft SIF, surveilling the surface of Vatnajökull tonight and discovered a row of 10-15 m deep cauldrons, 1 km wide, south of the Bárðarbunga caldera. They form a 6-4 km long line. The cauldrons have been formed as a result of melting, possibly an eruption, uncertain when. Heightened tremor level/volcanic tremor has not been observed on Meteorological Office´s seismometers at the moment. The area is on the watershed line and draining basins of north Vatnajökull and south Vatnajökull. The new data are still being examined. The Crisis Coordination Centre in Skógarhlíð has been fully activated
The Icelandic Civil Protection Scientific Advisory Board met today.
Scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences, together with representatives of the Civil Protection in Iceland, met today to discuss the on-going unrest at the Bárðarbunga volcano.
These are the conclusions of the meeting:
• Intense seismicity continues. Over 700 earthquakes have been recorded since midnight. Earthquakes are occurring mostly beyond the edge of the Dyngjujökull glacier and the intrusion itself has migrated about 1 km northwards since yesterday.
• At 00:16 UTC today, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake occurred in the caldera of Bárðarbunga. At 02:50 UTC, another similar-sized earthquake (magnitude 5.2) took place in the same region.
• At 01:52 UTC, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake was detected on the eastern side of the Askja volcano. This was followed by a few micro-earthquakes in the same area.
• The dyke intrusion beneath Dyngjujökull is thought to be about 40 km in length.
• Modelling of GPS data indicates that about 20 million cubic metres of magma have been added to the volume of the intrusion in the last 24 hours.
• Modelling results suggest that the dyke intrusion is causing stress changes over a large area, including the region to the north of the dyke’s extent; this could account for the increased seismicity at Askja volcano.
• There are no indications that the intensity of the activity declining.
• From today, the afternoon status report will no longer be produced. However, if the situation escalates (i.e. imminent signs of an eruption), daily status reports will be reintroduced. The results of the scientific advisory board (this factsheet) will continue to be distributed daily at around midday.
From the Icelandic Met Office: The Aviation Colour Code remains at the ‘orange’ level for Bárðarbunga.
26.08.2014 At 11:56 UTC an earthquake of M4,6 (EMSC M4,4) occurred at 8 Km depth in the dyke under the Dyngjujokull glacier margin. It was felt in Akureyri Northern Iceland
Seismic activity continues to be high. From midnight to noon over 500 earthquakes detected. Biggest earthquake in the current swarm was measured this night at 01:26. According to USGS the magnitude was 5.7. The event was localized in the northern/northwestern part of Bardarbunga caldera at 6 km depth.Most of the seismic activity is close to the rim of Dyngjujokull. The dyke is still migrating to the north and the tip of it is already around 10 km outside of the glacier. Most of the events are at the depth of 8-12km. There have been no signs of harmonic tremor.
No changes have been detected overnight. Seismic activity is still ongoing with over 500 events recorded, the largest being around MI 3,5.
24.08.2014 at 13:40 UTC
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has decided to move the emergency phase back to alert phase. This decision is taken in collaboration with the District Commissioners in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður. Restrictions on roads and areas in Jökulsárgljúfur canyon up to Dettifoss waterfall is still in effect, as well as closures in the highlands North of Vatnajökull glacier.
This decision is based on scientific evaluation of the situation. Scientists´ observations conclude that a sub-glacial eruption did not occur yesterday as was previously believed. The Icelandic Met Office has decided to move the aviation color-code from red to orange. Therefore, all restrictions on aviation have been cancelled and all scheduled services airports in Iceland are open.
24.08.2014 at 11:40 UTC
Earthquake activity in NW-Vatnajökull is still very strong, 700 earthquakes have been observed since midnight and they are somewhat larger than previous days.
Two large earthquakes, over 5 where in the Bárðarbunga caldera this night.
The activity under Dyngjujökull has propagated northwards and is now mostly under the edge of the glacier, where an earthquake of size 4,2 was recorded this morning.
The dyke under Dyngjujökull is now estimated to be approximately 30 km long.
There are no indications that the activity is slowing down, and therefore an eruption can not be excluded.
Observations show that a sub-glacial eruption did not occur yesterday. The intense low-frequency seismic signal observed yesterday has therefore other explanations.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office has decided to move the aviation color-code from red to orange.
At 11:20 UTC today, seismic tremor measurements gave a strong indication that an eruption beneath Dyngjujökull was occurring. Tremor levels decreased during the afternoon, although intense earthquake activity continues.
At 14:00 UTC, an over-flight was made to Bárðarbunga by the Icelandic Coastguard with scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland, in addition to a representative from the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.
The over-flight covered the north-western region of the Vatnajökull ice-cap in clear conditions. Both visual observations and radar measurements confirmed no significant changes on the surface of Vatnajökull. Likewise, there were no signs of floodwater draining from the ice margin.
During three hours of aerial surveillance, there were no obvious signs of volcanic activity.
In light of the intense, ongoing earthquake activity and crustal deformation at Bárðarbunga, the Icelandic Meteorological Office has decided that the aviation colour-code should remain ‘red’. The situation will be reassessed tomorrow morning
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police in collaboration with the District Commissioners of Police in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður has decided that the emergerncy phase will stay in effect. The decision will be evaluated at noon tomorrow 24 August.
An indication of a minor eruption was issued by the Met Office earlier today at the Dyngjujökull glacier. There are no visible signs of the eruption yet.
The Icelandic Coast Guard aircraft TF-SIF is flying over the area with the representatives from the Civil Protection and experts from the Civil Protection, Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of the Earth Science. Data from radars and web cameras are being received, showing no signs of the plume at the moment. The estimate is that 150-400 meters of ice is above the area.
The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.
All Icelandic airports are open even though an airspace, 140 x 100 nautical miles, is closed over the sub-glacial eruption site in Vatnajökull. (see picture below). All airports are open in Iceland.
The main road number 1 ( the ringroad) is open.
In accordance with procedure, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the Civil Protection level to Emergency Phase. On 18 August, the Icelandic Met Office changed the aviation colour code to orange and today the code was changed to red/emergency which is the the highest level .
Map of aviation closure as of 23.08.2014 1500 GMT
2308 at 1300 The seismic activity at Bárðarbunga area in Northern Vatnajökull increased significantly after 10:00 hrs this morning. Scientists believe that the dyke is propagating to the north. The National Crisis Coordination Center monitor the situation closely and will update information regularly.
Last night the National Crisis CoordinationCentre was fully activated after a decision was taken to evacuate the highlands north of Dyngjujökull (part of Vatnajökull glacier). The area is now closed and has been evacuated. These actions were taken following seismic activity around the Bardarbunga caldera in the last few days. The area that has now been closed is both large in size and unpopulated There are still no signs of eruption but these security measures have been taken since it would not be possible to evacuate the area in time should a sub-glacial outburst flood occur from Vatnajökull as a result of an eruption.
At 03.00 the area had been evacuated. A map of the closed area is available at the website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration: http://www.vegagerdin.is/media/umferd-og-faerd/Halendi.pdf In the northwestern part of Vatnajökull glacier the seismic activity is stable, with the main area being northeast of Bardarbunga. Over 300 earthquakes have been detected since midnight. The strongest event was of the magnitude 3.0. Another event happened inside the Bardarbunga caldera and was of the magnitude 2.7.
Today The Coast guard airplane, TF SIF, will make a surveillance flight over the area with scientists and representatives of the Civil Protection, if weather conditions allow. Police and ISAR units will enforce the closure of the area. The situation will continue to be closely monitored.
The Police Commissioners in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður have decided to close and evacuate the area North of Vatnajökull following the seismic activity in Bárðarbunga.
This decision is a safety measure. It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bárðarbunga could lead to a volcanic eruption. There is no change in the seismic activity at the moment and no sign of an eruption but experience shows that seismic activity can be on going for a long time with out an eruption going off. This is first and foremost a precautionary action since the evacuation of the area is impossible on a short notice.
In accordance with procedure, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the Civil Protection level to Alert Phase. All roads leading into the area are now closed and the authorities in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður are evacuating the area North of Vatnajökull.
The Civil Protection Alert Phase is declared; “if threat assessment shows that hazard is increasing, a preventive measure must be taken immediately to secure the safety of those who are in the area. That is done by strengthening response measures in the area, and by taking preventive actions such as evacuation and closing off the area in question. Preparedness and warnings are also common in this phase.
Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga NW Vatnajökull glacier continues, but there are no sign of an eruption. All mountain roads closure in the area North of Vatnajökull are still in effect. All traffic in the area is prohibited. That includes both driving and hiking. Civil Protection is still working on Uncertainty Phase.
The situation in Bárðarbunga volcano in NW Vatnajökull glacier has not changed today. The Civil Protection scientists committee held two meetings today with earth scientists from the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland. There is a very strong indication of magma movement east of Bárðarbunga caldera and on the edge of Dyngjujökull near Kistufell. Conductivity is high in Jökulsá á Fjöllum for the time of year.
Around 800 earthquakes have been detected since midnight. The strongest event was at 02:37 of the magnitude 4,5.
Civil Protection is still on Uncertainty Phase, which means that course of events has started that may lead to natural hazard in the near future. The National Commissioner of Icelandic Police (NCIP) has today met with the Prime Minister of Iceland, the Minister of Interior and government officials to consult on the issue. The NCIP also met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign embassies in Iceland and from key stakeholders in Iceland.
Mountain roads North of Vatnajökull, F88 (completely) and F910 (partly), have been closed for all traffic. That includes cars, bikes and hiking. A map of the area can be seen here.
The earthquake activity in Bárðarbunga, in NW part of Vatnajökull glacier, continues. This morning at 2:37 an earthquake of magnitude 4,0 occurred 2,4 km NNE of Kistufell in NW part of Vatnajökull. There is no sign that an eruption has started. The mountain roads F88 and F910 (partly) are still closed. These roads can be seen in the map bellow. Up to date information on the roads in Iceland is available by phone in the number 1770.
There was a meeting this morning with the Department of Civil Protection and emergency management, Icelandic met office and the Institute of Earth Sciences to go over the situation. The earthquake swarm is still ongoing and the intensity is concentrated to the north and east of the Bárða...rbunga caldera, beneath Vatnajökull glacier. GPS measurements confirm that magma is intruding within the Bárðarbunga volcanic system. At the moment there are no indications that eruption has started.
Scientist have increased monitoring of the area and the local authorities have reviewed their response plans.
At the moment a helicopter from the Icelandic Coast Guard is in the area carrying scientist and people from the department of Civil Protection. Their objective is to install more seismic monitors and webcams in the area for increased monitoring.
The Police Commissioner of Húsavík has decided to close Gæsavatnaleið road and other highland roads east of Skjálfandafljót up to Askja. The road to Herðubreiðarlindir (F88) has also been closed due to potential flooding in the area following an eruption.
The National Commissioner of Police and the District Commissioner of Police at Hvolsvöllur and Húsavík have declared a Civil Protection Uncertainty phase due to unrest in Bárðabunga
Civil Protection and Emergency Management in Iceland
- The tasks of the Icelandic Civil Protection System are: Organizing and implementing measures to protect the well being and safety of the public and prevent them from harm, the protection of property and the environment from disasters, caused by natural or manmade hazards, pandemics, military action or other types of disasters; This includes prevention, preparedness and reductions of hazards and recovery.
- to render relief and assistance due to any losses that have occurred, assist people during emergencies, unless the responsibility for his assistance rests with other authorities or organisations.
Structure of Civil Protection
Civil Protection in Iceland falls under the Ministry of Interior according to the Civil Protection Act. Civil Protection responsibilities at the national level are delegated to the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police (NCIP). The NCIP runs a Civil Protection Section which is responsible for daily administration of Civil Protection matters, maintains a national co-ordination/command centre which can be activated at any time and to be in charge of the centre in emergency situations. The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police is also responsible for monitoring and supporting research and studies related to risk factors and natural catastrophes, and co-ordination and support measures aimed at reducing risks of bodily harm.
The day-to-day functions of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management of the NCIP include risk analysis, mitigation and co-ordination (i.e. planning, training and equipment) and recovery. The role of the NCIP during emergency operations is to procure and deliver all outside assistance (national or international) for a stricken area, which is deemed necessary by the local Chief of Police.
Government policy on civil protection and security is drawn up by the Civil Protection and Security Council for periods of three years at a time. The following ministers have seats on the Council: The Prime Minister, who is also the chairman of the council, the Minister of Interior, the Minister for the Environment, the Minister of Welfare the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Industry. In addition, the Prime Minister may co-opt up to two ministers to sit on the council at any time in connection with specific matter The following also have seats on the Civil Protection and Security Council:
1. The Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister.
2. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior
4. The National Commissioner of Police
5. The Director of the Icelandic Coast Guard.
6. The Director of the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration,
7. The Director of the Post and TelecommunicationsAdministration
8. The Director of the National Roads Administration.
9. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment,
10 The Director of the Icelandic Meteorological Office,
11 The Director of the Iceland Fire Authority
12 The Director of the Environmental Agency.
13 The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Wefare
14 The Director-General of Public Health,
15 The Epidemiological Officer
16 The Director of the National Radiological Protection Authority.
17 The Permanent Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
18 The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry,
19 The Director of the National Energy Authority
20 The Director of Landsnet, the Icelandic Power Transmission Company
21 A representative of ICE-SAR (Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg).
22 A representative of the Icelandic Red Cross.
23 A representative of the coordinated emergency telephone answering system.
In addition, the Prime Minister appoints two representatives to the council
in accordance with nominations by the Union of Local Authorities in Iceland.