Bárdarbunga

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  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 64.63°N
  • 17.53°W

  • 2009 m
    6590 ft

  • 373030
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

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    Elevation

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    Number

3 September-9 September 2014

During 3-9 September the Icelandic Met Office reported ongoing lava effusion, high gas emissions, and elevated seismicity from Bárdarbunga’s Holuhraun lava field. On 3 September, the lava flow continued advancing ENE and covered 7.2 km2. Field observations determined that ash production was almost negligible. Radar images provided measurements of a 0.5-1 km wide depression that had formed within the Dyngjujökull glacier (located ~2 km S of the eruption site).

On 4 September there was no decline in effusive activity and the lava field had an aerial extent of 10.8 km2. There were no obvious changes on the Dyngjujökull glacier.

Two new eruptive fissures were observed south of the main eruption site on 5 September. These sites were less effusive and were located ~2 km away from the Dyngjujökull glacier. The eruption also continued from the original fissure and generated a ~460 m high steam plume. During a surveillance flight, the depression within Dyngjujökull glacier appeared to have grown deeper. On 6 September large changes were observed from the overlying glacier of Bárdarbunga (Vatnajökull glacier); a large area subsided that corresponded to deformation of the caldera floor. There were no signs of an eruption from the caldera. Two depressions were noted on the Dyngjujökull glacier, suggesting that small, short sub-glacial eruptions may have occurred.

The fissure eruption continued during 6-7 September and lava effusion was 100-200 m3/s on 7 September. Activity from the S fissures was less than that of the N fissure which had been active since the beginning of the eruption. The advancing lava flow reached the W main branch of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. No explosive activity due to lava and river water interaction was observed, but steam rose from the area.

During 8-9 September activity was no longer detected from the southernmost fissure. Lava continued to advance and interact with the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. The extent of the lava flow reached 19 km2 and gas emissions remained high.

The London VAAC reported no ash plumes associated with the fissure eruptions. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Sources: Icelandic Met Office, London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)

Index of Weekly Reports


2014: August | September

Weekly Reports


3 September-9 September 2014

During 3-9 September the Icelandic Met Office reported ongoing lava effusion, high gas emissions, and elevated seismicity from Bárdarbunga’s Holuhraun lava field. On 3 September, the lava flow continued advancing ENE and covered 7.2 km2. Field observations determined that ash production was almost negligible. Radar images provided measurements of a 0.5-1 km wide depression that had formed within the Dyngjujökull glacier (located ~2 km S of the eruption site).

On 4 September there was no decline in effusive activity and the lava field had an aerial extent of 10.8 km2. There were no obvious changes on the Dyngjujökull glacier.

Two new eruptive fissures were observed south of the main eruption site on 5 September. These sites were less effusive and were located ~2 km away from the Dyngjujökull glacier. The eruption also continued from the original fissure and generated a ~460 m high steam plume. During a surveillance flight, the depression within Dyngjujökull glacier appeared to have grown deeper. On 6 September large changes were observed from the overlying glacier of Bárdarbunga (Vatnajökull glacier); a large area subsided that corresponded to deformation of the caldera floor. There were no signs of an eruption from the caldera. Two depressions were noted on the Dyngjujökull glacier, suggesting that small, short sub-glacial eruptions may have occurred.

The fissure eruption continued during 6-7 September and lava effusion was 100-200 m3/s on 7 September. Activity from the S fissures was less than that of the N fissure which had been active since the beginning of the eruption. The advancing lava flow reached the W main branch of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. No explosive activity due to lava and river water interaction was observed, but steam rose from the area.

During 8-9 September activity was no longer detected from the southernmost fissure. Lava continued to advance and interact with the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. The extent of the lava flow reached 19 km2 and gas emissions remained high.

The London VAAC reported no ash plumes associated with the fissure eruptions. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Sources: Icelandic Met Office; London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)


27 August-2 September 2014

During 27 August-2 September the Icelandic Met Office reported ongoing seismic activity at Bárdarbunga volcano. On 27 August an overflight showed a 4-6-km-long row of cauldrons 10-15 m in diameter S of Bárdarbunga. On 29 August a small fissure eruption started in Holuhraun along an old fissure about 600 m in length north of Dyngjujökull. Lava again erupted starting on 31 August along a 1.5 km long fissure. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red and lowered to Orange later in the day. On 1-2 September a white steam and gas plume rose 4.5 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 60 km to NNE and ENE. Lava flowed N and lava plumes rose tens of meters. There was a noticeable decrease in seismicity from 500 earthquakes on 1 September to 300 earthquakes on 2 September. Earthquakes up to magnitude 4-5.4 have been detected at or near the volcano. On 2 September the lava had covered 4.2 square kilometers and was 4.5 km from the glaciers edge. The London VAAC reported no ash plumes associated with the fissure eruptions. The Aviation Color Code remains at Orange.

Sources: Icelandic Met Office; London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)


20 August-26 August 2014

During 20-26 August the Icelandic Met Office reported ongoing high rates of seismic activity at Bárdarbunga volcano. Global Postioning System and seismic data indicated that an intrusive dike had increased from 25 to 40 km in length E, NE, and N of the volcano over the past week. During 22-26 August several earthquakes in the 4.7-5.7 magnitude range had been detected at or near the volcano. On 23 August seismic tremor indicated a small lava-eruption 150-400 m beneath the Dyngjujökull glacier, prompting a change in the Aviation Color Code to Red. On 24 August observations from an overflight indicated there was no eruption and the Aviation Color Code was changed to Orange. On 26 August the location of the seismicity was located primarily along the 10 km long tip of the dike that extended 5 km beyond the glacier margin.

Source: Icelandic Met Office


13 August-19 August 2014

During 13-19 August the Icelandic Met Office reported increased seismic activity at Bárdarbunga volcano. On 16 August more than 200 earthquakes were reported under the NW Vatnajökull ice cap, and GPS stations have shown an increasing signal upward and away from the volcano since early June 2014. On 16 August the Aviation Color code was increased to Yellow. On 18 August the Icelandic Met Office reported an earthquake swarm to the E and another to the N of Bárdarbunga. A M4 earthquake was recorded that was the strongest in the region since 1996. By 18 August there had been 2,600 earthquakes detected at the volcano; earthquake locations from N and E swarms had been migrating NE, but in the evening activity of the N swarm had decreased significantly. That same day the Aviation Color code was raised to Orange.

Source: Icelandic Met Office


The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Bárdarbunga.

The large central volcano of Bárdarbunga lies beneath the NW part of the Vatnajökull icecap, NW of Grímsvötn volcano, and contains a subglacial 700-m-deep caldera. Related fissure systems include the Veidivötn and Trollagigar fissures, which extend about 100 km SW to near Torfajökull volcano and 50 km NE to near Askja volcano, respectively. Voluminous fissure eruptions, including one at Thjorsarhraun, which produced the largest known Holocene lava flow on Earth with a volume of more than 21 cu km, have occurred throughout the Holocene into historical time from the Veidivötn fissure system. The last major eruption of Veidivötn, in 1477, also produced a large tephra deposit. The subglacial Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system located SW of Bárdarbunga volcano is also part of the Bárdarbunga volcanic system and contains two subglacial ridges extending from the largely subglacial Hamarinn central volcano; the Loki ridge trends to the NE and the Fögrufjöll ridge to the SW. Jökulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods) from eruptions at Bárdarbunga potentially affect drainages in all directions.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 2008 Aug ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (West Loki cauldron)
[ 2006 Apr ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (East Loki cauldron)
[ 2005 Jul ] [ 2005 Aug ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (West Loki cauldron)
[ 2002 Jul ] [ 2002 Sep ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (W and E Loki cauldrons)
[ 2000 Aug ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (W and E Loki cauldrons)
[ 1997 Aug ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (East Loki cauldron)
[ 1996 Aug ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (West Loki cauldron)
[ 1995 Jul ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (East Loki cauldron)
[ 1991 Aug 12 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (East Loki cauldron)
[ 1986 Nov 29 ] [ 1986 Dec 1 (?) ] Uncertain 0   Loki-Fögrufjöll (East Loki cauldron)
1910 Jun 18 1910 Oct Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Loki-Fögrufjöll (East Loki cauldron)
1902 Dec 1903 Jun Confirmed 2 Unknown Volcano Uncertain: Dyngjuhals ?
1872 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Unknown Volcano Uncertain: Dyngjuhals ?
1862 Jun 30 1864 Oct 15 ± 45 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Trollagigar
[ 1807 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     NW-Vatnajökull
1797 Unknown Confirmed   Unknown Volcano Uncertain
1794 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations
1769 Unknown Confirmed 2 Unknown Volcano Uncertain: Bárdarbunga or Grímsvötn
1766 Jul Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1750 ± 10 years Unknown Confirmed   Ice Core
1739 Unknown Confirmed 2 Ice Core
1729 Unknown Confirmed 1 Unknown Volcano Uncertain: Dyngjuhals ?
1726 Feb 1 ± 30 days 1726 May 1 ± 30 days Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Dyngjujökull, Dyngjuhal ?
1720 Unknown Confirmed 2 Ice Core
1717 Aug 4 1717 Sep 17 (in or after) Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1716 Oct 5 ± 4 days Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1712 Jan 15 ± 45 days Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1707 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1706 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1702 Unknown Confirmed 2 Unknown Volcano Uncertain: Dyngjuhals ?
1697 Unknown Confirmed 2 Ice Core
1477 Feb (?) Unknown Confirmed 6 Historical Observations Veidivötn (Veidivatnahraun)
1410 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology
1350 ± 10 years Unknown Confirmed   Ice Core
1290 ± 10 years Unknown Confirmed   Ice Core
1270 ± 10 years Unknown Confirmed   Ice Core
1250 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed 1 Tephrochronology Frambuni
1210 ± 10 years Unknown Confirmed   Ice Core
1159 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations
1080 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology
0940 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology
0880 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology
0870 (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Tephrochronology Vatnaöldur
0150 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Tephrochronology Veidivötn (Tjorvahraun)
1200 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidivötn (Burfellshraun, Drekahraun)
4200 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidvötn (Sigolduhraun THf)
4400 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidvötn (Tungnaárhraun THe)
4550 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidivötn (Sigolduhraun, Kalfahraun)
4600 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidvötn (Tungnaárhraun THd)
4800 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidvötn (Tungnaárhraun THc)
5000 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Trölladyngja
6650 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Veidivötn (Thjorsarhraun)
7050 BCE ± 1000 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Veidivötn (Haahraun, Botnahraun)
7100 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Trölladyngja (Bardarhalshraun)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.



Cones
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Hamarinn Stratovolcano 1570 m 64° 29' 0" N 17° 48' 0" W
Loki-Fögrufjöll Submarine cone 1570 m 64° 29' 0" N 17° 48' 0" W
Trolladyngja Shield volcano 1459 m 64° 54' 0" N 17° 15' 0" W


Craters
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Askahraun Fissure vent 64° 27' 0" N 108° 5' 0" W
Brydjuhraun Fissure vent 64° 29' 0" N 18° 3' 0" W
Burfellshraun Fissure vent 64° 21' 0" N 18° 25' 0" W
Drekagigarod Fissure vent 728 m 64° 14' 0" N 18° 38' 0" W
Dvergahraun Crater Row 64° 21' 0" N 18° 17' 0" W
Dyngjuhals Fissure vent 64° 50' 0" N 17° 17' 0" W
Flagdahraun Fissure vent 64° 25' 0" N 18° 37' 0" W
Fogrufjöll Fissure vent
Fontur Fissure vent 732 m 64° 15' 0" N 18° 39' 0" W
Grahahraun Fissure vent 64° 24' 0" N 18° 31' 0" W
Haahraun Fissure vent 64° 16' 0" N 18° 38' 0" W
Hagonguhraun Fissure vent 843 m 64° 32' 0" N 18° 12' 0" W
Hattur Fissure vent 640 m 64° 9' 0" N 18° 53' 0" W
Hnausagigarod Fissure vent 64° 2' 0" N 19° 2' 0" W
Hnausapollur Crater 64° 3' 0" N 19° 2' 0" W
Koldukvislarhraun Fissure vent 827 m 64° 34' 0" N 18° 5' 0" W
Ljosufjallahraun Crater Row 64° 18' 0" N 18° 25' 0" W
Ljotipollur Crater 720 m 64° 2' 0" N 19° 0' 0" W
Loki Fissure vent
Madahraun Fissure vent 64° 15' 0" N 18° 44' 0" W
Sigolduhraun Fissure vent 64° 19' 0" N 18° 39' 0" W
Skeifuhraun Fissure vent 64° 11' 0" N 18° 57' 0" W
Svartikrokur Crater Row 600 m 64° 4' 0" N 18° 57' 0" W
Thorsarhraun Fissure vent 840 m 64° 21' 0" N 18° 25' 0" W
Throskuldshraun Crater Row 64° 14' 0" N 108° 34' 0" W
Trollagigar Crater Row 1020 m 64° 27' 0" N 18° 5' 0" W
Tungnarbotnahraun Fissure vent 64° 19' 0" N 108° 16' 0" W
Vatnaoldur Crater Row 899 m 64° 7' 0" N 18° 56' 0" W
Veidivötn Crater Row 920 m 63° 57' 0" N 19° 17' 0" W
The Veidivötn fissure system, which extends 100 km SW from Bárdarbunga volcano, has been the source of major eruptions during the Holocene. A large, dominantly explosive eruption at about 870 AD from the Vatnaöldur crater row, which extends diagonally across the center of the photo, deposited tephra over much of southern Iceland. The Vatnaöldur eruption originated from a 42-km-long fissure and produced 3.3 cu km of tephra at the time of the settlement of Iceland, forming the the Landnam (Settlement) tephra layer.

Photo by Ingibjörg Kaldal (Icelandic National Energy Authority).
The large central volcano of Bárdarbunga, seen here from the NW with Grímsvötn volcano in the background, lies beneath the NW Vatnajökull icecap and contains a 700-m-deep caldera. Related fissure systems, including the lengthy Veidivotn and Trollagigar fissures, have been the source of major Holocene eruptions. Along with neighboring Grímsvötn, Bárdarbunga is one of the most active volcanoes in SE Iceland. Jökulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods) from eruptions at Bárdarbunga potentially affect drainages in all directions.

Photo by Oddur Sigurdsson, 1977 (Icelandic National Energy Authority).
The subglacial Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system, seen here from the ENE, is located SW of Bárdarbunga volcano and is also part of the Bárdarbunga volcanic system. It contains two subglacial ridges extending from the largely subglacial Hamarinn central volcano; the Loki ridge trends to the NE and the Fögrufjöll ridge, seen here, extends to the SW.

Photo by Oddur Sigurdsson, 1994 (Icelandic National Energy Authority).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Barth T F W, 1950. Volcanic geology, hot springs, and geysers of Iceland. Carnegie Inst Wash Pub, 587: 1-126.

Bjornsson H, Einarsson P, 1990. Volcanoes beneath Vatnajokull, Iceland: evidence from radio echo-sounding, earthquakes and jokulhlaups. Jokull, 40: 147-168.

Gudmundsson A T, 1986a. Eruptions at Dyngjuhals in the 18th century. Natturufraedingurinn, 56: 43-48 (in Icelandic with English summary).

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Jakobsson S P, 1979. Petrology of recent basalts of the eastern volcanic zone, Iceland. Acta Nat Islandica, 26: 1-103.

Johannesson H, Saemundsson K, 1998. Geological map of Iceland, 1:500,000. Tectonics. Icelandic Inst Nat Hist, Reykjavik.

Kjartansson G, 1964. Geological Map of Iceland, Sheet 5, Central Iceland. Reykjavik: Museum Nat Hist Dept Geol Geog, 1:250,000 geol map.

Larsen G, 1984. Recent volcanic history of the Veidivotn fissure swarm, southern Iceland - an approach to volcanic risk assessment. J Volc Geotherm Res, 22: 33-58.

Larsen G, Gudmundsson M T, Bjornsson H, 1998. Eight centuries of periodic volcanism at the center of the hotspot revealed by glacier tephrostratigraphy. Geology, 26: 943-946.

Mork M E, 1984. Magma mixing in the post-glacial Veidivotn fissure eruption, southeast Iceland: a microprobe study of mineral and glass variations. Lithos, 17: 55-75.

Steinthorsson S, et al., 2002. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World - Iceland. Unpublished manuscript.

Thordarson T, Hoskuldsson A, 2008. Postglacial eruptions in Iceland. Jokull, 58: 197-228.

Vilmundardottir E G, Gudmundsson A, Snorrason S P, Larsen G, 1990. Geological map, Botnafjoll, 1913 IV, 1:50,000. Iceland Geodetic Surv, Natl Energy Authority and Natl Power Company, Reykjavik.

Vilmundardottir E G, Snorrason S P, Larsen G, Gudmundsson A, 1988. Geological Map, Sigalda-Veidivotn 3340 B, 1:50,000. Reykjavik: Natl Energy Authority, Hydro Power Div and Natl Power Company.

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano
Caldera
Fissure vent(s)

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Rock Types

Major
Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Rhyolite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
0
0
0
1,348

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Bárdarbunga Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.