Bárðarbunga Volcano Fact Sheet

Bárðarbunga’s central volcano lies beneath the northwestern part of the Vatnajökull icecap in southeastern Iceland.

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Bárðarbunga Volcano Fact Sheet                           26 August 2014

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Bárðarbunga’s central volcano lies beneath the northwestern part of the Vatnajökull icecap in southeastern Iceland. The caldera itself is covered in 700m of ice. The Bárðarbunga system includes the Veidivötn and Trollagigar fissures, as well as the Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system to the southwest. The last confirmed eruption took place in 1910, although Bárðarbunga has shown signs of activity several times over the last 30 years (Source: Global Volcanism Program).

As of 26 August 2014, the Icelandic Met Office report included hundreds of automatically detected earthquakes in the area, with most concentrated to the northeast of Bárðarbunga. The magnitudes of these earthquakes generally measure between M3 and M4, (with two recorded within the caldera at M5.1 and M5.7) at a depth of 5-12km. At this time, there is no sign of volcanic (harmonic) tremor. 

DCO and Volcanic Degassing:

Deep Carbon Observatory researchers in the Reservoirs and Fluxes Community have an ongoing interest in volcanic activity. Such geological processes have the potential to liberate large quantities of carbon previously trapped in Earth’s mantle. Scientists in this DCO Community monitor volcanic degassing to refine global estimates of carbon emissions from the mantle.

DCO Scientists with Relevant Expertise:

Bernard Marty • CRPG Nancy, France 

Professor of Geochemistry. Research areas include mantle geodynamics (ridges, mantle plumes, volcanism), geochemistry of volatile elements, and fluid circulation in the crust.

Tobias Fischer • University of New Mexico, USA 

Professor. Research areas include active volcanism, fluid geochemistry, volatile flux from magmas into the atmosphere through volcanism, and field and remote sensing. 

Elizabeth Cottrell • Smithsonian Institution, USA 

Director of the Global Volcanism Program at Smithsonian Institution. Research areas include planetary evolution, volcanism, and the extreme conditions that drive magmatic processes in planetary interiors. 

Sources of Further Information:

Icelandic Met Office (IMO): IMO is a public institution run under the banner of Iceland’s Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources. It is responsible for monitoring natural hazards in Iceland. Updates on volcanic activity are posted several times a day.

Nordic Volcanological Center (NordVulk): NordVulk, based in Reykjavík, Iceland, specializes in research on volcanology and related fields. Visit their website for updated details on Icelandic volcanoes with graphics and webcam footage. 

Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program (GVP): GVP is a comprehensive resource on global volcanic activity. Weekly reports are posted on Wednesdays with news and details of current volcanic unrest around the world. The GVP Facebook page is also regularly updated.

Wired Science Blogs / ERUPTIONS: This blog is written by Erik Klemetti, an assistant professor of Geosciences at Denison University, USA. He writes regularly and accurately, and is currently following the Bárðarbunga situation. 

http://baering.github.io/: This website updates every minute with seismic data from Bárðarbunga. There is also a live webcam feed from the volcano. 

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