Volcanic eruption begins under Iceland’s (and Europe’s) largest glacier

Dyngjujokull eruption begins – It’s all subglacial for now

Iceland’s Dyngjujokull volcano began erupting today, prompting the country to raise its aviation alert level to red, the country’s Meteorological Office said. However, the eruption is still just considered a minor event at this point

Dyngjujokull volcano is not far from Bárðarbunga, which gave us the largest eruption of the Holocene (this era).

An alert level of red — the highest level — indicates the threat of “significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.” Meanwhile, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the alert phase to emergency phase.

Seismic data indicates that hot magma is melting the ice beneath the Dyngjujokull icecap on the Vatnajokull glacier, said Met Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer.

She said it could take up to a day for the ice — which is 330 to 1,300 feet (100 to 400 m) thick — to melt. Or, it’s also possible that the eruption might remain contained beneath the glacier.

If the eruption does melt through the ice, the amount of ash produced depends on the thickness of the ice, Pfeffer explained.

“The thicker the ice, the more water there is, the more explosive it will be and the more ash-rich the eruption will be,” she said.

Vatnajokull glacier, which lies 200 miles (320 km) east of the capital of Reykjavik, is not only the largest glacier in Iceland, it is the largest glacier in Europe.

A 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano produced an ash cloud that forced cancellation of more than 100,000 flights and stranded millions.

The largest eruption of the Holocene (this era) was at the Bardarbunga volcano caldera.”

“Observations are now showing the beginning of deflation in the caldera,” says reader Beano. “There is a 25 kilometer dyke (or trench) under the ice where magma is flowing.” (I don’t know where Beano got this info.)

“Deflation is not a good thing – let’s hope it stabilizes,” says Beano. “The last thing that the planet need would be a caldera collapse with all that ice on top.”

“The resulting phreatic explosion and then eruption would be catastrophic. You would hear the bang both in the lower 48 and Europe.

“If reports are issued of rapidly continuing Bardarbunga volcano caldera deflation be prepared to start to hold goodbye parties.

“Another reminder. The largest eruption of the Holocene (this era) was at the Bardarbunga volcano caldera.”

(Confirmed: According to volcanodiscovery.com, “approximately 8600 years ago, Bárðarbunga produced the largest known lava flow during the past 10,000 years on earth (more than 21 cubic kilometers of volume.”)




See map:


Thanks to Beano, Marque, Ron de Haan, David Wigtil, Joe Banks, Argiris Diamantis and Tom O’Hara for these links

“They also said that glacier-coated volcanoes tend to erupt more violently due to the ice and with more ash,” says Marque.

31 thoughts on “Volcanic eruption begins under Iceland’s (and Europe’s) largest glacier”

  1. I don’t know how its possible but someone somewhere will blame this on us.

    See where the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station in the Mojave isn’t getting enough sun to do its job? Yeah, now the want to use natural gas to power it. That will release the same amount of CO2 as 16,500 cars annualy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    I wonder if that includes the CO2 released when that thing sets live birds on fire?


    • No this is not a super volcano. It will not throw the ash that a Yellowstone would, but this is a high latitude volcano, and if the eruption in as large as its past eruptions, It could drop the world temperature quite a bit. I believe it is not the ash but the sulfur dioxide that is released by this volcano that is of major concern since it will have greater effect on reflecting solar energy back in to space. This could be the start of more than just a “mini ice age” due to the amount of heat that will be reflected back into space. One last thought, if I remember correctly, eruptions from this area load much more toxic gases into the atmosphere, and the effects on health in Europe, say, will not be insignificant.

  2. Just a note to indicate where the information regarding the dyke came from…


    This is a short update. I am still a little sick (sigh) so it’s a bit hard for me to work properly.

    Information here is going to get outdated quickly and without warning.

    Few short points on current activity in Bárðarbunga volcano.
    ◾Earthquake activity is high today (22-August-2014). There is less earthquake activity today than was yesterday (21-August-2014).
    ◾Dyke formation continues at depth of 5 to 10 km. The push north seems to have stopped or slowed. Currently it is estimated that the dyke is getting wider. There also less resistance in the crust (appears to be), leading to fewer earthquakes taking place. This dyke is now estimated to be 25 km long.
    ◾Bárðarbunga caldera appears to have given away due to less magma holding it up. As magma has flowed into the dyke. It is now estimated that 200 million m³ of magma has flowed into the dyke.
    ◾Inflation so far is 20 cm according to news on Rúv with information from Icelandic Met Office.
    ◾So far around 5000 earthquakes have been recorded since this activity started on 16-August-2014.

    There are also signs that this might be a start of a new eruption cycle for Bárðarbunga volcano. Not all events in this cycle are going to lead to an eruption. This is the same pattern as took place in Krafla volcano during it’s eruption cycle [Wikipedia information, University of Iceland information]. It remains to be seen if this idea is true in part or whole.

  3. Why; that’s Global Warming melting these Glaciers. The magma and crust are warming, the ice melts, no man made carbon emissions here. And as an added bonus high altitude volcanic ash and aerosols to reduce solar loading of the oceans and atomosphere; resulting in decreased temperatures.

  4. Robert, thanks for posting so early. I’ve just been looking at the first images of ash, steam and smoke coming up.

  5. Robert-
    I found this reference on a blog to a cruise ship stuck in the ice trying to make the NW passage, but all I get when I try to research it is crap. Don’t know if this is media censorship, my own ineptness on the internet, or a false report. Maybe you would have better luck. http://northwestpassage2014.blogspot.com/

  6. How much SO2 gets into the atmosphere if enough of those volcanoes under the glacier burn their way through and erupt for a long time? Could that part of Iceland become a real hell on earth just like an eruption on the big island of Hawaii that erupts for months and years? Something like Laki or worse?

    • Hawaii has shield volcanoes which erupt but not explosively. If the magma has high quartz content it tends to explode violently – like on the West coast of the USA.

      I think this volcano can explode violently, but it is due to large amounts of water hutting the magma, which causes violent explosions. If the magma chamber does not collapse allowing the water to rush in – the eruption won’t be that big.

      At this point the volcano already seems to be petering out.

  7. From a comment on WattsUPWiththat…

    Agust Bjarnason says:

    August 22, 2014 at 7:13 am

    —Met Office: 25 km long dyke formed—

    ruv.is/volcano 22.08.2014 13:46 GMT/UT

    A 25 kilometer long dyke intrusion has formed, north and east of the Bardarbunga caldera. Intense seismic activity continues there. Strong earthquakes have been detected in the caldera itself, but they are associated with decompression of the magma chamber beneath the caldera.

    According to the Icelandic Met office (www.en.vedur.is) there are no signs that seismicity is decreasing. A 25 kilometer long dyke has formed in the crust under the Dyngjujokull outlet glacier at 5 – 10 km. depth. Magma is thought to countinue to move along the dyke, possibly branching out at the NE end of the dyke.

    Several strong earthquakes have been detected in the Bardarbunga itself; the last one, magnitude 3,5, at around 11 GMT this morning, These events are thought to reflect an adjustment of the caldera rim, related to decompression in the caldera since the beginning of the unrest six days ago.

    Land displacement measurement with GPS around the volcano show up to 14 centimeter drift since the unrest began, on August 16. Annual drift in Iceland, due to crustal plate movements, is about 2 cm.

    „A new GPS station in Kverkfjöll is now running and sending data. Similar seismic instruments were installed by Kverkfjöll yesterday, as well as close to the GPS station at Hamarinn, which was set up two days ago. In addition, two seismic stations set up in Dyngjujökull yesterday are collecting data on site. This work is done in collaboration between IMO, the Institute of Earth Sciences and collaborators in the European FutureVolc research project.“ (Icelandic Met Office).

    The evacuation order for the area north of Vatnajokull is still in effect. The area north of Route 1 (including Dettifoss, Hljodaklettar, Asbyrgi) is still open to the general public.

    This story, by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), was updated on 22 August 2014, at13.45 GMT.

    Updates in English will be posted at: ruv.is/volcano

  8. They now think there may not have been an eruption yesterday. Two 5+ earthquakes today. If we get a fissure eruption it could be worse than a big badaboom eruption, look up what laki did to the uk and europe in 1783.
    Sorry about The fifth Element reference – my favourite film!

  9. wow wow wow and I just sussed the enver whatsit page and only the one biggish shake shows.
    steam? exciting:-)

  10. First there mag. 3 and 4 quakes..now on Sunday two 5+ mag quakes (5.1 and 5.3) Are mag. 6 quakes next or even higher in the coming days possible? Wonder how big of a quake it will take to trigger a fullscale eruption! Couldn’t happen at a worse time..If volcanic Ashclouds begin to blanket the Northern Hemisphere, along with the Polar Vortex frequently coming down over the central US, my guess is that it will contribute to an even more brutaly cold prolonged Winter as predicted!

  11. Drought in Brazil
    Márcio Accioly

    40 million people are being threatened by the worst drought encompassing seven states in Brazil. The lack of water is already causing problems in reservoirs and looming ahead the phantom of an energy collapse in a short period of time. Daily the dams are losing their potential for retaining water at what is now considered a very high percentage.

    On Sunday, August 24, O Globo, one of the most important Brazilian newspapers brought a reportage showing the extent of the dramatic situation which will affect the whole country. The rivers are drying drastically. The production of food is already being reduced. Brazil has no political leadership whatsoever to face the magnitude of an issue like this.

    The upcoming presidential and governmental elections, to be held on October 5, drains all possible good intentions of Brazilian so-called political leaderships whose main attention is focused in getting a new term. All of them are involved in schemes and deep accusations of frauds and continuous deviation of public funds while preaching lies to win the election at any price. Here is a link: http://oglobo.globo.com/brasil/seca-ameaca-40-milhoes-de-pessoas-que-dependem-de-seis-bacias-hidrograficas-13711151 .

  12. Robert,

    I just discovered your website and have been reading some of your work. Thank you, dear sir, for being a clear voice in a sea of idiots.

    Earth is racing toward an ice age. It will happen very, very quickly and as a result, many humans will have to relocate to survive.

    Your work is intelligent, timely and accurate and needs a much wider audience in our world but, unfortunately, as you’ve seen in your travels, meaningful and substantive information is supressed by an unseen power and this power exists at all levels in our global society.

    This is why you continue to confront ridiculous and naive assumptions and conclusions by people who are educated and seem quite clever.

    To accept into your waking consciousness that a network of control exists around Earth and that this network subjugates humans in every manner possible requires a substantial leap in understanding and awakening.

    You, dear sir, are at the threshold.

    The ice age is coming, as you well know, and with it is coming so much more.

    Mike V.

    • well spoken Mike….it is the human stupidity that gives those in power that power….nothing can be done agianst that, exept education education and education…
      and in that field Robert is a decan emeritius with all honours….

  13. I would not get too worried about what is reported in the Daily Express .. it regularly reports sensationally future weather forecasts that turn out to be off the mark.

    However the theme of a volcanic event in Iceland causing an exceptionally cold winter in UK/USA/Europe is an established historical fact then might occur again … followed by a year without a summer (research the phrase “year without a summer”) and the associated reduction in crop yields, and poisonous gas clouds that spread far beyond Iceland.

    Thankfully the vast majority of eruptions are not severe enough .. it’s like Russian roulette, one never knows which event will be the next killer event.

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