The Icelandic Met Office has decided to lower the alert phase for flights over Bárðarbunga volcano in the northwestern Vatnajökull glacier from red to orange. The latest studies have concluded that there was no volcanic eruption in Dyngjujökull outlet glacier yesterday.
While the closures and evacuations imposed yesterday have not been lifted, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management at the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police have lowered their alert phase from ‘emergency’ to ‘danger.’
RÚV reporter Lára Ómarsdóttir flew over Dyngjujökull, Vatnajökull outlet glacier, this morning and stated that that there are no signs of the seismic activity around Bárðarbunga. The water flow in glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which is expected to flood in the case of an eruption, appears to be normal, she said.
Kristín Jónsdóttir, program director at the Icelandic Met Office told RÚV that scientists are trying to find out what the activity interpreted as an eruption yesterday means.
The data was comparable to data of previous eruptions in Vatnajökull and so scientists concluded that an eruption had started, Kristín explained.
“Both measurements of conductivity in rivers and observations from the air confirm that there was no eruption, so we have to seek other explanations and haven’t come to a conclusion yet,” she said.
The activity in Dyngjujökull continues moving to the north and the magma intrusion is now believed to be 30 kilometers (18 miles) long. The seismic activity in Bárðarbunga and Dyngjujökull remains intense with sensors picking up 700 earthquakes since midnight.
The earthquakes, two of which hit last night were stronger than 5 magnitude, have also been growing in size and this morning two earthquakes of a magnitude higher than 4 hit in the magma intrusion in Dyngjujökull. Great volume of magma is believed to be in the intrusion.
The Icelandic Met Office stresses that while no volcanic eruption has occurred in the area so far, there are no indications of seismic activity subsiding and so an eruption might still be coming up.
An Air Berlin flight which was scheduled to land at Keflavík International Airport at 11:55 pm last night was canceled due to news of a volcanic eruption in Dyngjujökull. The airline’s management didn’t want to risk the airplane being stuck in Iceland, ruv.is reports.
Other airlines have kept their schedules unchanged.