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Holuhraun Eruption: Status Report

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Holuhraun Eruption: Status Report

Holuhraun eruption

Photo: Ólafur Haraldsson.

Scientists flew over the Holuhraun eruption site on Friday. The lava field was measured and the depressions in Dyngjujökull were photographed with radar.

During the last week the eruption has continued at a similar intensity and with similar lava flow.

The Scientific Advisory Board of the Department of Civil Protection in Iceland issued the following report this morning:

The GPS station in the center of Bárðarbunga is currently inactive so no data has been received over the last three days. Repair is on the way.

Twenty-one earthquakes greater than M3.0 were recorded in or around the caldera during the 48 hours to 11:30 this morning. The largest ones were M5.2 at 08:43 and 21:23 on Sunday.

Little seismic activity is now detected in the northern part of the dyke and around the eruption site.

GPS measurements show minor movements. No great changes were detected.

No change was detected in water monitoring that cannot be explained by changing weather.

Air quality: Today (Monday) light southerly winds are expected with the possibility of gas pollution north of the eruption site, from Eyjafjörður to Melrakkaslétta. Tomorrow (Tuesday), light variable winds are expected with the possibility of gas pollution to the north and northeast of the volcano, from Mývatn to Hallormsstaður. A map showing the gas forecast can be found on the web page of the Icelandic Met Office. An interactive map showing the gas distribution can be seen at www.vedur.is/vedur/spar/gasdreifing​.

The Icelandic Met Office has a form on its web-page for the public to report if they have detected gas pollution. A link to the page can be found on the Icelandic version of the web page under Skrá mengun.

Instructions: People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close their windows, turn up the heat and turn off air conditioning. Use periods of good air quality to ventilate the house. People experiencing adverse effects should be in immediate contact with their healthcare center. Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage www.airquality.is The Icelandic Met Office issues forecast on its web-page and warnings if conditions change to the worse.

Three scenarios are considered most likely:

- The eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually and subsidence of the Bárðarbunga​ caldera stops.

- Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jokulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.

- Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jokulhlaup, accompanied by ash fall.

Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office: The Aviation Color Code for Bárðarbunga​ remains at ‘orange.’

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