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Three Big Quakes Hit Bárðarbunga in 24 Hours

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Three Big Quakes Hit Bárðarbunga in 24 Hours

The Holuhraun eruption

The Holuhraun eruption seen from a distance. Photo: Zoë Robert.

Three earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or larger have hit the area around Bárðarbunga volcano in Vatnajökull glacier in the last 24 hours, although no major quake has been recorded since noon yesterday. In the past days, earthquakes around magnitude 5.0 have occurred in the area at an interval of approximately 30 hours.

Kristín Jónsdóttir, director of the Icelandic Met Office’s natural hazard division, told ruv.is that the seismic activity in the area is extremely high. Significant energy is unleashed when the earthquakes hit and they occur in consistency with the subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera, she explained.

Kristín believes that the quakes are caused by magma flowing out of the caldera and into the intrusive dike, which formed in August, and erupting from the craters in Holuhraun.

On Friday, sensors recorded more than 40 minor earthquakes at Tungnafellsjökull glacier, about 20 km (13 miles) northwest of Bárðarbunga. A volcano lies under the icecap but not much is known about its activity. Scientists are following the developments, ruv.is reports.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas pollution from the eruption will likely be carried to the east of the eruption site today and to the southeast tomorrow, as can be seen in the Met Office’s forecast.

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