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Continued Activity in Holuhraun and Bárðarbunga

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Continued Activity in Holuhraun and Bárðarbunga

Dark plume of ash over the Holuhraun eruption.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection reports insubstantial changes to the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun over the last few weeks in its latest update, released yesterday. Although the power of the eruption has diminished, it is still quite forceful. The flow of lava is now largely under the surface of solidified lava.

Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga under Vatnajökull glacier continues to be strong, although it has decreased somewhat. The largest earthquake since the last meeting of the Advisory Board on January 9 was of magnitude 4.7, occurring on Saturday, January 10. In total 16 earthquakes between magnitude 4.0 and 5.0 were recorded over the period and 13 between magnitude 3.0 and 4.0.

Over 20 earthquakes were detected in the intrusive dike, connecting the volcano with the Holuhraun eruption site, in the same period, all of them smaller than magnitude 2.0.

Six earthquakes have been detected in Tungnafellsjökull glacier since Friday. The biggest was magnitude 2.1, occurring early yesterday morning. Around 20 earthquakes were detected around Herðubreið mountain, all of which were smaller than magnitude 2.0.

GPS measurements near northern Vatnajökull show continued slow deflation towards Bárðarbunga. The GPS station in Bárðarbunga caldera show that the caldera continues to subside.

High values of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emitted by the eruption are still being recorded. Over the weekend high values were recorded in Höfn in Southeast Iceland (3400 μ/m³) and in Reyðarfjörður (1000 μ/m³) and Jökuldalur (7800 μ/m³) in East Iceland.

Indications are of increased respiratory symptoms in Iceland over the period of the volcanic eruption. No serious cases have been reported, though, as the Advisory Board concludes.

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