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New Risk Map for Holuhraun Eruption

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New Risk Map for Holuhraun Eruption

The lava at Holuhraun running into river Jökulsá á Fjöllum

The eruption in September. Photo: Bernard Meric.

A new risk analysis for the area around the Holuhraun eruption is currently being conducted and a new risk map will be issued next week, according to the latest Scientific Advisory Board of the Department of Civil Protection, issued yesterday.

A visible reduction in the eruption has been seen over the last two weeks. GPS measurements near the northern part of Vatnajökull glacier shows continuing slow deflation towards Bárðarbunga caldera.

A team of technicians from The Icelandic Met Office, Institute of Earth Sciences, and The Department of Civil Protection have been working on maintenance of measuring equipment on Vatnajökull and in the surrounding area. The GPS station in Bárðarbunga is back online and will be visible on Icelandic Met Office’s website as before.

The highest levels of SO2 since Tuesday February 3 were recorded in Vopnafjörður, East Iceland, on Tuesday when levels reached 800 µg/m³. Pollution measurements can be viewed at airquality.is. More information is available at the website of the Directorate of Health.

Seismic activity in Bárðarbunga continues to be strong. The strongest earthquake since Tuesday was a magnitude 4.9 earthquake at 03:48 this morning.

The volcanic eruption has now been ongoing for five months. The lava flow is still great in Holuhraun and the rate of subsidence of Bárðarbunga is still significant. Three scenarios are considered most likely:

- The eruption in Holuhraun continues until the subsidence of the caldera stops. The eruption may continue for many months.

- The volcanic fissure may lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier. If such an eruption would be prolonged it could eventually produce a lava flow.

- A volcanic eruption in the Bárðarbunga caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup, accompanied by ash fall.

Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

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