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Icelandic Volcano Not In Imminent Danger of Erupting

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Icelandic Volcano Not In Imminent Danger of Erupting

The lava at Holuhraun running into river Jökulsá á Fjöllum

Bárðarbunga last erupted in Holuhraun, between the years 2014-15. Photo: Bernard Meric.

A number of news media around the world have featured Icelandic volcano Bárðarbunga, after British media such as The Daily Star, Daily Mail and The Sun reported claims that it was ready to erupt. Experts at the Icelandic Met Office consider the claims to be overestimated.

This is due to a number of earthquakes taking place in the area, the last of which was measured at M4.7, the largest measured earthquake since its last eruption.

The Mirror's report states that Bárðarbunga "is ready to BLOW" with experts warning that the ensuing ash cloud could travel to Europe and cause devastation, akin to the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

Based on an interview with Icelandic volcanology expert Páll Einarsson, he explained that the 2014 eruption was close to taking place underneath a glacier, which would‘ve resulted in a more severe eruption.

Gunnar B. Guðmundsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Met Office claims that Páll‘s words were most likely misinterpreted and blown up by foreign media. "These types of quakes have been quite common since the autumn of 2015, taking place every couple of weeks or so," Gunnar explains that they are a direct consequence of the Bárðarbunga caldera balancing itself after the eruption. "These quakes don‘t really tell us anything. They‘ve all been very similar, and there isn‘t any measured volcanic unrest."

Magma appears to be accumulating in the Bárðarbunga caldera, which is quite normal for such volcanoes. "It will most likely erupt sometime again. It might take a while though because it would require a lot of pressure. Could be years or even decades."

Gunnar clarified that the seismic activity might continue for a number of years without any signs of an imminent eruption. "Of course, we can never rule out an eruption, but currently there‘s nothing that indicates one in the near future. We will continue to monitor the area very carefully."

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