So, yeah: buried the lead a bit.
We’re kinda sorta maybe likely to have a volcanic eruption here in Iceland soon.
Really: it will all work out. But yes, there is an increasing likeliness that the Bárðarbunga volcano, at the northwest corner of Vatnajökull glacier, is going to blow soon. Observe:
- This weekend, Bárðarbunga was assigned a “Code Yellow” by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) colour system. What does that mean? Well, per the Grapevine write-up: “Specifically, code yellow means “Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level.”
- There had been over 1,000 small earthquakes under/around the glacier, with about 800 of those measuring 1-2 on the Richter scale, and 10 measuring 3.
- Then, yesterday, the Icelandic Met Office confirmed that the likeliness of an eruption is increasing:
“The Icelandic Met Office reports “very strong indications of ongoing magma movement, in connection with dyke intrusion [and that this] is corroborated by GPS measurements”.
At the same time, they emphasise that “as evidence of magma movement shallower than 10 km implies increased potential of a volcanic eruption, the Bárðarbunga aviation color code has been changed to orange. Presently there are no signs of eruption, but it cannot be excluded that the current activity will result in an explosive subglacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood (jökulhlaup) and ash emission.”
Search and rescue planes have been called back from the area, and Vísir reports that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has been briefed by the police and civil defence authorities on the situation.”
Nevertheless: be cool, everybody. For one, aren’t we glad that “Bárðarbunga” (B-owr [as rhymes with “wow”] thar-boon-ga) is soooo much easier to say than “Eyjafjallajökull“? (Djók!)
But really: we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out this neat time-lapse video of all the earthquakes under Báðarbunga in the last 72 hours compressed into 10 seconds.