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ALERT: Activity in Bárðarbunga volcano

17.8.2014

The National Commissioner of Police and the District Commissioner of Police at Hvolsvöllur and Húsavík have declared a Civil Protection Uncertainty phase due to unrest in Bárðabunga.

Bárðarbunga is a central volcano, located underneath the ice cap of Vatnajökull (northwest corner). It is impossible to say if this unrest will result in a volcanic eruption. It is also impossible to tell whether an eruption in this volcano system would take place underneath the ice cap or next to it.

The area next to Bárðarbunga is hard to reach, and hard to get out of. People traveling in the area are urged to notify park rangers or police of their presence, as the situation in the area can change without much notice.

Over the last seven years seismic activity has been gradually increasing in Bárðarbunga and the fissure swarm north of the volcano. This activity dropped down at the Grímsvötn eruption in May 2011, but soon after, the activity started to gradually increase again and has now reached similar level of activity to that just before the Grímsvötn eruption. Earlier this year, in the middle of May 2014, there was a small swarm of over 200 events and now the present swarm has already generated at least 300 earthquakes.

At 11:00 on August 17, there is no unequivocal indication that magma has reached the surface.

For preliminary results of seismic activity in Bárðarbunga please visit the Icelandic Met Office website: http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/vatnajokull/