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Report on Bardarbunga (Iceland) — 1 January-7 January 1920

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 January-7 January 1920
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1920. Report on Bardarbunga (Iceland). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 January-7 January 1920. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (1 January-7 January 1920)



64.633°N, 17.516°W; summit elev. 2000 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

GPS stations showed movement upward and away from the volcano since early June 2014. Earthquakes increased on 16 August. By 18 August there had been 2,600 earthquakes detected at the volcano; earthquake locations from N and E swarms had been migrating NE, but in the evening activity of the N swarm had decreased significantly. GPS and seismic data indicated that an intrusive dike had increased from 25 to 40 km in length E, NE, and N of the volcano during the next week. On 29 August a small fissure eruption started in Holuhraun along an old fissure about 600 m in length. A fissure eruption ensued, bringing in spectators from all over the world and producing remarkable photographs and video. A local chef had cooked a fancy dinner on the lava flow for a lucky couple.

Figure (see Caption)
Aerial view Bardarbunga fissure eruptions taken on 4 September 2014. The fissure venting these eruptions is in Holuhraun lava field. Courtesy of Peter Hartree (peter@reykjavikcoworking.is).

Geologic Background. The large central volcano of Bárðarbunga lies beneath the NW part of the Vatnajökull icecap, NW of Grímsvötn volcano, and contains a subglacial 700-m-deep caldera. Related fissure systems include the Veidivötn and Trollagigar fissures, which extend about 100 km SW to near Torfajökull volcano and 50 km NE to near Askja volcano, respectively. Voluminous fissure eruptions, including one at Thjorsarhraun, which produced the largest known Holocene lava flow on Earth with a volume of more than 21 km3, have occurred throughout the Holocene into historical time from the Veidivötn fissure system. The last major eruption of Veidivötn, in 1477, also produced a large tephra deposit. The subglacial Loki-Fögrufjöll volcanic system to the SW is also part of the Bárðarbunga volcanic system and contains two subglacial ridges extending from the largely subglacial Hamarinn central volcano; the Loki ridge trends to the NE and the Fögrufjöll ridge to the SW. Jökulhlaups (glacier-outburst floods) from eruptions at Bárðarbunga potentially affect drainages in all directions.