Iceland volcano: Bardarbunga hit by largest earthquake since eruption fears began
Scientists say migrating magma could reach surface and cause eruption
Tuesday 26 August 2014
The Icelandic volcano that experts fear could erupt and cause significant disruption to air travel was hit by the largest earthquake since tremors began 10 days ago, the country's Meteorological Office said on Tuesday.
Intense seismic activity at Bardarbunga volcano has raised worries that an eruption could cause another ash cloud like that from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010, which shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days.
“There was one event during the night ... it was a magnitude 5.7 (quake), the largest in this series,” Palni Erlendsson, a geologist at the Met Office said.
“Activity is still deep and we see no signs of anything close to the surface.”
On Sunday, Iceland lowered its warning code for possible volcanic disruption to the aviation industry to orange from red, the highest level on the country's five-point alert system, after concluding that seismic activity had not led to a volcanic eruption under the glacier.
Video: Bardarbunga Volcano in 2011
Red alert indicates an eruption is imminent or underway with a significant emission of ash likely.
Met Office scientists believe the earthquakes are a result of magma flowing out from under the crater of the volcano, causing a change in pressure.
The migration of magma — estimated at around 300 million cubic metres (10.6 billion cubic feet) along a 35 kilometre (21 miles) dyke by Icelandic scientists on Monday — could stop. That should lead to a gradual reduction in seismic activity.
But the magma could also reach the surface away from the glacier. This would probably lead to an eruption, but with limited explosive, ash-producing activity, scientists said.
If the magma reaches the surface under the glacier, that would lead to flooding and possibly an explosive eruption and ash production, they added. An eruption inside the Bardarbunga caldera is also possible, but scientists say less likely than the other scenarios.
Air travel across Europe was severely hit after the volcano near Eyjafjallajoekull glacier erupted in 2010 “We still can't say whether it will cease, continue like this for a while or erupt. It's impossible to say,” Erlendsson said.
There have been thousands of smaller quakes over the past week at Bardarbunga. Areas around the volcano, in the centre of the North Atlantic island nation, have been evacuated.
Bardarbunga is in a different range to Eyjafjallajokull.
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall could push even more bargain-hunters online for Christmas sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...