Bizarro Earth

Iceland volcano blasts back to life

Iceland Lava Fountains
© University of Iceland/Ármann Höskuldsson
Lava fountains during an Iceland eruption on Aug. 31.
A new volcanic eruption in southeast Iceland on Sunday (Aug. 31) fountained lava nearly 200 feet (60 meters) into the air.

Lava is spewing from the same crack as a small eruption that occurred Friday (Aug. 29). The fissure slices through the 200-year-old Holuhraun lava field, between Bardarbunga volcano and Askja volcano.

The "calm" eruption is 50 times more powerful than Friday's outburst, according to the Iceland Met Office. Lava was streaming from the fissure at 15.9 million gallons per minute (1,000 cubic meters per second) at 7 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Sunday, three hours after the flare-up began. The basalt flow covered almost 2 miles (3 kilometers) by mid-morning local time. The crack feeding the lava flow has also expanded to the north and south, and is now almost 1 mile (1.5 km) long.

The eruption can be seen on live webcams here and here, though a storm severely lowered visibility Sunday.

Emergency officials briefly raised the aviation alert warning to red, but no commercial flights have been affected.

Volcanic fissure erupted in Holuhraun, near Dyngjujökull Glacier

Screenshots from a webcam set up by Icelandic telecom company Mila show the eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.
After an earthquake hit in the area, a volcanic eruption occurred Friday in Iceland, resulting in a temporary no-fly order.

The eruption started in Holuhraun, north of the Dyngjujökull Glacier, which is located in northern Vatnajökull, just after midnight Friday, local time, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.

Scientists who are in the area close to the eruption estimate that the volcanic fissure in Holuhraun is about 1 km (0.62 miles) long, according to the Iceland Civil Protection Department.

Four likely scenarios exist for future seismic and volcanic activity in the area, government officials said.

They include the migration of magma stopping, which would result in a gradual reduction in seismic activity and no further eruptions; a dike could reach the Earth's surface north of Dyngjujökull causing another eruption, possibly on a new fissure; or an eruption occurs again where either the fissure is partly or entirely beneath Dyngjujökull and likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity, according to the Met Office website.

The fourth scenario is for Bardarbunga to erupt, causing an outburst flood and possibly an explosive, ash-producing activity.
Blue Planet

Volcanoes erupting around the world this week in pictures

Restless volcanoes from around the world spew ash, steam, and concern in their wake.

© Oliver Bluett, AFP/Getty
Mount Tavurvur erupts in eastern Papua New Guinea on Friday.
The Mount Tavurvur volcano in eastern Papua New Guinea jolted awake early Friday morning, belching rocks, ash, and steam (see above) nearly 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) into the air.

Local residents evacuated their homes on Friday, and Qantas Airways modified flight paths for planes heading to Tokyo and Shanghai from Sydney, Australia, according to news reports. (Watch video: "Volcano 101.")

The last time Mount Tavurvur erupted, in 1994 - at the same time as nearby Mount Vulcan - both volcanoes destroyed the town of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

Comment: Actually, they missed some impressive activity. Check out Sott Worldview's volcanic entries from this past week for more information:

Blue Planet

Papua New Guinea Mount Tavurvur volcano erupts

Mt Tavurvur eruption
© Emma Edwards
The ash cloud is spreading at heights of 60,000 feet.
Residents near an erupting volcano in Papua New Guinea are waiting to see if they need to evacuate, and a giant ash cloud is affecting some flights to and from Australia.

Mt Tavurvur, in East New Britain province, began erupting overnight. The volcano destroyed nearby Rabaul township in 1994, and residents fear a repeat, PNGLoop reported.

Authorities were still considering the situation.

The eruption, which began between around 3.30am local time, caused explosions strong enough to rattle residents' windows.

Ash covered Rabaul and shops were closed, but otherwise life was continuing as normal, PNGLoop reported.


Iceland lowers alert for erupting volcano and reopens airspace

Iceland Bardarbunga volcano
The Icelandic Met Office has lowered its aviation warning from red to orange near the Bardarbunga volcano, which saw an eruption begin overnight.

The new alert, the second-highest, means that aviation authorities can now decide if planes may travel over the volcano's airspace.

Scientists said a fissure eruption 1km (0.6 miles) long started in a lava field north of the Vatnajokull glacier.

The volcano has been hit by several recent tremors.

The Icelandic Met Office confirmed to the BBC that since no ash was detected in emissions from the volcano's eruption, it was now possible to downgrade the earlier alert level.

Civil protection officials said Icelandic Air Traffic Control had closed the airspace above the eruption up to a height of 5,000ft (1,500m), but now some aircraft will be able to pass over the volcano if aviation authorities give airliners the go-ahead.

The fissure eruption took place between Dyngjujokull Glacier and the Askja caldera, according to a statement from the Department of Civil Protection.

Sub-glacial eruption of Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano forms deep 'cauldrons' of melted ice

Icelandic volcano activity increased on Wednesday, with scientists detecting 10-15 meters deep cauldrons of melted ice at the Vatnajökull glacier, prompting fears of an imminent eruption.
© Reuters / Sigtryggur Johannsson

A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) away, in the north-west region of the Vatnajokull glacier August 19, 2014.
Icelandic scientists have detected a series of 10-15m deep cauldrons at Bardarbunga volcano glacier. They apparently are a result of melting following a sub-glacial eruption, the Icelandic Civil Protection Scientific Advisory Board reported. A surveillance flight over the surface of Vatnajokull has shown the cauldrons to be 1 km wide, located in a straight line some 4-6 kilometers south of the Bardarbunga caldera.
The 10-15 m deep cauldrons, 1 km wide, south of the #Bárðarbunga caldera. Picture by
- Almannavarnir (@almannavarnir) August 28, 2014
"The cauldrons have been formed as a result of melting, possibly a sub-glacial eruption, uncertain when," country's Meteorological Office said, pointing out that the data is still being analyzed.

"During the night (Wednesday) we have had three larger events, two of them in the Bardarbunga caldera. Those were 5.2 and 5.3, and very similar to the events that we have seen there before," Palmi Erlendsson, a geologist at the Met Office told the country's RTE news.

At the same time, scientists have registered more than 1,300 earthquakes since midnight Wednesday. Meanwhile 50km to the north, a 4.5 magnitude quake shook the Askja volcano, presumably because magma from Bardarbunga crater is traveling in that direction.

Comment: Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes and flooding all in one: Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano 'cauldrons'

Bizarro Earth

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes and flooding all in one: Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano 'cauldrons'

barbarbunga cauldrons
Scientists in Iceland say they are examining several 'cauldrons' found near Bardarbunga volcano, which could potentially be a sign of an eruption.

The cauldrons, depressions in the volcano's surface, each between 10-15m (49 ft) deep and 1km (0.6 miles) wide, were seen during a flight on Wednesday.

Iceland's Met Office said they were formed "as a result of melting, possibly a sub-glacial eruption."

Bardarbunga volcano has been hit by several recent tremors.

The area experienced a magnitude 5.7 earthquake on Tuesday. Experts say these earthquakes are caused as magma flows beneath the ground, cracking the rocks as it moves.

The Met Office has kept its aviation warning level - indicating the potential threat of volcanic activity to air travel - at orange, its second-highest.

Comment: Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano: Magma moving towards new volcanic system


Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano: Magma moving towards new volcanic system

monitoring volcano

The University of Cambridge is monitoring the area with 70 seismometers
The magma from Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano could be moving towards another large volcanic system.

Data recorded by a team from the University of Cambridge suggests that 50 million cubic metres of molten rock has moved in the last 24 hours.

If it continues on a northern trajectory it could feed into the Askja volcanic system, potentially triggering a large eruption.

Prof Bob White said: "It's headed straight for it."

But he cautioned that volcanoes were hard to predict.

"It's moving at about 4km a day towards Askja, and if it keeps going it will get there in a few days," he told BBC News.

"We know there is a lot of molten rock sitting under the ground beneath Askja, which is a major volcanic system. If this molten rock hits that, we know it is likely to trigger it to erupt.

"But who knows, it may just stop. It is still at 5km-depth, and it is possible it could freeze there and not a lot more will happen. That is perfectly plausible."

Comment: Click Play below to see the volcanic activity around the world map for the month of August. The Ring of Fire is active as well as the "usual suspects" in Europe:


Major seismic event imminent? Strange glowing lights seen by pilots over part of the Pacific Ring of Fire

Strange lights have been spotted near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka (image by Dutch pilot JPC van Heijst). The sighting was made by pilots flying from Hong Kong to Alaska. The glow came about 20 minutes after a vertical lightning bolt was seen
* Strange lights have been spotted near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka

* The sighting was made by pilots flying from Hong Kong to Alaska

* The glow came about 20 minutes after a vertical lightning bolt was seen

* Dutch pilot van Heijst ruled out squid-fishing-boats as the origin

* He says the cause may have been an underwater volcano

* An ongoing investigation is taking place to find out what happened

A pilot and his co-pilot have spotted a mysterious orange and red glow over the Pacific Ocean.

The strange lights were spotted south of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka during the flight of a Boeing 747-8 from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska.

And while no explanation has yet been given, it's thought that they may have originated from the explosion of a huge volcano under the surface of the ocean.

Comment: While the current explanation for this bizarre event is that an undersea volcano erupted, we note that 20 minutes prior to seeing the red and orange glow, that appears to contain white 'hot spots', the pilot saw "an intense flash of light like a lightning bolt, directed vertically up in the distance". While there was no thunderstorm in the area, this does not preclude lightning, since lightning has occurred in virtually cloudless skies. In this case, we have to consider the possibility that an electrical discharge from the atmosphere may have ignited pockets of methane that have, coincidentally, been bubbling up from the Atlantic sea floor recently.

Bizarro Earth

Small lava-eruption detected under Dyngju­jök­ull glacier, near Bárðarbunga

©Á​rni Sæ­berg
A small lava-erupti­on has been detected und­er the Dyngju­jök­ull glacier. Dyngju­jök­ull is a part Vatna­jök­ull, not far from Bárðarbunga.

The Icelandic Co­ast Guard airpla­ne TF-SIF is flying over the area with representati­ves from the Civil Protecti­on and experts from the Icelandic Met Offic and the Institu­te of Earth Sciences. Data from the equip­ment on bo­ard is expected later today.

Data from radars and webca­meras are being recei­ved, show­ing no signs of changes at the surface.

The estima­te is that 150-400 meters of ice is abo­ve the area.

The aviati­on col­or code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.

Comment: See: Icelandic Bárðarbunga volcanic eruption begins