From Iceland — Worries Over Bárðarbunga Eruption Rise

Worries Over Bárðarbunga Eruption Rise

Published September 10, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photo by
Oddur Sigurðsson/Veðurstofan

Fears of an eruption at Bárðarbunga continue to rise as the volcano’s caldera sinks further and more seismic activity is recorded in the area, reports RÚV.

According to geologists and Civil Protection and Emergency Management (CPEM) the developments at Bárðarbunga are raising concerns. Representatives of the CPEM will meet with Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson to discuss the matter today.

Three scenarios are likely going forward. The first, that seismic activity around Holuhraun will cease and the eruption there end. Secondly, that the Bárðarbunga caldera will continue to sink but that an eruption will happen elsewhere.

“The third scenario,” said geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson. “Is the sinking caldera could signal that Bárðarbunga will erupt, which would melt a lot of ice and produce a lot of ash. It’s possible that the melted water might not make it out of the caldera right away but eventually it would also cause a great deal of glacial flooding.”

This is the scenario which the representatives of the Civil Protection and Emergency Management fear the most.

“If we look back at history, then we can see that this is a big and active volcano and we should take it seriously,” Víðir Reynisson department manager at CPEM told RÚV. “Historically there have been very big eruptions in and around Bárðarbunga and it would be naive of us not to be concerned about, and prepare ourselves for, an eruption event.”

Meanwhile, Norway’s NRK reports that the smell of brimstone has been plaguing North Norwegian beaches. It is believed that the smell derives from the massive plumes of sulfur dioxide that have emanated from Holuhraun since its eruption. Although sulfur dioxide is toxic, it does not pose any danger to the Norwegians as it is already  thoroughly diluted by the time it reaches their shores.

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