From Iceland — Bárðarbunga Could Sink Another 100 Metres

Bárðarbunga Could Sink Another 100 Metres

Published September 11, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photo by
Axel Sigurðarson

The Bárðarbunga caldera could sink by another 100 metres though the subsidence so far has cast uncertainty on how things will develop in the eruption area, reports RÚV.

The subsidence of Bárðarbunga caldera has now become the largest since the formation of Öskjuvatn (Askja lake), created by a volcanic eruption in 1875.

In an article on from the Institute of Earth Sciences, geophysicists Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson and Páll Einarsson write that despite these somewhat serious developments, subsidence is not a rare occurrence comparatively speaking.

The pair argue that although the Bárðarbunga caldera has sunk by 20 metres, there are recent examples of calderas subsiding by 100 metres abroad.

In their article, Magnús Tumi and Páll predict three likely outcomes.

The first scenario is that the subsidence of Bárðarbunga will cease and the eruption at Holuhraun end.

scenario 1

Courtesy of the Institute of Earth Sciences

The second is that the Bárðarbunga caldera will continue to sink but that an eruption will happen elsewhere.

scenario 2

Courtesy of the Institute of Earth Sciences

The last, and least desirable scenario is that an eruption will take place in Bárðarbunga, causing ash plumes and glacial flooding.

scenario 3

Courtesy of the Institute of Earth Sciences

Currently no one is able predict which of the three possible developments predicted is most likely, and so scientists as well as Civil Protection and Emergency Management have opted for vigilance.

Seismic activity continues to raise concerns. This morning an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 struck just east of Bárðarbunga caldera.

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