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HOT News from Iceland!

September 2014

In short:  After continuous seismic activity since 16 August in the area around Bárðarbunga in Vatnajökull Glacier, an eruption started again at 04:00 Sunday, in the same rift which erupted briefly Friday. The rift is in the Holuhraun lava field, in a remote and unpopulated area, north of the glacier Vatnajökull.
The location of the eruption is actually in the best possible location, since the remoteness of it diminishes the likelihood of damage or danger.
The eruption produces majestic fountains of lava and lava flow but no ash clouds. Aviation alert level was briefly set to red at the onset of the eruption but shortly later down to orange. No airport in Iceland has been closed and aviation is not affected. No alert is in place for other areas in Iceland.

This eruption, the third one this week, started at 04:00 GMT on Sunday, and this time it shows no signs of subsiding. The Sunday‘s eruption is substantially more powerful than Friday‘s eruption, but remains stable. It is in a 1 km long fissure in a glacier-free area, just 4 km north of the glacier rim. The fissure lies in a SW - NE direction, in the northern part of the Holuhraun lava field, north of Dyngjujokull and south of the Askja caldera. The fissure seems to be located near a row of old craters within the lava field. Holuhraun was formed in an effusive lava eruption in 1797. Since the eruption was not sub-glacial, the risk of an extensive ash cloud is minimal, and the lava flow is limited to the immediate area around the fissure.

For live webcam coverage of the eruption, check the following link:

The eruption followed an intensive seismic activity in the volcano Bárðarbunga in Vatnajökull since August 16. Earthquakes up to 5,7 magnitude have been measured, and the overall number of earthquakes is over ten thousand, but most of them at a considerable depth. Seismic activity is still strong, according to the Icelandic Met Office. This seismic activity is an indication of ongoing magma movement which is still in progress. The dike intrusion north of Bardarbunga is now about 40 kilometers long, and the most intense seismic activity has been at the northern end of the intrusion. The intrusion has continued to lengthen and now extends 10 km (7 miles) beyond the northern border of Vatnajökull, approaching a fissure swarm belonging to the volcanic system of Askja in the northeastern highlands of Iceland. The eruption is at this northern part of the intrusion, at the Holuhraun lava field.

The closing and evacuation of the land area north of the glacier is still valid. The Civil Protection Agency has extended road restrictions around the area, anticipating an increased flow of traffic because of the eruption (Icelanders tend to flock towards eruptions rather than from them, out of curiosity). The closed area is in the interior highlands of Iceland. It is unpopulated and in difficult terrain (see map below). In accordance with procedure, The Civil Protection Agency in Iceland raised the civil protection phase to the highest level in the area surrounding the eruption briefly but lowered it to second level shortly later, since the eruption was not thought to constitute immediate danger. All airports in Iceland are open and the eruption does not affect international aviation.

No further action has been taken. The situation is being monitored closely and relevant authorities are on high alert. Any changes to the situation will be reported promptly.

The eruption in Holuhraun is the 40th volcanic eruption in Iceland in 100 years, so we are quite used to carrying on with our daily life despite an eruption.

For regularly updated information, please check the following websites (PromoteIceland) (Iceland State Radio/TV) (Civil Protection Agency)


For more information, please contact us at

Holuhraun's Lava Fountains

Iceland map

Vatnajokull Area

Holuhraun's Lava Fountains

Holuhraun's location