National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police follows up on Bárðarbunga volcano status

National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police follows up on Bárðarbunga volcano statusThe National Crisis Coordination Centre in Skógarhlíð has been in operation since it was decided to close the highland area due to seismic activity in Bárðarbunga on 19 August, 2014. The centre harmonises operations and the passing on of information due to seismic unrest around Bárðarbunga.

Seismic activity

There is still substantial seismic activity at Bárðarbunga and Dyngjujökull. However, it subsided somewhat shortly after 2am this morning. Almost 400 tremors have been automatically detected since midnight and, as before, most of them located at the magma dyke east of Bárðarbunga. Most of the tremors examined are at considerable depth, 8-12 km, although a few shallower ones have been detected at 4 km depth, on the far east/north edge. It seems that seismic activity has partly moved slightly to the north, but not significantly. Just before midnight last night, at 23:50:22, a low-frequency event occurred at Bárðarbunga, in the south part of the caldera, of magnitude 4.8 (mb 4.7 according to EMSC and mb 4.8 according to NEIC; VÍ-alert-size was also 4.7). One, in addition, reached size M 3. Others have been small.

Surveillance by observers and scientists

Following the surveillance flight by the Icelandic Coast Guard on 20 August, scientists are better able to map the area and obtain better data, as TF-SIF has special equipment to monitor changes on the surface of the glacier and to monitor floods. Access to SIF puts scientists in a better position to observe the unrest and the progress of a possible flood.

Scientists from IMO were on the glacier yesterday, both by Hamarinn and close to Dyngjujökull. This was in order to install new GPS stations and seismometers. In addition, hydrographic instruments have been used in the closed area.

Meetings and collaboration

A meeting to harmonise operations was held yesterday with the National Land Survey of Iceland, the Post and Telecom Administration, Registers Iceland and the Soil Conservation Service. Also, a meeting with ICESAR and key stakeholders was held in Húsavík. Attendees included the representatives of the Civil Protection department, the Police Commissioner in Húsavík and scientists who explained the situation in the area affected by a possible flood and summed up operations in the past few days. Also attending the meeting were representatives from municipalities, farmers, the health system and more. An identical meeting was held today, Friday, at 09:00, on the premises of the rescue service at Miðás in Egilsstaðir. Last night, a meeting with residents was held at Öxarfjörður school in Öxarfjörður. Early this morning a teleconference was held with civil protection authorities in the Nordic Region.

The electricity system

The contingency plans of Landsnet due to volcanic eruptions and natural disasters have been reviewed and arrangements have been made for emergency power in areas that might lose power if transmission lines fail in the event of a volcanic eruption in the northern part of Vatnajökull. It is mainly Landsnet’s lines that are likely to be damaged in the events following a volcanic eruption. In the danger area in north-east Iceland the lines in question are on the one hand the Byggðalína and on the other transmission lines in the local system, such as the Kópasker line. Measures have been taken in cooperation with RARIK to have have additional power on hand in the area, using diesel power, but some reductions might prove necessary, e.g. if the Byggðalína failed.

The closed area

ICESAR and the police monitor the closed area. The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has, in consultation with the Civil Protection, closed the following mountain roads: F- 910 Austurleid (Dyngjufjallaleid), F903, Hvannalindarvegur, F902, Kverkfjallaleid, F905, Arnardalsleid and F88, Oskjuleid. A map of the closed roads can be found on the website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration


A media unit is placed at the National Crisis Coordination Center, providing information and dealing with media requests. The email address is Tel: +354-5702644/43. The website on safe travel in Iceland is updated regularly: