Latest volcano report from the Icelandic national crisis coordination centre media team
- An indication of a minor eruption was issued by the Met Office earlier today at the Dyngjujökull glacier. There are no visible signs of the eruption yet.
- The Icelandic Coast Guard airplane TF-SIF is flying over the area with representatives from the Civil Protection and experts from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences. More detailed data from the surveillance equipment on board is expected later today.
- Data from radars and web cameras are being received, showing no signs of the plume at the moment.
- 15:30 – Info from the ICG aircraft: There are no signs of floods.
- 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.
- All Icelandic airports are open even though an airspace, 140 x 100 nautical miles, is closed over the sub-glacial eruption site in Vatnajökull. All airports are open.
- The main road number 1 is open.
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the alert phase to emergency phase. At the same time the Met Office has raised the aviation color code from orange to red resulting in the air space above the eruption site being closed.
This is believed to be a minor event at this point. Because of a pressure from the glacier cap it is uncertain whether an eruption will stay sub-glacial or not.
The Coast Guards aircraft, TF-SIF, is monitoring the area and there are no visible signs of a plume. Nothing indicates flow of water from underneath the glacier.
At this stage the response is based on a small scale event. The Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon National Park has been closed and tourists are asked to leave the national park and the area around Dettifoss waterfall. The situation at this stage does not call for evacuation of habitants in Kelduhverfi, Öxarfjördur and Núpasveit. People in those areas are encouraged to watch news closely and have their mobiles switched on at all times, in order to receive potential warning messages.
Tourists are asked to follow closely the webpage Safetravel.is
The closure of the area north of Vatnajökull glacier and south of highway 1 by the Police Commissioners in Húsavík and Seyðisfjörður is still in effect. All roads leading into the area have also been closed. Highway number 1 is still open to all traffic.
In accordance with procedure, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the Civil Protection level to Emergency Phase. On 18 August, the Icelandic Met Office changed the aviation colour code to orange and today the code was changed to red/emergency which is the the highest level .
Map of aviation closure as of 23.08.2014 1500 GMT
Risk of floods
The Icelandic Met Office has been looking at possible effects of floods in Jökulsá á Fjöllum river. These have varied greatly in size, ranging from large scale prehistoric floods down to minor floods. The size of floods depends on the size and location of an eruption.
Seismic and GPS stations have been installed in the area for monitoring purposes. The Coast Guard’s airplane has scheduled regular flights over the area to gather further data.
A media unit is placed at the National Crisis Coordination Center, providing information and dealing with media requests. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . Tel: +354-5702644/43.
National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management: www.almannavarnir.is