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Eruption Of Iceland's Bardarbunga Raises Travel Alert to Red

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the melting-iceland dept.

Earth 38

The eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano in central Iceland, which appeared a strong possibility after a series of earthquakes, is currently underway, beneath the ice of the Dyngjujokull glacier. The BBC reports that Iceland has raised its air travel alert to red, its higest level, but that for now all of Iceland's airports remain open. CNN notes that "the underground activity did not immediately result in changes to volcanic activity on the surface ... Because of a pressure from the glacier cap it is uncertain whether the eruption will stay sub-glacial or not, Iceland 2 TV said."

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We're heading in the right direction (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about three weeks ago | (#47737471)

At least this time we can pronounce the damn thing.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (3, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | about three weeks ago | (#47737477)

They really should not name things by letting a cat walk on a keyboard.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about three weeks ago | (#47737567)

They really should not name things by letting a cat walk on a keyboard.

"Bardabunga" sounds like it was named by Bart Simpson.

I once flew in a helicopter over Mauna Loa [wikipedia.org] . It looked nothing like the Iceland volcanoes in the news. There was very little smoke, an no ash. Just red hot lava flowing down the mountain. So when I got back home I did some research. It turns out there are different types of volcanoes. Mauna Loa is a shield volcano [wikipedia.org] , while Iceland has stratovolcanoes [wikipedia.org] . Shield volcanoes erupt continuously over long periods, produce relatively little ash, and have heavy low viscosity lava that flows quickly and spreads out. Stratovolcanoes erupt in explosive bursts, producing lots of smoke and ash, and have lighter, high viscosity lava, containing high levels of silicates, which tends to ooze like honey rather than flowing like water.

Btw, the helicopter ride over Mauna Loa cost about $200/person and was definitely worth it. It was the high point of our vacation. If you are on the Big Island, you should go.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738103)

Bungabunga? Sounds familiar... Maybe it has some italian connections

Re:We're heading in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738465)

The helicopter ride is amazing!

Photography can be a bit rough though - wind can make the ride bumpy, clouds obstructing the view, gas venting may limit approach to flowing lava, lava doesn't always flow to the ocean, if you opt for doors on shooting through the windows can pose a problem especially if anyone inside is wear bright colorful clothing (damn you index of refraction!), and if you're one of the unlucky ones on a seven seat helicopter you will be stuck in the middle in the back seats limiting your view. The pilot seats you by weight.

Regardless, definitely a must when visiting the Big Island!

Re:We're heading in the right direction (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738793)

What you're seeing on the news is likely a previous eruption of another volcano, since the present events do not (yet) produce any striking images - it's all under the ice. What will happen with BÃrÃarbunga (if anything) is uncertain since it's a very large system with potential for eruptions both under the glacier and outside the glacier. Right now it looks like it will stay subglacial, which means much of the ash would be contained by the ice - so no shutdown of all flights in Europe in that case. The biggest effects will instead be more local, in the form of flooding due to melting of the glacier.

It can be noted that BÃrÃarbunga is the world record holder for the biggest lava field produced in a single eruption during the holocene (last 11700 years), and for one of the greatest instantaneous discharges of water known to man - a flow greater than the Amazon river and the Zanclean flood that filled the Mediterranean Sea, combined. However, to reach such a flow the eruption needs to happen deeper inside the edge of the glacier, creating a large amount of melt water which is then set free ketchup-style when it finally breaks through. There is no indication that the current activity is a beginning of the big one. It is too close to the edge of the glacier and any water will escape more gradually, with a much less dramatic peak flow. The current estimates are something like 20000 m^3/s max, which is comparable to e.g. the Potomac suddenly growing to the size of Saint Lawrence River. And even that is only if the eruption grows a lot bigger than what have been seen so far.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738837)

Sorry about the aacute and eth fail, but it's slashdot's failure and not mine. They rendered OK in the preview, just not in the final result.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (1)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47739777)

You can't say with any confidence at all right now what kind of eruption it's going to be in the long term nor what its effects will be. It's pretty much standard for Icelandic volcanoes (excepting Hekla and a few others) to start off with small lava eruptions, and it's pretty much a requirement of a subglacial eruption to begin suchly. These are chains of interconnected volcanoes, to the point where it's even hard to define what's one volcano and what's the next (it's rifts of permanent weakness from the parting of the plates). They expand as they see fit. Eyjafjallajökull began with the Móði and Magni eruptions on Fimmvörðuháls, for example.

The size of the eruption doesn't necessarily correlate with the magnitude of the jökulhlaup. They're glacial outburst floods, they occur when the water - however much is there - finds a way out of the glacier. A fast melt certainly increases the odds of a strong outburst, but it's not a requirement.

At this point we don't even know for sure that the lava has even met the ice, some of the scientists here are disputing the met office's claim.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47739735)

It means Bárður's Bulge“.

Eyjafjallajökull means "Glacier of the Mountains of the Islands" (Eyja = Of islands; fjalla = of mountains; jökull = glacier). ("The Islands" = Vestmannaeyjar, a small island chain close off Iceland's southern shore; Eyjafjall and his big sister Katla form a mountain range near Vestmannaeyjar.)

Re:We're heading in the right direction (3, Funny)

dackroyd (468778) | about three weeks ago | (#47737545)

"The eruption is closer to #Dyngjujokull than #Bardarbunga so we may need to retrain journalists in pronunciation"

Good luck with that.

https://twitter.com/gislio/sta... [twitter.com]

Re:We're heading in the right direction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47737791)

At least this time we can pronounce the damn thing.

Except that that "d" is supposed to be an eth ("ð").

Re:We're heading in the right direction (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about three weeks ago | (#47737823)

True but at least Bardabunga is something that can be coherently rendered in English. You can sprain your tongue trying to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull.

Re: We're heading in the right direction (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about three weeks ago | (#47738087)

Or make some female very happy...

Re:We're heading in the right direction (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47739707)

You probably only think you're pronouncing "Bardarbunga" (you mean Bárðarbunga") right. It's "BOWR-thar-BOON-ka". The R is an alveolar tap (unless you say it slowly), the th is voiced and further foward on the teeth, the N is devoiced, and the "g" (which I rendered as "k") is unvoiced but also unaspirated.

Re:We're heading in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47737813)

Are you sure?

Re:We're heading in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47739027)

At least this time we can pronounce the damn thing.

I have already heard several incorrect ways to pronounce Bárðarbunga. It's not as bad as Eyjafjallajökull, but stating that people can figure out how to say it is just wishful thinking. I have seen newspapers trying to explain how to pronounce Bárðarbunga, which. I find confusing because I have yet to see one do it correctly. I find it to be poor workmanship when TV news fails to pronounce names like that. They have easy access to Icelandic news with the correct pronunciation. However lazy journalism seems to be quite common these days. I think it was last year that the Japanese prime minister complained that some major US newspaper had given him a girl's name. He stated that he could understand poor pronunciation, but at least he expected proper journalists to be able to copy paste a name without leaving out several letters.

While I have no problems with Icelandic names at all, I have to say that the same doesn't go for all volcano names. Particular the ones in the Andes eludes both my memory as well as any idea on how to pronounce them. Take for instance this one from Peru: Ch'illkayuq

Well, I am not concerned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47737483)

Travel alert is only 'red'? Please! let me know when it's infrared, then I'll be concerned - and hot - and going out getting shit faced on beers.

Re:Well, I am not concerned. (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about three weeks ago | (#47737593)

Travel alert is only 'red'? Please! let me know when it's infrared, then I'll be concerned

It is pretty silly that they are already on the highest possible altert level, and nothing is even happening yet. This is obviously a system design by politicians.

Re:Well, I am not concerned. (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | about three weeks ago | (#47738977)

I guess you don't remember the the italian scientists that didn't predict the volcano.

Re:Well, I am not concerned. (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | about three weeks ago | (#47738983)

oops earthquake:-)

Re:Well, I am not concerned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47737649)

Fuck infrared, let me know when it's gone to plaid.

Well, I am not concerned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738575)

I think mauve has the most RAM.

Pimply (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about three weeks ago | (#47737511)

skateboard slang....

How is it (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about three weeks ago | (#47737793)

Why is it that when a thing like this happens (supposedly), we're directed to the misguided BBC, and to cowardous CNN?
Doesn't Iceland have some kind of geologic society or meteorlogic society that issues reports based on adequate, current, hot-off-the-volcano scientific data?

Re:How is it (5, Informative)

theVarangian (1948970) | about three weeks ago | (#47737995)

Why is it that when a thing like this happens (supposedly), we're directed to the misguided BBC, and to cowardous CNN? Doesn't Iceland have some kind of geologic society or meteorlogic society that issues reports based on adequate, current, hot-off-the-volcano scientific data?

The icelandic met office has a site that tracks seismic activity (read: earthquakes), they have an english website: http://en.vedur.is/#tab=skjalf... [vedur.is]

The University of Iceland's institute of earth sciences has a news page in english: http://earthice.hi.is/bardarbu... [earthice.hi.is]

They have also set up a number of webcams:
http://www.livefromiceland.is/... [livefromiceland.is] (Vaðalda, north of Vatnajökull, towards Bárðabunga)
http://vedur2.mogt.is/grimsfja... [vedur2.mogt.is] (Grímsfjall)
http://vedur2.mogt.is/kverkfjo... [vedur2.mogt.is] (Kverkfjöll)

Not very spectacular sites but the content is a bit better than most of the bullshit you are likely to get from the corporate media.

YouTube (1)

theVarangian (1948970) | about three weeks ago | (#47738017)

Why is it that when a thing like this happens (supposedly), we're directed to the misguided BBC, and to cowardous CNN? Doesn't Iceland have some kind of geologic society or meteorlogic society that issues reports based on adequate, current, hot-off-the-volcano scientific data?

The icelandic met office has a site that tracks seismic activity (read: earthquakes), they have an english website: http://en.vedur.is/#tab=skjalf... [vedur.is] The University of Iceland's institute of earth sciences has a news page in english: http://earthice.hi.is/bardarbu... [earthice.hi.is] They have also set up a number of webcams: http://www.livefromiceland.is/... [livefromiceland.is] (Vaðalda, north of Vatnajökull, towards Bárðabunga) http://vedur2.mogt.is/grimsfja... [vedur2.mogt.is] (Grímsfjall) http://vedur2.mogt.is/kverkfjo... [vedur2.mogt.is] (Kverkfjöll) Not very spectacular sites but the content is a bit better than most of the bullshit you are likely to get from the corporate media.

There is now also a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re: How is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738023)

http://en.vedur.is
(Icelandic Met Office)

How is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738449)

Then there's this: http://baering.github.io/

How is it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738519)

...and this: http://grapevine.is/news/2014/08/23/scientists-disagree-with-met-office-say-no-eruption/

(local English newspaper)

Metalocalypse (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about three weeks ago | (#47737913)

I don't know if any of you are fans of the magnificent cartoon "Metalocalypse", but if you are, it occurs to me that an active volcano named, "Bardarbunga" on the Dyngjujokull glacier in Iceland is exactly the kind of place Dethklok would hold one of their massive concerts where everything goes wrong and there's a total catastrophe with thousands of casualities.

Seriously, the first thing I thought of when I read the summary was Dethklock being lowered onto the stage by four armor-laden quadracopters being flown by their henchment and one of William Murderface's bass notes triggering the volcano, causing lava to burst forth over the audience. That show is friggin' hilarious.

http://youtu.be/y9KsdNtj_58 [youtu.be]

Re:Metalocalypse (1)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47739801)

You know, that really is the sort of thing people would do here ;) When Dethklok - sorry, Skálmöld ;) - took the stage at Menningarnótt this evening (with about a quarter of the country in attendance - who doesn't like metal? there's even been multiple Skálmöld Day“s at elementary schools where little kids come in their best metal gear and listen/ sing along to their music, and no, I'm not kidding ;) )... anyway, when they took the stage, the concert started off with a news update about the volcano. ;)

There is one music fest that I'm aware of that's held next to a volcano ("Extreme Chill - Undir Jökli), but that volcano is extinct (Snæfell).

Bárðarbunga is unfortunately rather remote. Oh, and there's the fact that the 10% of Iceland around it is now a prohibited zone...

Re:Metalocalypse (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about three weeks ago | (#47741253)

Skálmöld

Thank you for turning me on to my new favorite band in all the world.

I don't usually listen to metal, but I do when I'm playing video games. But then, it's essential. How can you go wrong with a band that refers to itself as "Viking Folk-Metal"?

but that volcano is extinct

Sure, that's what they all say. Like a guy telling a girl he's met, "I've had a vasectomy".

Tomorrow, on the Sci-Fi Channel... (2)

Daniel Klugh (1935646) | about three weeks ago | (#47737949)

Once again Iceland precipitates a Sci-Fi Channel Disaster Event!

Re:Tomorrow, on the Sci-Fi Channel... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about three weeks ago | (#47740143)

A kaboom! An earth shattering kaboom!

Re:Tomorrow, on the Sci-Fi Channel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47741265)

Ba-da-BOOM-ga

Eruption canceled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47738933)

Icelandic volcanologists argues that no eruption took place today. The issue is that it all happens under half a kilometer of ice and nobody can see what goes on. A series of earthquakes were read as an eruption, but now the lack of melting water and no visible signs on the glacier makes some of them argue that the earthquakes were in fact just earthquakes, not an eruption.

http://icelandreview.com/news/2014/08/23/geophysicist-probably-no-eruption

Even if the volcano didn't erupt today, the huge amount of earthquakes as well as their magnitude (had a 4.5 one today) indicates that something is going on. The question isn't if the volcano is doing something, the question is if it ends up blowing ash into the air and/or melt tons of ice. The answer is: maybe because we don't know. We can't do anything but wait and see.

There are some claims that the ash is too heavy to affect air traffic because it will fall to the ground right away. Bárðarbunga is a stratovolcano and even worse, it's under an glacier. That makes it a worst case scenario for ash and ash from previous eruptions have been found in central Europe. Those statements are based on.... well let's just say that I have seen volcanologists stating they would never make claims like that.

Steam can produce lots of pressure... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47739879)

If this is melting and heating the glacier, there is a great chance of a huge explosion once the steam pressure hits critical mass. Expect an explosion of Mount St. Helen's magnitude.

Bonanza For Airline Executive Bonus's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47740163)

Any international flight that can be grounded will save that airline several millions of dollars that will go into the end-of-year bonus of the CEO without accurate report to alert the public.

Now that the flying public have been alerted, they can hold up in the face of flight staff their iPhones and Android Phones to show that flight disruptions are not happening.

Some years ago in OHare I held up my iPod touch to show that the weather at a certain airport was ... not so bad ... refuting the words of the "Flight Staff". A near riot ensued but was quelled by offers of discount lay-over hotel expenses and guaranteed re-booking on the next day's morning flight.

Airlines. You can not trust these birds.
 

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