Bárðarbunga and Mount Ontake

All over the world there are volcanoes that are erupting daily. One such volcano is Bárðarbunga in the Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland. This volcano has slowly been preparing to have some sort of activity since 2007 and started erupting in late August 2014. Today the volcano is being observed by geoscientists daily and all activity is being recorded. So far the volcano has been erupting for several months and experiencing earthquake activity daily. The earthquakes are of a moderate magnitude ranging from 3.0 to 5.5 on the Richter scale. Lava is being thrown into the air as high as 150 meters. A lot of ash has been spewed by the volcano and many were concerned that another event like the Grímsvötn or Eyjafjallajökull eruptions, which caused air traffic cancellations over Europe, would occur again. However since the several months that the volcano has been active and releasing dust and ash clouds, there has been no major threat to air traffic.  The eruption at Bárðarbunga has caused no deaths, with sufficient warning and prepartation by volcanologists. The sad truth is that not every eruption can be predicted; such as the tragic eruption the occurred at Mount Ontake this past September on the 29th.

The eruption at Mount Ontake was a phreatic eruption that is just flash steamed water. The water rapidly expands in volume causing a break in the above rock. Since the reaction was so sudden there was no warning of an eruption causing the deaths of forty seven hikers who could not escape the fast approaching ash cloud. Compared to the Bardarbunga volcano, there is no movement of the magma coming up from inside the magma chamber. Bardarbunga experiences towering flows of lava sometimes shooting up into the air. The eruption of Mount Ontake is the deadliest that Japan has experienced in over a century.






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