Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland is keeping meteorologists -- and anyone with a trans-Atlantic flight -- guessing as eruption activity remains quiet.
Experts previously agreed it was a question of how, not if, Bardarbunga would erupt. And the Icelandic Met Office continues to track hundreds of seismic rumblings every day. People around the world are tuned to live Web cams, like the one above, to spot eruption activity.
But so far, Iceland, and the world, seems spared from the huge, ashy mayhem that shut down air travel to much of Europe in 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull erupted.
Indeed, the alert level for aviation lowered from red to orange this weekend, even as earthquakes continued to rumble far underground below Bardarbunga. Most of the earthquakes are happening 5-10 km below the earth's surface.
Bardarbunga sits below Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest glacier. The Icelandic Met Office measured two strong earthquakes stronger than 5 underneath the glacier Sunday. Given the volcano's position, it would start erupting, but it wouldn't immediately be clear if the eruption would break through the ice layers.
The Icelandic Met Office identified three possible scenarios as Bardarbunga continues to rumble:
- "The migration of magma could stop, attended by a gradual reduction in seismic activity."
- "The dike could reach the surface of the crust, starting an eruption. In this scenario, it is most likely that the eruption would be near the northern tip of the dike. This would most likely produce an effusive lava eruption with limited explosive, ash-producing activity."
- "An alternate scenario would be the dike reaching the surface where a significant part, or all, of the fissure is beneath the glacier. This would most likely produce a flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum and perhaps explosive, ash-producing activity."
So far, seismic activity remains constant and strong. Even if Bardarbunga doesn't cause the same level of chaos as Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, it seems unlikely the volcano will suddenly go silent.
Keep your eyes on the live Web cam. You may just see an eruption.