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Seismic activity has now been detected about 4 km outside the glacier. 270 million m³ of magma are thought to have flowed.
The propagation seems to have slowed, but is still continuing. Several strong earthquakes larger than magnitude 3 have occurred at the tip of the intrusion today. One interpretation could be that the magma is hitting colder and more resistive rock as it migrates further away from the volcano, but this is only an idea so far.“
If enough pressure is release (like by a release at the fissure) could we also see a collapse of the dome and therefore another path of lower pressure for the magma.
Back in 2010 Icelandic Met Office issued a statement that a phase of increased volcanic unrest was to be expected. These phases are due to Icelandic volcanism being cyclical, and there are two cycles. One is the Icelandic Mantleplume activity cycle; the other is the Icelandic MAR rift cycle. This time around both cycles would coincide.
But let me start with why I think this is an option. Foremost the length of the fissure, at 40km it is definitely long enough to be able to sustain a large eruption. The fissure is also showing signs of having opened up down to the mantle at places, and that would mean that it is possible for rapid decompression melt to occur, and that is a necessity for a large rifting fissure eruption to access large enough quantities of magma.
The most surprising sign though is that this rifting fissure is not following a single fissure swarm. This is totally unsuspected behavior that nobody has even guessed at in their most feverish fantasies. The initial intrusion charged straight out of the Bárðarbunga fissure swam, passed barren land in between fissure swarms and connected with the Grimsvötn northern fissure swarm, followed that downstream and then once again changed trajectory and entered the fissure swarm of Askja.
This means that potentially the intrusion might be feeding on the 3 largest Icelandic volcanoes if the fissure evolves a bit more. If this actually happens all bets are off and we would be most likely talking about a rifting fissure eruption with explosive components. If the intrusion continues to move forward in this direction it will enter the caldera of Askja in 4 days. Problem here is that Askja is known to have pockets of rhyolitic explosive magma, and if those pockets suddenly reheat from the new hot magma things could get interesting fast.
But one thing is certain, it would not in any way threaten life on earth, it would not even put a big hindrance on your daily life. Get real, the world will not end like this. But, expect a bit of nuisance.