Bárðarbunga in Iceland is a subglacial stratovolcano located under the ice cap of Vatnajökull glacier.

Bárðarbunga is rising to 2,009 metres (6,591 ft) above sea level, making it the second highest mountain in Iceland, about 101 metres (331 ft) lower than Hvannadalshnjúkur. The caldera is about 70 square kilometres, up to 10 kilometres (6 mi) wide and about 700 metres (2,300 ft) deep. The surrounding edges rise up to 1850 metres but the base is on average close to 1100 metres. The volcano is covered in ice, hiding the glacier-filled crater.

Bárðarbunga was a little-known volcano in Iceland due to its remote location and infrequent eruptions, but recent studies have shown that many tephra layers originally thought to be from other volcanoes were ejected from Bárðarbunga.

Sustained seismic activity has occurred in Bárðarbunga for some years without an eruption, thus the volcano is still active. There has been frequent volcanic activity outside the glacier to the south-west in the highlands between Vatnajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, also to the north-east toward Dyngjufjöll.


Throughout history there have been large eruptions every 250–600 years. Þjórsá Lava is the largest holocene lava flow on the earth, it originated from Bárðarbunga about 8,500 years ago, with a total volume of 21 to 30 cubic kilometres, covering approximately 950 square kilometres. The largest eruption from Bárðarbunga had a VEI of 6, many smaller-sized eruptions have been recorded in the past 10000 years.

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Bárðarbunga Volcano