FutureVolc Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes – An Introduction

What is FutureVolc? 

In their own words from their website at http://futurevolc.hi.is/ …

 FUTUREVOLC is a 26-partner project funded by FP7 Environment Programme of the European Commission, addressing topic “Long-term monitoring experiment in geologically active regions of Europe prone to natural hazards: the Supersite concept”. The project started 1 October 2012 and has duration of 3.5 years. The supersite concept implies integration of space and ground based observations for improved monitoring and evaluation of volcanic hazards, and open data policy. The project is led by University of Iceland together with the Icelandic Meteorological Office.


The page linked above mostly is concerned with the objectives of the FutureVolc project, but in the tabs at the top of the page under Publications, you can find a wealth of useful PDF files about a range of topics on Icelandic volcanoes and eruptions.


This tab mentions a data portal that is under construction, but that feature is actually already accessible. The link to  http://futurevolc.vedur.is/ is below the thumbnail image on the left of the page, and despite what the text to the right says, you do not need to be a scientist or work for a disaster mitigation agency to access lots of features there. You don’t even have to create an account. (though I did…through the Northwest Georgia Geology Club 🙂 )

The Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes data portal

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FutureVolcs data portal at futurevolc.vedur.is/

The background of this page is an interactive map of Iceland onto which you can add all kinds of layers displaying data such as volcanic features, ash dispersion maps, and lava flows. There is also all kinds of additional data about volcanoes and specific eruptions.

So as an example, in the menu on the left I picked Bardarbunga. A marker for Bardarbunga appears on the map.  Now, either from the left menu below Bardarbunga’s entry or from the map marker, I can choose Cataologue Information or Activity Status. Both will open up a menu on the right of the page where the majority of their data on Bardarbunga can be found.

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FutureVolcs data portal at futurevolc.vedur.is/

Under the Volcano Information tab in the right menu, you get in the dropdown tabs a Short Description, extensive data regarding the Central Volcano, Fissure and Fissure Swarms, Detailed Descriptions (including Geological settings and tectonic context, Plumbing system and subsurface structure, Eruptive history and patterns, Largest known eruption, and even Selected figures), and Map Layers.   The Map Layers are very useful to those of us who sometimes need to know exactly where we are or what we are looking at while visiting (virtually or otherwise) a particular Icelandic volcano.

Map Layers

These may vary from volcano to volcano, but include such things as isopach maps of volcanic ejecta,  outlines of calderas, locations of central volcanoes, vents and fissure swarms, and lava flows.  These can be displayed one at a time or all together.  Also, the arrows and “x” above the right menu let you enlarge it, tuck it away or make it disappear completely.

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FutureVolcs data portal at futurevolc.vedur.is/

Once a map layer is chosen, you can click within that layer on the map to get tooltip descriptions of the feature, though individual fissures and craters are not specified by name like they are at Global Volcanism Program.

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FutureVolcs data portal at futurevolc.vedur.is/

On the map menu (top of page, right of left menu) there are also layer options that show locations of various monitoring stations. Unfortunately, the recent-earthquakes layer does not work.

Back to the left menu, there is also a tab for a search by specific eruption that opens an Eruptions tab in the right menu. There you get to see a list of all eruptions that fit your search parameters. Details include start and end dates, column height, and volume of tephra and lava erupted.

As for the Data Portal tab, that requires you to join and login, but thusfar I have found that I cannot open the files requested because they have the .Z extension and, despite them being sent to me by email, are password encrypted.  Mind you I only requested one batch of files today so this might be the exception instead of the rule.

I think this site is an under-publicized asset though and I hope it will continue to be improved upon and expanded in the future.





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