Magma plumbing for the 2014–2015 Holuhraun eruption, Iceland

Harri Geiger, Tobias Mattsson, Frances M. Deegan*, Valentin R. Troll, Steffi Burchardt, Ólafur Gudmundsson, Ari Tryggvason, Michael Krumbholz, Chris Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The 2014–2015 Holuhraun eruption on Iceland was located within the Askja fissure swarm but was accompanied by caldera subsidence in the Bárðarbunga central volcano 45 km to the southwest. Geophysical monitoring of the eruption identified a seismic swarm that migrated from Bárðarbunga to the Holuhraun eruption site over the course of two weeks. In order to better understand this lateral connection between Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun, we present mineral textures and compositions, mineral-melt-equilibrium calculations, whole rock and trace element data, and oxygen isotope ratios for selected Holuhraun samples. The Holuhraun lavas are compositionally similar to recorded historical eruptions from the Bárðarbunga volcanic system but are distinct from the historical eruption products of the nearby Askja system. Thermobarometry calculations indicate a polybaric magma plumbing system for the Holuhraun eruption, wherein clinopyroxene and plagioclase crystallized at average depths of ∼17 km and ∼5 km, respectively. Crystal resorption textures and oxygen isotope variations imply that this multilevel plumbing system facilitated magma mixing and assimilation of low-δ18O Icelandic crust prior to eruption. In conjunction with the existing geophysical evidence for lateral migration, our results support a model of initial vertical magma ascent within the Bárðarbunga plumbing system followed by lateral transport of aggregated magma batches within the upper crust to the Holuhraun eruption site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2953-2968
Number of pages16
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number8
Early online date5 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2016


  • 2014–2015 Holuhraun (Flæðahraun or Nornahraun) eruption
  • Fissure eruption
  • Icelandic volcanism
  • Lateral magma transport
  • Magma plumbing system
  • Rifting episode


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