Geochemistry and petrology of Holocene lavas in the Bárðardalur region, N-Iceland. Part I: Geochemical constraints on source provenance

Sigríður Inga Svavarsdóttir, Sæmundur Ari Halldórsson*, Guðmundur Heiðar Guðfinnsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


— Because of extensive volcanic production in Iceland during the Holocene, many of the early post-glacial large-volume fissure lavas cannot be unambiguously traced to their eruptive craters solely by observations in the field. For example, the Bárðarbunga volcanic system has been suggested as a likely source of the large Holocene lava flows found in Bárðardalur valley, but this idea mainly relies on petrographic obser-vations. We conducted a chemical and isotopic study of the lavas in Bárðardalur. For comparative purposes, we also targeted basement rocks of the Bárðarbunga central volcano, as well as several eruptive units in the region north of Vatnajökull. Based on a comparison of chemical and radiogenic isotope data of lavas from the Bárðardalur region and the eruptive units north of Vatnajökull and the Bárðarbunga central volcano, it appears most likely that the lavas of Bárðardalur valley belong to the Bárðarbunga volcanic system. These new data, and a compiled dataset for other selected volcanic systems of the NRZ, shed light on possible limitations when assigning erupted material to its source volcano by means of chemical composition. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that our understanding of the relative importance of the different processes at play during the petrogenesis of Icelandic basalts is likely to be greatly improved by multi-parameter datasets for geologically well-characterized eruptive units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-42
Number of pages26
Issue number67
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank our colleagues, Guðrún Larsen and Bergrún Óladóttir, for helping with the sample collection and Karl Grönvold for providing a number of samples used in this study. Rósa Ólafsdóttir is thanked for the preparation of Figure 2 and Guðbjörn Margeirs-son for helping with Figure 7. Bjarni Gautason, and Maja Rasmussen are thanked for their comments on a previous version of this manuscript. SIS also wants to thank Guðrún Sverrisdóttir and Gylfi Sigurðsson for their support and guidance during clean-up proce-dures and MC-ICP-MS measurements at the isotope facilities at IES. Finally, we thank John M. Sinton and Thomas Find Kokfelt for their constructive comments that significantly improved this work. Last but not least, we thank Bryndís Brandsdóttir for general as well as editorial support. The MSc dissertation of Sigríður Inga Svavarsdóttir can be downloaded from:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Iceland Glaciological Society. All rights reserved.


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