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Advancing lava threatens hiking trail at eruption site

02.06.2021 - 13:48
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 Mynd: RÚV - Vilhjálmur Þór Guðmun - RÚV
The final section of the main path to the erupting volcano on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula has been closed, as lava threatens to flow over and cut off the popular hilltop viewpoint. It has only two or three metres further to go, an expert says. The eruption started in March and shows no signs of ending.

There are still plenty of vantage points and it is attracting visitors by the thousands. The most active crater is putting on an impressive show and getting taller by the day, but its lava fountains are only a fraction of the total lava flow at the volcano.

Ármann Höskuldsson is a volcanologist with the University of Iceland: 

“The main lava running out of the crater is under the crater and it runs both into Meradalir to the south there in the big shield that has built up there, and then also into Geldingadalir.” 

How far has the lava run down here into Nátthagi?

“It’s only moving slowly. Pools are collecting now, as can be seen behind in the glow. It is sort of oozing into the valley. What needs to happen is for a small pool to form here so the lava can continue to crawl down the valley. It is already very high and only has maybe two or three metres to go before it goes over the gap. And it has been happening that it comes in pulses: it collects in pools and then the pool gives way and then things can move pretty quickly," Höskuldur says - adding that the gap could be topped by lava in a week or ten days, or suddenly tomorrow. It depends on the formation of lava pools. 

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