Stable volcano changes rhythm

10.06.2021 - 15:39
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Bjarni Pétur Jónsson - RUV
“There were clear changes at four o’clock last night,” says Kristín Jónsdóttir, head of natural hazards monitoring at the Icelandic Met Office. Changes at the Fagradalsfjall volcanic eruption site over the past day mean that lava is no longer erupting in fountains from the crater, but is instead gushing out like a waterfall. The overall lava production remains steady, however.

The pulses of activity that became the norm for the volcano on 2nd May have become progressively smaller and more regular. “What happened this morning is that they became so weak and regular that they ran together into constant activity as we see it. At the same time, we see the lava flowing constantly from the fissure.” 

Similar developments have happened before, but usually only lasted an hour or two. Now it has gone on much longer. Kristín believes it is likely explained by fundamental changes to the fissure crater, maybe a hundred metres underground. 

The latest data do not suggest a reduction in the flow rate of either lava to the surface or magma intrusion at the eruption site. “They indicate that the flow is very stable and the picture of this process is still the same. We are getting lava from a great depth that is taking maybe two or three weeks to move from a depth of 20 kilometres up to the surface at Geldingadalir. All the data suggest a very similar flow.” 

Kristín adds that it remains a difficult as ever to predict when the eruption, which began on 19th March, might come to an end. 

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