A bigger eruption than last year

03.08.2022 - 18:55
Mynd: Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdótt / RÚV
Flowing at 20-50 cubic metres per second, the volcanic eruption which began today in Meradalir on the Reykjanes peninsula is shaping up to be five-to-ten-times more productive than the eruption in the same lava field last year.

“But that doesn’t mean this is a big eruption, but it does mean that we need to be careful,” explained geophysics professor Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson at a civil protection agency press briefing early this evening.

Civil protection chief at the state police Víðir Reynisson emphasised at the same briefing that it is dangerous to walk on last year’s lava as a short cut to visit the new volcano. The area has been closed to traffic this afternoon, though the signals of 7,000-8,000 mobile phones were recorded in the area nevertheless. People should not visit the volcano today, but it is expected that access will be granted after scientists assess the situation.

RÚV’s reporter on the scene this afternoon said the hike to the eruption is longer and more difficult than last year, and that the lava flow itself definitely appears hotter and more powerful.

The volcano is erupting from a 300-metre-long fissure, which is much larger than at the start of the eruption in March last year, but is also not a surprise to scientists, who have been predicting a more powerful eruption.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, the volcano is producing gas pollution, but it should blow directly south and out to sea in the short-term. No towns or villages are forecast to be in the path of volcanic pollution in the near future. As with last year’s eruption, there is little to no ash production so far, and flights from nearby Keflavík International Airport are running to schedule.

The video above was taken by RÚV on board a coastguard survey helicopter this afternoon. RÚV’s live webcam of the volcano is available below, on YouTube, and also on RÚV 2 television. Despite the unpredictable nature of volcanoes, there is some relief in the town of Grindavík, and at the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station, that the earthquake swarm has calmed down. The eruption is also considered to be in a good location, far from homes and industry.

Click to follow RÚV English on Facebook.
Kliknij, żeby śledzić RÚV Polski na Facebooku.