Iceland's New Eruption Picks Up the Pace

Iceland's New Eruption Picks Up the Pace

2021-04-07 18:45:00
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The second rift to open during the Geldingadalir eruption in Iceland, seen on April 5, 2021. Credit: Icelandic Meteorological Bureau.

A few weeks ago, the The Reykjanes peninsula saw its first eruption on land in centuries. The new eruption at Geldingadalir continues to produce an impressive cone and twisting lava flows, but the eruption had not happened there. New vents have now opened northeast of the original, bringing the total to three spots where lava flows out. These eruptions still don't pose any danger to Reykjavík beyond possible irritation from the gases are ejected, but they've spawned some of the biggest volcanic tourist sites in decades (for better or worse).

New eruptions abound

The first of the new gorges about a kilometer away from the original Geldingadalir opening. These canyons are several hundred meters long and send lava through some narrow valleys away from the eruption site. As this lava reached flatter ground, it spread to form an impressive lava delta that can be seen in the RUV is a webcam view of Meradalir. Some spectacular drone images was taken from the new canyon revealing the narrow tongue of lava rolling through the valleys.

The lava flow meanders from Meradalir.

A new lava flow meanders through a valley from the new Meradalir eruption site in Iceland as seen on April 5, 2021. Credit: Icelandic Meteorological Bureau.

Late last night (April 7th), another crack opened between the first and second eruption site. Due to some snow conditions in the area at the moment, there are still no good images of this new eruption site, but it produces the same style of basalt lava flows and splashes as the first two areas. The The Icelandic Meteorological Bureau has published a map today shows the layout of the three eruption sites showing how much of the valley filled the original eruption and how far the new lava flows have traveled.

Map of Iceland's 2021 eruption

A map showing the ventilation locations and areas covered by lava during the 2021 eruption of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Credit: Icelandic Meteorological Bureau.

With all this impressive volcanic activity, many tourists have tried the tour to the eruption site. While this may seem reasonable, the opening of the new canyons shows how quickly the situation can change in a volcanic active area and caused evacuations after the new fissures have been opened.

At the moment, the IMO estimates that about 265 million cubic feet (7.5 million cubic meters) of lava erupted from all vents. That's enough to cover 100 football fields with 60 cm of lava!

More lava and more?

This style of multiple eruption sites and fissures erupting all at once is typical of eruptions like this one. We've seen it before in places like Kīlauea in Hawai & # 39; i or Piton de la Fournaise on the island of Réunion. Both volcanoes erupt in this beautiful, liquid basaltic lava which, as it rises, simply searches for the easier path to the surface. All this activity is arguably the opening salvo from months to years of new eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula.

Iceland isn't the only place on Earth that is currently experiencing lava flows. Pacaya in Guatemala produces lava flows extending a few miles from the top of the volcano. These streams are more dangerous because many more people live near Pacaya than at the site of the Icelandic eruption. In Hawaii is also the lava lake that started to form on the top of Kīlauea in December 2020 it is still going wellIt is estimated that the depth of the lava lake is now more than 700 feet.


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