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After six days and 12,000 earthquakes, a volcanic eruption began in Iceland

After six days and 12,000 earthquakes, a volcanic eruption began in Iceland

On Monday, at 16:40 local time, six days after more than 12,000 minor earthquakes, magma breached the surface and an eruption began on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula. The 2021 eruption was followed by 319 days of volcanic activity last August, after which we had to wait 323 days for the next event. In the year 2021, after 800 years of calm, the earth opened up and lava flowed in this area, which may have been the beginning of a long volcanic cycle, even decades long with more or less interruptions.

Signs of the current eruption were very similar to the two previous eruptions: strong earthquakes, ground movements erupting at increasingly shallow depths, rapidly rising magma from the top of the Earth’s mantle, and associated strong surface humping, followed by reducing earthquakes. Finally, just when the area seemed to be getting quieter, the volcanic eruption began. Within a few days, magma reached a depth of 1 kilometer, and at the end of the fourth day it approached the surface to a distance of 500 meters. It paused here, and then this afternoon, it divided the surface for about 200 meters, and near the site of the two previous eruptions, at the foot of Little Hurtor Mountain, a lava curtain erupted, and a lava flow spread over it. flat surface.

At the moment, the eruption is not very intense, but it is possible that the earth will split up somewhere else in the future, and more lava may appear on the surface. According to the calculations, more magma than previous eruptions has been pushed through the Earth’s crust, so there may still be a supply. The area is uninhabited, so people and property are not in danger at the moment. The area is relatively flat, so lava spreads slowly. The question for the future is how much nuclear supply the volcanic eruption will receive and whether there will be fission elsewhere. In the worst case, a large amount of lava will spill near Mount Keeler, and it could also flow in a northwest direction and cut off the Keflavik-Reykjavik highway. The chance of this happening now is very small, but at this point everything needs to be taken into account. Local volcanologists are constantly monitoring the evolution of the eruption and all this can be followed with updated information Tűzhanyó Blog Also on his social page.

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The author is a volcanologist, corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, university professor, institute director, research group leader, ELTE TTK Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences – ELTE Volcanology Research Group

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