Iceland Volcano Still Spewing Lava, One Month On

Iceland volcano still spewing lava, one month on

Grindavik, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Apr, 2024) Orange lava bubbles and pops, occasionally spewing large fountains from a volcano that has been erupting for a month in Iceland, the second-longest eruption since the region's volcanic activity reawakened in March 2021.

"It's continuing at a pretty stable rate at the moment and we don't see any real signs that it will end in the near future," Benedikt Ofeigsson, geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), told AFP.

On March 16, lava burst out of a crack in the ground at Sundhnukagigar, on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland, and has flowed ever since.

The volcano was pumping out some 3.6 cubic metres of lava per second in the most recent measurements taken on April 9, according to the IMO.

Other eruptions in the same region in December, January and February -- preceded by the evacuation in November of 4,000 residents in the nearby town of Grindavik -- likely created favourable conditions for a lasting eruption.

"Now there is an open channel to the surface," Ofeigsson said.

Magma is making its way through the Earth's upper crust from a depth of at least 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).

This scenario is similar to the first eruption in the region, near Mount Fagradalsfjall in March 2021, which lasted six months.

By contrast, the other eruptions in the past few months have only lasted a few days.

In addition, the ground has been observed rising -- so-called inflation -- in the nearby area of Svartsengi, home to a geothermal plant providing electricity and water to 30,000 people on the peninsula.

The inflation suggests that "all the magma coming from this depth doesn't have the capacity to go straight to the surface (and) is partly stored in this magma storage in Svartsengi," Ofeigsson said.

Until March 2021, the Reykjanes peninsula had not experienced an eruption for eight centuries.

Volcanologists now believe a new era of seismic activity has begun in the region.