A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again

Iceland: The Thing To Fear In 2013

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Published January 2, 2013

Two different television shows from the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) have recently depicted Iceland as a time bomb waiting to go off this year.
As many are no doubt aware, Iceland is a volcanic island which rests atop the meeting of two tectonic plates. Two eruptions in 2010 – one at Fimmvörðuháls which was mostly a lava affair, and the other, better known ash cloud eruption at Eyjafjallajökull – prompted even the Icelandic president to speculate that nearby Katla might be the next to erupt, with serious consequences for the rest of the world.
The television section of the New York Times now reports that PBS has aired two different shows which depict Iceland as a geological time bomb set to explode this year.

In consecutive hours on Wednesday night, an installment of “Nova” and then the premiere episode of a six-part series called “Life on Fire” make clear that Iceland is a seething caldron on the verge of going kablooey, and that Icelanders aren’t the only people who should be worried about this.
The programs cover a lot of the same material, and watching one or the other is probably sufficient to put Iceland on your personal anxiety barometer. The gist of it: The country has the misfortune of being on top of a spot where two tectonic plates aren’t getting along, and a result is that it is full of volcanoes of various types (yes, there are different types of volcanoes) that erupt with disturbing frequency.

The article correctly points out that geologists are divided on the subject, with the more reasonable voices emphasising that making geological predictions within the span of a few years is very difficult at best.
“To understand how a volcano works, you need to make measurements for as long as possible,” says Hazel Rymer, a volcanologist for The Open University. “A human lifetime is nothing to the life span of a volcano.”



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VIDEO: Holuhraun Best Place For An Eruption

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Holuhraun is the best possible location for an eruption, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson has told RÚV. Although the magma flow from Holuhraun is considerable and steady, Magnús Tumi does not feel it qualifies as a large eruption. New data indicates that approximately 250 cubic metres of magma is spewing out of the fissure each second. According to Magnús Tumi, the current Holuhraun eruption is completely different to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010. Given that the Holuhraun eruption is entirely above ground and a mainly basalt eruption it is producing no disruptive ash. The Eyjafjalljökull eruption on the other hand was

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Holuhraun Still Going Strong, Could Last All Year

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The Holuhraun eruption, which began again yesterday with magma plumes as high as 60 metres, is going strong and might see out the year, reports RÚV. “The eruption is comparable to the one we saw from Krafla [in 1975],” said volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. “At first there was just a tiny eruption then the eruptions got gradually larger as time passed. It’s possible that this event will last until the end of the year, possibly into some of next year as well.” Seismic activity continues at Vatnajökull though none topped 4.9 on the Richter scale yesterday, presumably because the eruption has alleviated some

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Fishing Minister Defends Faroese Snub, Other Icelanders Offer Cake

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The Faroese fishing vessel Næraberg may have been snubbed by authorities, but other Icelanders are helping the beleagured ship in any way they can. RÚV reports that Minister of Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has called the treatment of the Faroese mackerel fishing vessel Næraberg to be based on “a misunderstanding” on why the snub occurred. As reported, the ship, whose engine was badly in need of repair as it departed from Greenland for home, called upon Icelandic authorities to dock and conduct repairs. However, the crew were informed they could dock in Reykjavík Harbour, but would not be permitted to

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Holuhraun Volcano Erupts Again

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An eruption has commenced at Holuhraun again, replete with magma plumes some 60 metres tall. RÚV reports that an eruption has re-opened at Holuhraun, just north of Vatnjökull, which began in the early morning hours. As can be seen, this is a lava eruption, and plumes of magma are reportedly reaching heights of up to 60 metres. This eruption is at the same location as the one which began last Friday, and continued for a few hours, only this time the eruption is 10 to 20 times bigger, volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson told reporters. The southernmost point of the eruption begins

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Poll Decidedly Grim For Interior Minister, Government

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A new poll from Fréttablaðið and Stöð 2 shows about two-thirds of respondents want Interior Minister Hanna Banna Kristjánsdóttir to resign, and trust in her – as well as the government in general – is remarkably low. According to the poll, Vísir reports, which asked respondents if they believe Hanna Birna should resign, 67% of those who had an opinion said they believe she should. When the answers are taken as a whole, 21% were undecided, 26% said she should not resign, and 53% said she should resign. Taken by party affiliation, 45% of Independence Party voters (the party from

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Faroese Receive Cold Welcome In Reykjavík Harbour

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A damaged Faroese fishing ship was intially refused service in Reykjavík Harbour. That situation changed after protests from Faroese and Icelanders alike. Vísir reports that the Faroese mackerel fishing boat Næraberg experienced severe engine trouble on their way from fishing stocks in Greenland waters last Thursday. This prompted the captain to put in a request to Reykjavík Harbour, the closest port of call, in order to conduct repairs. However, the answer they received was that they were welcome to dock in Reykjavík harbour, but the crew would not be permitted to disembark, nor would they receive food, drinking water or

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