THE ERUPTION REPORT #2 - The Reykjavik Grapevine

THE ERUPTION REPORT #2

THE ERUPTION REPORT #2

Published March 22, 2010

Photos by
James Ashworth

Volcanologist James Ashworth -  2dfedda0f5748ae.jpgHello again folks. Just thought I’d give a brief update of what’s happening in a simple but hopefully fairly correct fashion. In short, the eruption continues. In slightly longer terms, it’s still going quite strong, actually. I believe the fissure has shortened slightly, as would be expected, although I’ve heard lengths for this between 2 km and 300 m, so who knows? I will try my best to find out what’s right from the best possible source on this, and let you all know when I do…

This morning there was a little explosive activity, which created quite an impressive little ash plume. It looked fairly white in appearance so this was most likely ‘phreatic’ or ‘phreatomagmatic’ activity – that is, water interacting with the magma/lava. Whether this is meltwater from the surrounding snow or groundwater is not really clear. It’s not particularly dangerous activity, though (at least not unless you’re very close). Something to keep an eye on, but nothing more.

The most interesting thing to me right now is the GPS measurements, which seem to be indicating that the mountain is still inflating. That means pressure is still building inside. This will need to be checked with other measurements, but if it is true, the eruption could either continue for a long time, or become something more (more fissures, an explosive eruption, who knows what…). Again, I will keep you guys updated on what’s going on here.

Katla continues to slumber peacefully, although have no doubt it is being monitored using every technique under the sun. Although there does appear to be a link between Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, and an eruption of Katla is not exactly unlikely (it’s ‘overdue’ if you go on the timeline of eruptions alone, and the last 2 times Eyjafjallajökull erupted, Katla also went shortly after), rest assured that if anything is going to happen, WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT. So don’t worry about that.

So again, sit back and enjoy the footage. The stuff coming from planes and helicopters is much better than anything visible on the ground right now – the glow visible from Route 1 at night is pretty cool (see photo), but it’s probably not worth the hassle of going to get closer unless you’re a die-hard volcano fan with a good 4×4 and some brass balls.

I’ll be heading out there again tonight, hopefully to get much closer. With a bit of luck, the fire fountains themselves will be visible from where we’re going. If I get photos, so will you guys!

Click here to read James Ashworth’s fascinating first post, EYJAFJALLAJÖKULL – 15 HOURS IN.

See more Eruption Iceland stories.

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