Largest Lava Eruption Since 19th Century - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Largest Lava Eruption Since 19th Century

Published September 9, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Axel Sigurðarson

The Holuhraun eruption has produced more lava than any other eruption since the 19th century, reports RÚV.

According to a volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson, the Holuhraun eruption has become larger than the Krafla eruption of 1984 and the magma contains more gas.

The lava field created by the eruption is now 19 square kilometres, according to the Institute of Earth Sciences. For the sake of comparison, the lava field is so large it could blanket the buildings of Hafnafjörður.

Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson told RÚV that there are no signs of the lava flow slowing down, and that it is currently moving at a speed of about 100 metres per hour.

The lava has travelled west across Jökulsá á Fjöllum river.

Seismic activity continues in the area, especially around the Bárðarbunga caldera. An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 was recorded there just past 1 am this morning.

As reported, the Bárðarbunga caldera recently sunk by 15 metres, which does not mean an eruption is on the way, but is the deepest recorded caldera sink in over a century.

Due to these developments geologist Björn Oddsson has said that there is now cause to set up GPS monitoring devices at Bárðarbunga, as the seismic activity plus the sinking of the caldera point to the renewed possibility of an eruption.


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