Satellite Image Of Snow-Repellent Lava Field - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Satellite Image Of Snow-Repellent Lava Field

Published January 19, 2015

—It's proper nouns-repellent, too

Haukur Már Helgason
Photos by
Iceland's Met Office

—It's proper nouns-repellent, too

The whole country is currently covered in ice and snow, as seen on this satellite image from the Met Office. The whole country, that is, except that lava field forming around the eruption in Holuhraun. That reference is a bit problematic, though: The lava field that was there before is called Holuhraun. Next to it lies the volcano Bárðarbunga, part of the same volcanic system as the current eruption. Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun are both used to refer to the site of the current eruption, but somewhat reluctantly: An eruption, the creation of a new landscape, leaves us suspended in a state of linguistic exception, an in-between where nouns become, momentarily, senseless. A final name has not yet been decided for either the crater or the resulting lava field. It remains next to Bárðarbunga, intersecting Holuhraun, a not-yet-Witches’ Lava, a becoming crater. Not quite a thing, but at least an it. Nameless as it may be, it has erupted since August last year, for five months already. The lava field is already the most extensive to form in Iceland since the 1780s, covering an area equal to that of Reykjavík city and some of its adjacent municipalities. That nameless mass of not quite solid matter can be seen in the accompanying image: the only exception from the country’s current regime of snow.

Lava on Ice

Lava on Ice

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