From Iceland — Geldingadalur: The Volcano That Just Keeps Giving

Geldingadalur: The Volcano That Just Keeps Giving

Published May 12, 2021

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Research done by Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland has shown a significant increase in lava flow at the eruption site.

In an interview with Fréttablaðið, Þorvaldur Þórðarson, a geoscientist, encourages people to keep an eye on the volcano as it is changing so rapidly.

It’s quicker than you’d think

The average flow over the period is 13 cubic meters per second, whereas previously the average flow had been almost 8 cubic meters per second.

Increased flow has gone hand in hand with rising lava jets and the powerful flow of lava in the Meradalir valleys.

The volume of the lava has now reached over 30 million cubic meters and its area almost 1.8 square kilometres.


Þorvaldur told Fréttablaðið that residents of the capital area should keep a look out for the volcano as it’s possible to see the lava jets with the naked eye.

Þorvaldur said: “The lava flow from the eruption is fairly stable and so is the gas flow. The changes that have taken place in the last few days are not significant and therefore it is not possible to talk about dramatic developments in that respect. What is happening now and is interesting is that the lava jets can be seen with the naked eye in the capital area. It can therefore be said that the residents of the capital are receiving a crash course in geology with a good view.”

Þorvaldur adds that the reason for these high lava jets is due to gas accumulating in pockets underground that eventually, bursts out and pushes the lava with it.

Long lasting

“I am still of the opinion that this will be a long eruption. There is considerable magma down there at a depth of about 15-20 kilometres and the storage chamber there still has considerable magma that has accumulated for 800 years,” says Þorvaldur.

He goes on to say that: “This will therefore continue to increase for some time, but we do not have the opportunity to study the development of the magma that is there at a depth of 15-20 kilometres. However, we can read into what is coming to the surface and thus acquire knowledge and be better able to predict what is to come.”

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