From Iceland — Lava Rain At The Eruption Site

Lava Rain At The Eruption Site

Published May 14, 2021

Alina Maurer
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Geldingadalsgos has something new in stock every week. The Scientific Council for Civil Protection now warns of lava bombs falling to the ground in Geldingadalur. The lava jets reaching a height up to 300 meters, in connection with wind of 13-15 meters per second, cause chunks of hardened lava, falling from 600 meters in the sky.

Helmet for the volcano

Elísabet Pálmadóttir, a natural history specialist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, says that it is not unreasonable to wear a helmet in the area if people are going into the danger zone. The danger zone is defined on the basis of the possibility that lava can rain over people.

“The lava bombs can still be quite hot inside. This can cause moss to burn,” she says. According to Fréttablaðið, the latest measurements indicate that in recent days, the lava flow has increased in Fagradalsfjall and is now close to 13 cubic meters per second. Due to the increased magma activity, the jets are now blowing lava 100 to 300 meters up from the crater. The slag and lava pieces rain down around the crater and the wind direction determines where they will land.

The glowing splashes then can ignite the moss and vegetation. The smoke from this phenomenon contains a lot of carbon monoxide, which is toxic to people.

Lava bombs occurred before

The same material is raining over the eruption area as before, but each lava piece is larger. “In fact, it’s just defined as a lava bomb if it’s larger than 64 millimeters in diameter,” Elísabet states.

The word ‘bomb’ is therefore to some extent dramatic and it is therefore more correct to speak of splashes.

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