Þorvaldur Þórðarson, a professor of volcanology and petrology at the University of Iceland, told mbl.is on Monday that continuous eruptions at the volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula have added to its “roof”, slowly closing the once exposed crater.
Unseen lava flows
Eruption activity has been gradually decreasing in the last week but Þorvaldur explained that this does not mean lava flow has necessarily reduced. Instead, lava flowing from the crater has developed channels under the hard surface; this makes it appear that eruption activity has slowed, however, it’s just not visible from above the surface of the hardened lava.
To envision how this might be possible, Þorvaldur says “What we see on the surface is just a crust, at the top it is crispy and then it is dough underneath. If the dough is sticky, it keeps the surface completely up, and under it is more or less flowing lava that is in certain internal channels.”
The volcano isn’t expected to end anytime soon
He believes that the eruption could potentially last for a few years, “There is nothing to tell us that the eruption is stopping. The production is still the same. Then, of course, it is inevitable it will go down to Suðurstrandarvegur.” However, he notes that it could take a substantial amount of time for lava to reach the road.
Despite ample flow, the exposed view into the volcanic crater that we grew so used to is slowly closing, while lava continues to flow under the surface and towards the road.
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