From Iceland — Changes In Askja Volcano

Changes In Askja Volcano

Published September 6, 2021

Desirai Thompson
Photo by
Boaworm/Wikimedia Commons

The Icelandic Met Office is reporting on land level changes at Askja—a volcano that is part of Dyngjufjöll mountains—citing a shift of five centimetres since the beginning of August this year. Regular measurements have been taken at the site since 1983, showing a one centimetre rise per year to be commonplace.

RÚV reports that earthquakes were slightly more common around Askja in August than is typical for the area.

Askja is an active volcano, having had its last eruption in 1961 which lasted five to six weeks. While the Met Office is not entirely clear on the cause of these more drastic changes, it is likely to be a result of magma flow.

Geothermal activity, overheating and earthquakes are normal occurrences during dormant periods. While it’s not clear how these activities may develop at any given time, they often don’t result in an eruption.

Kristín Jónsdóttir, earthquake hazard coordinator at the Met Office, states that it’s important to keep a close eye on developments at the volcano. While most eruptions of Askja are fissure eruptions—meaning lava emerges from cracks in the ground rather than exploding from a volcanic cone–more powerful eruptions are possible.

For the meteorologically-inclined among us, more detailed information on the Askja volcano can be found here.

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