From Iceland — Magma Reservoir Beneath Svartsengi Continues To Fill

Magma Reservoir Beneath Svartsengi Continues To Fill

Published April 26, 2024

The volcanic eruption that began on the Reykjanes peninsula on March 16 is ongoing, with lava spewing out of a single eruptive crater east of Sundhnúkur. At the same time, the rate of magma flowing into the reservoir beneath Svartsengi, which has been feeding the eruptions and dike intrusions in the region since late 2023, has remained steady.

Analytical models employed by volcanologists estimate that inflow of magma into the reservoir is greater than the outflow feeding the eruption. The Icelandic Meteorological Office notes that “As long as the magma continues accumulating in the Svartsengi reservoir, the likelihood for a significant escalation in the eruptive activity in Sundhnúkur crater row increases.” escalation could take the shape of new eruptive fissures in the area, the enlarging of the currently active eruptive vent, or the formation of new dike intrusions in the area.

Geophysicist Páll Einarsson told RÚV that the situation in the Svartsengi region is very unusual and not something scientists have witnessed during previous eruptions on the Reykjanes peninsula or at Krafla. “If the pressure in the chamber feeding it is increasing, then you would expect the eruption to gradually increase, but it doesn’t,” he told the national broadcaster.

The lava is flowing at a rate of 3 or 4 m3/s for all of April, while 7-8 million m3 of magma has been recharged to the Svartsengi reservoir since the eruption began.

Follow the Grapevine’s ongoing volcano coverage.

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