Increased Volcanic Activity in Iceland

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Increased Volcanic Activity in Iceland

Volcanic activity at the crater on Fimmvörduháls in south Iceland increased yesterday afternoon after having subsided the night before and yesterday morning.

Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Shortly after 6 pm last night a series of earthquakes measuring 2-2.5 on the Richter scale shook the region.

Geophysicist Gunnar B. Gudmundsson at the Icelandic Meteorological Office told Morgunbladid that the seismic activity is an indication of the force of the eruption, which is gradually decreasing.

He added that GPS monitors that measure tectonics show that the lithosphere has ceased expanding and even contracted a little. However, that is no certain indication that the eruption is about to finish.

Roughly estimated, 15-20 million cubic meters of solid volcanic debris might have spurted to the surface from inside the earth since the eruption began on March 21, said geophysicist Magnús Tumi Gudmundsson. The lava now covers approximately one square kilometer, he told Fréttabladid.

According to ruv.is, the road to the highland valley of Thórsmörk will be opened today in the afternoon. However, chief constable at Hvolsvöllur Sveinn K. Rúnarsson said there are certain conditions for admission.

Rúnarsson stressed that the road is not passable for ordinary cars and only experienced drivers should enter it. Guidelines (in Icelandic) for driving to Thórsmörk will be published on the website of the Civil Protection Department later in the day.

Police will keep watch in Thórsmörk as well as in Hvannárgil and Hrunagil, the two canyons where lava is flowing, until after Easter. A large number of travelers is anticipated.

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