Lava Flow up to Four Times that of Eyjafjallajökull

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Lava Flow up to Four Times that of Eyjafjallajökull

By Zoë Robert
Holuhraun eruption, 6:30 am, August 31

From this morning's eruption. Photo: Ármann Höskuldsson/University of Iceland.

The eruption which started in Holuhraun lava field this morning is 50 times larger than the eruption which occurred in the same area on Friday morning, according to professor of geophysics Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson.

In addition, the flow of lava is close to 1,000 cubic meters per second, which is three to four times the flow during the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, Magnús Tumi added. He described the current eruption as “significant” in an interview with RÚV earlier this afternoon. 

Scientists from the Icelandic Met Office and the Institute of Earth Sciences and representatives of the Civil Protection Department concluded the following in their meeting earlier today: 

A lava eruption started in Holuhraun shortly after 4:00 am, on the same volcanic fissure, which erupted earlier this week. The fissure is estimated to be 1.5 km long. It was detected on Míla’s webcam at 05:51 am. Fewer earthquakes seem to follow the event than in the previous eruption, but more lava is being extruded.

At 07:00 am the lava flow was around 1 km wide and 3 km long towards the northeast. The thickness was estimated at a few meters, the flow about 1000 m3 per second.

Approximately 500 earthquakes were detected in the area and smaller than before. The strongest earthquake, a magnitude 3.8, occurred in the Bárðarbunga caldera. Poor weather conditions prevail in the area, which makes detection of smaller earthquakes difficult.

GPS measurements show continued movements north of Dyngjujökull.

Gas emissions rise to a few hundred meters above the fissure.

Weather conditions make it difficult to follow the progression of the eruption, but scientists are in the area, using every opportunity to acquire information on gas and lava outflow.

Weather conditions do not allow flyovers at this time. The opportunity to fly over the area will be assessed later today.

The Aviation Colour Code for Bárðarbunga is at ‘red’ and the code for Askja at ‘yellow.’

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