Eruption May Last a Week, or Even a Month

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Eruption

Eruption May Last a Week, or Even a Month

Holuhraun eruption

The eruption on September 1 at 11 pm. Photo: Míla's webcam. Photo: livefromiceland.is.

The Holuhraun eruption continues this morning, but earthquake activity seems to be somewhat less than yesterday. According to webcam observations there is no visible change in activity since yesterday with effusive lava eruption and fountains.

As reported, the biggest earthquake measured occurred early in the night, 3.1 in magnitude with 110 quakes detected. Most of the quakes, including the biggest one, were located in the northern part of the magma intrusion with some activity extending under the glacial rim.

Stöð 2 TV interviewed volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson yesterday: “The eruption is similar to what is was yesterday [August 31]. The flow of lava is equivalent to a little more than Ölfusá river [the big river flowing through the town Selfoss in South Iceland].”

Ármann continued: “This eruption is similar to the 1984 Krafla eruption, with lava fountains stretching as high as 60 to 70 meters [around 200 feet] up in the air. Still the whole fissure has been on fire for more than 24 hours, so this is probably a bit bigger.”

It is clear that the future remains a big question mark.

“The eruption may continue for a week or even a month. To predict what happens next we have to investigate GPS measurements to see if the pressure below has been reduced. If not, the eruption can just go on and on.”

The heat of the lava is over 1,000°C degrees (1,800°F) and very difficult to be up close to. Toxic gases are also a concern of the scientists.

Hydrogen sulfide levels from the lava have increased since yesterday.

“You find the sulfur taste in your mouth, and if we stay much longer this will become sulfur acid in your lungs”, Ármann said and was on his way.

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