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Holuhraun Largest Lava Eruption in Iceland since 19th Century

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Holuhraun Largest Lava Eruption in Iceland since 19th Century

The new lava at Holuhraun.

The new lava at Holuhraun. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The ongoing volcanic eruption in Holuhraun has already become the largest lava eruption in Iceland since the 19th century, according to volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. More lava has been emitted than in the largest lava eruption of the 20th century, Krafla in 1984.

Ármann also pointed out that there is more gas in the magma than in the Krafla eruption, ruv.is reports.

The lava emitted in the 1973 Eldfell eruption in Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, covered a smaller area than the lava already emitted in the Holuhraun eruption, but caused significant damage as it occurred near a town, whereas Holuhraun is in a remote area.

The largest lava eruption in Iceland before Holuhraun was in Askja in 1875.

As reported yesterday, the lava at Holuhraun covers almost 19 square km (7 square miles), which is an area larger than Hafnarfjörður, a town of more than 27,000 inhabitants outside Reykjavík.

Volcanologist Þorvaldur Þórðarson stated that the lava flow is not slowing down, progressing at a speed of 100 meters (328 feet) per hour. He predicts that it won’t progress further than 20 km but spread out after that.

On Iceland Review’s Facebook page, you can see how the Holuhraun eruption compares to New York: the lava would now cover Manhattan to 53rd Street and its volume would frame the entire Empire State Building, except the tip of the antenna.

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