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Holuhraun Lava Could Fill All Buildings in Iceland

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Holuhraun Lava Could Fill All Buildings in Iceland

Holuhraun eruption lava

The lava in Holuhraun. Photo: Bernard Meric.

Volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson estimates that 200-250 million cubic meters (7.1-8.8 billion cubic feet) of lava have been emitted by the Holuhraun eruption. For comparison, according to the National Registry, the combined space of all buildings in Iceland is 148 million cubic meters.

The size of the lava flow is now estimated to be 25-30 square km (9.7-11.6 square miles), which makes it one of the largest eruptions in Iceland since the 19th century.

The lava flow from Kröflueldar, a series of eruptions in Krafla from 1975 to 1984 was 60 square km and the estimated volume of the lava was 250 million cubic meters. But square kilometers only tell half the story, visir.is reports.

Geophysicist Ari Trausti Guðmundsson explained that the volume of the new lava field is, on one hand, based on carefully calculated square meters, and then the estimated thickness of the lava. The cubic volume is when those two numbers are multiplied together.

“For comparison I can name that the Heimaey eruption in 1973 reaches 200 million cubic meters. It’s very thick but it’s only 3.4 square km,” said Ari Trausti.

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