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Holuhraun Eruption One Month Old

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Holuhraun Eruption One Month Old

The Holuhraun eruption seen from a distance, across a sandplain.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The eruption in Holuhraun, in northern Vatnajökull, is one month old today. The eruption is one of the biggest in Icelandic history in terms of the quantity of lava, ruv.is reports.

As of Saturday, the lava covered roughly 44.5 square km (17 square miles).

Seismic activity in the area continues and there are no signs that the eruption is declining.

According to the latest Status Report from the Civil Protection Department’s Scientific Advisory Board, published at 9:30 this morning, the subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera continues at a slightly slower rate and is now around 40 cm per 24 hours.

Three scenarios are considered most likely:

- The eruption on Holuhraun declines gradually and subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera stops.

- Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, prolonging or strengthening the eruption in Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a jökulhlaup and an ash-producing eruption. It is also possible that eruptive fissures could develop in another location under the glacier.

- Large-scale subsidence of the caldera occurs, causing an eruption at the edge of the caldera. Such an eruption would melt large quantities of ice, leading to a major jökulhlaup, accompanied by ash fall.

Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

From the Icelandic Met Office: The Aviation Color Code for Bárðarbunga remains at ‘orange.’

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