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Glacial River Retreats as Lava Flow Grows

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Glacial River Retreats as Lava Flow Grows

Holuhraun eruption in the dark.

The lava from Holuhraun flows into glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

A new branch of the lava flowing from the Holuhraun eruption is constricting glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which keeps retreating, as volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson described from the scene, north of Vatnajökull glacier in the northeastern highlands, yesterday.

Five scientists arrived at the eruption site on Thursday after having abandoned it for several days. The new lava now covers an area measuring 50 square km (19 square miles) and it continues expanding, albeit at a slower rate, ruv.is reports.

“[The eruption] is relatively stable. There are pools of lava in the central crater Baugur which bubble. Lava constantly flows out of them and spreads on the sands,” Ármann said in description of the volcanic activity at Holuhraun.

The fissure eruption in Holuhraun began five weeks ago, first for a fRichard Linklaterew hours on August 29 and then again on August 31 and has carried on since. While the eruption’s force has declined steadily, there are no indications that it’s about to stop.

Scientists first predicted an upcoming eruption after noticing increased seismic activity in and around volcano Bárðarbunga, which lies underneath the northwestern Vatnajökull icecap, on August 16.

An intrusive dike channels magma from the Bárðarbunga caldera to Holuhraun, an old lava field located north of the glacier. Earthquake activity continues in the area.

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