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Holuhraun New Lava Covers Equivalent of Entire Capital Area

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Holuhraun New Lava Covers Equivalent of Entire Capital Area

A map showing how the lava from Holuhraun would cover the capital area

A map of the capital area. The area shaded in red shows the size of the new lava at Holuhraun. Photo: From visir.is.

The area covered in new lava from the Holuhraun eruption now measures 63 square km (24 square miles), 2.3 square km larger than reported three days ago. Had the eruption occurred in Reykjavík, the lava would now cover the entire city plus all neighboring communities except Mosfellsbær.

The University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences published a new map along with measurements of the new lava this morning, visir.is reports.

Over 70 earthquakes occurred in the area in the 24 hours to 10 am today. The largest was of magnitude 4.8.

There is no indication that the eruption will stop in the near future.

Three scenarios are still 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 on Holuhraun. In this situation, it is likely that the eruptive fissure would lengthen southwards under Dyngjujökull, resulting in a glacial river flood 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 glacial river flood , accompanied by ash fall.

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