Geophysicists expect that the volcanic eruption on Fimmvörduháls in south Iceland might last for weeks, even months. A meeting will be held today with inhabitants of the region to review the situation and safety measures.
Eyjafjallajökull glacier. The volcano causing the eruption on Fimmvörduháls hides underneath its icecap. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Scientists managed to get close to the eruption this morning to take samples. There was more force in the eruption last night than yesterday. There were three high points last night when steam explosions occurred, visir.is reports.
Research indicates that magma is still flowing into the volcano in Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which is causing the current eruption. This means that the eruption will probably not be over any time soon, Stöd 2 reports.
Haraldur Sigurdsson, one of Iceland’s most acclaimed volcanologists, visited the scene yesterday. He believes that the lava currently spurting from the crater on Fimmvörduháls is related to the lava flow of the 1973 volcanic eruption in the Westman Islands.
“The source of the magma underneath this area is similar. It is located at a significant depth and is then carried up to the crust,” Sigurdsson said. “This magma has risen to a depth of ten kilometers in the past weeks and remained there and then a small leak has spurted to the surface.”
Sigurdsson does not believe that the eruption will grow in volume or that other fissures will open up. “I believe what we see now is the way it’s going to be, little lava, which will flow for a few weeks, maybe months, and then it will be over. But, who knows? We just have to keep following it.”
“It is fortunate that it is in an area where there is little danger so it will probably just be a tourist eruption,” Sigurdsson added.
The weather conditions in south Iceland have now improved considerably, the storm has calmed and visibility increased so the eruption can be seen from many locations again. The area has been opened for tourists who can view the spectacle from a safe distance.
However, people are warned against going too close to the eruption. Not only is a volcanic eruption dangerous by definition, but the surrounding area is known for unpredictable weather—people have died of exposure on Fimmvörduháls.
Telecom Míla has established two webcams in the vicinity of the eruption zone on Fimmvörduháls and is offering live broadcasts through its website, mila.is/eldgos.
One of the cameras is on Míla’s mast in Hvolsvöllur and the other on top of the mountain Thórólfsfell, north of Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which is closer to the eruption.