Iceland volcano 2021 dormant for 6000 years erupts not far from Reykjavík
Iceland volcano Iceland volcano Reykjavík for 6000 years dormant from erupts not far
Sat, 20 Mar 2021 06:00:00 -0700
An eruption began occurring on an Iceland volcano that has long been dormant
Officials said it appeared small at this stage, and the prime minister said no
Iceland volcano Iceland volcano
Sat, 20 Mar 2021 06:00:00 -0700
No injuries were reported after the rare eruption near Reykjavik — only joy, on the part of the singer and other Icelanders
No injuries were reported after the rare eruption near Reykjavik — only joy, on the part of the singer, volcanologists and other Icelanders.
Mike Ives and
A volcano erupted in Iceland on Friday, essentially turning the night sky into a real-life lava lamp.
No injuries were reported.
Just joy — and the odd traffic jam.
The eruption occurred on Friday evening near Mount Fagradalsfjall, about 20 miles southwest of the capital, Reykjavik, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said on Twitter.
The agency said that the lava fountains were small by volcano standards, and that seismometers were not recording much turbulence.
“It’s a small eruption flowing from a small fissure,” said Páll Einarsson, a professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Iceland, about the fissure.
“It’s quite harmless and we don’t expect any damage, not even ash clouds that could disrupt flight traffic.”
Einarsson said experts could not predict how the eruption would evolve, but the meteorological office said on Saturday that the volcanic activity had already decreased.
And it was nothing like the eruption in 2010 of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland, which spewed so much ash that it grounded flights across parts of Europe for weeks.
Still, the eruption that started on Friday is “quite a big deal,” according to Elísabet Pálmadóttir, a natural hazard specialist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office.
“It’s one of the smallest eruptions we’ve ever seen, yes, but we haven’t had an eruption there in 800 years, and it’s close to capital and to the airport,” she said.
A lot of people were excited.
(A livestream of the eruption was also made available.)
“YESSS !! , eruption !!” the Icelandic singer Björk wrote on Facebook and Instagram, noting that she had once filmed a music video at the site.
“We in iceland are sooo excited !!!” she added.
“We still got it !!! sense of relief when nature expresses herself !!!”
The eruption capped an unusually busy spell of seismic activity in southwestern Iceland that began around December 2019.
The earthquake swarm started on Feb.
24 with a 5.7-magnitude quake, and tens of thousands of quakes have since followed, with up to 3,000 in just one day earlier this month.
Although most of the swarms remained small in magnitude, their frequency led scientists to believe that an eruption could be imminent.
There is a long history of volcanic activity in Iceland, which has more than 30 active volcanoes.
The country straddles two tectonic plates, which are themselves divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten hot rock, or magma.
Quakes occur when the magma pushes through the plates.
“It confirms the nature of the activity we monitored in the past few weeks,” Dr.
Einarsson said about the eruption.
“Increased seismic activity can mean magma movement and can augur eruptions.”
But it’s rare to see quakes in and around the greater Reykjavik area, where most of the country’s 368,000 residents live.
Scientists are now preparing for what could be decades of increased activity: they have observed that the volcanoes in southwestern Iceland become active approximately every 800 years, and that eruptions can then occur for up to 200 years.
For the first one, however, volcanologists and seismologists have said for weeks that they did not expect activity on the order of the 2010 quake at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, and that the looming eruption would probably bubble out without much explosive force.
“People in Reykjavik are waking up with an earthquake, others go to sleep with an earthquake,” Thorvaldur Thordarson, a professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, said in an interview this month.
“There’s a lot of them, and that worries people, but there’s nothing to worry about, the world is not going to collapse.”
He was right.
The eruption near Mount Fagradalsfjall on Friday did pose a few inconveniences, including traffic jams and concerns about the potential for volcanic pollution in the Reykjavik area.
Iceland’s international airport, 12 miles northwest of the site of the eruption, remained open.
Yet they still warned people not to go near the lava and to stay indoors with the windows closed.
“The area of the eruption is considered very dangerous,” the Icelandic meteorological office said in a statement on Saturday.
“The eruption site can change without notice and put people at risk unexpectedly.”
It added there was no apparent production of ash — which can cause more disruptions — and that the gas emissions were unlikely to cause major discomfort.
Instead, the eruption, which enthusiasts around the world had been eagerly expecting for weeks, has mostly been a cause for celebration.
“It started!!!!” Joël Ruch, a volcanologist at the University of Geneva, wrote on Twitter as the lava started flowing slowly southwest, away from Reykjavik.
“First photo of the eruption! Wow!” wrote Sigridur Kristjansdottir, a seismologist in Iceland.
Nonspecialists also expressed excitement online.
The colors in the sky were indeed spectacular.
Imagine the Northern Lights, but in blood orange instead of the usual electric green.
Or the glowing orbs of an early Mark Rothko canvas.
Or Björk’s orange hair, circa 2011, a few years before she filmed her music video in the vicinity of Mount Fagradalsfjall.
For local residents, the eruption also brought some relief.
“We’ve been having earthquakes for the past three weeks,” Ms.
Pálmadóttir, from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said about the earthquakes, which included half a dozen above a magnitude of 5.
“People were getting pretty tired, we were a bit suspended and were all waiting for the eruption.”
Pálmadóttir added, “People can hopefully sleep a bit better now.”
– March 20, 2021