A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted with radiant waves of molten lava last Friday, REPORTS Associated Press.
The view was received with much anticipation and excitement as seismic activity in the area increased within the last few weeks. The Reykjavk Peninsula, not far from the capital Reykjavikk, has not seen a volcano eruption in 800 years, reports Alyse Stanley for Gizmodo. Mount Fagradalsfjall volcano has been dormant for 6,000 years, AP reports.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) first detected the explosion through a webcam and later confirmed the explosion using thermal satellite imagery, Gizmodo reports. After the initial explosion released a source of lava nearly 100 yards into the air, the flow slowed down, heading southwest and west. The eruption is considered small, with lava flowing from a length of 546 yards crack wind. Beneath the surface, its magma area covered about 0.4 square miles, reports Gizmodo. Since its eruption on Friday, volcanic activity has diminished and posed no threat to humans because the eruption was small and did not produce much ash, BBC reports.
Iceland is known for its frequent seismic and volcanic activity, with 30 volcanoes currently active. The site lies along two tectonic plates separated by an underwater mountain range flowing with molten rock, Mike Ives and Elian Peltier report for New York Times. Judging by the geological history of the area, researchers expect to see more eruptions in the coming decades, perhaps for the next 200 years, New York Times reports.
Before an eruption occurs, earthquakes can occur when magma pushes through plates. Increases in seismic activity shook Iceland after an initial magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck on 24 February. The initial quake triggered various tremors, warning scientists that an explosion might occur, New York Times reports. Shortly before the volcanic eruption, the IMO said there were 400 earthquakes within a span of seven hours, reports Li Cohen for CBS.
“This confirms the nature of the activity we have been monitoring in recent weeks,” said Páll Einarsson, an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland. New York Times. “Increased seismic activity may imply magma motion and may trigger eruptions.”
The site of the blast is open to the public and can be reached by walking several hours from the nearest road, reports BBC. But, IMO still warns people to be careful.
“The area of the explosion is considered very dangerous,” the IMO said in a statement. “The location of the explosion could change without warning and put people at risk suddenly.”
The hike did not stop adventurers who wanted to see the rich magma flowing for themselves. Social media platforms are filled with stunning photos, videos and images of lava flow drones. Those curious to see the volcano erupting magma for themselves can tune in to a live broadcast supported by Iceland’s national broadcasting platform RUV, reports Matt Novak for Gizmodo.
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