In Iceland, the eruption began to last longer than expected

Green Canyon gave way to a hostile environment worthy of darkness Lord of the rings : The ongoing eruption in Iceland reveals its first secrets and volcanologists now expect it to last several weeks, or even longer.




Jeremy Richard
France Media

On the slopes of Fagradalsfjall, just 40 kilometers from the capital, Reykjavik, experts initially expected the eruption to be short, within a few days.

However, given the constant lava flow and after analyzing the first samples of magma, the hypothesis of the longer phenomenon is gaining momentum.

Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a geophysicist at the Institute of Geosciences, notes that “the flow has been the same since the beginning of the eruption.” “This means we are starting to wonder if it could be a long-term rash,” he told AFP.

Away from the dreaded explosive eruptions, the weak and relatively calm lava flow that has gushed since Friday evening has delighted thousands of curious people who have come to approach this magnificent sight – even if access is sometimes blocked when toxic gases are in excess or due to weather conditions.

Here, magma is ejected according to preliminary calculations at approximately 1190 ° C. The most creative spectators try to grill sausage, bacon, or marshmallows – but the temperature isn’t always easy to control.

Photo Jeremy Richard, Agence France-Presse

The scientific study of the compression of the smallest basalt rocks in Iceland indicates that the magma comes from a very deep source, about 15 kilometers below the surface.

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The so-called primary magma, meaning that it comes directly from the upper Earth’s mantle, has not been heard of in this region for thousands of years.

Two pits in the formation

“Most of the magma moves toward the crust, forming its own lineages and evolving.” Volcanologist Thorvaldor Thordarson explains, “These magmas are rising straight up.”

Above all, he explained to AFP that the flow of underground traffic is like an exit flow to the surface, lending credence to the idea of ​​a longer scenario.

With data like this, “In my opinion, this rash has the potential to last for a long time,” the specialist adds.

Due to the site’s configuration – a natural basin in an uninhabited area – experts say that long-term eruption at the current rate does not pose a major threat to the surrounding area. They estimate that it will take weeks, for example, for the lava to reach the nearest pathway.

If Iceland is the largest and most active volcanic region in Europe, lava has not flowed into the Rikgan Peninsula since the 13th century.

PHOTO HALLDOR KOLBEINS, French press agency

Experts have already warned that a volcanic awakening in the region after eight centuries of sleep could mean a new period of activity for decades or more.

It’s been just over a year since seismic activity, which suddenly intensified for a month, indicated that magma was pointing at its nose on the peninsula, famous for harboring the warm, turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon.

About ten kilometers from the nearest small town, the fishing port of Grindavik, the eruption site in the Geldingadalur Valley gets more interesting every day.

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As the days go by, the magma incandescent as it falls forms mounds of cooled lava and creates two small craters called drop cones, the highest of which reaches 20 meters.

The site, which has already been visited by thousands of people, is relatively safe, even if the toxic discharges from the volcano are being watched.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Institute, the concentration of sulfur dioxide (SO2) can exceed 9000 mcg / m.3, Or 450 times the average 24 hours recommended by the World Health Organization.

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