Iceland’s magma flow was the fastest ever recorded

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Lava erupting near Grindavik, Iceland, on 8 February

Iceland Civil Defense/Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images

The flow rate of magma through a 15 kilometre-long crack that preceded the recent volcanic explosions in Iceland was the highest ever recorded anywhere in the globe for this type event.

“We can have higher rates in very large eruptions,”You can find out more about this by clicking here. Freysteinn SigmundssonThe University of Iceland, Reykjavik. “But I am not aware of higher estimates of magma flowing into a crack in the surface.”

Sigmundsson has been part of a team monitoring recent volcanic activity in Iceland using satellites and sensors. It began with magma that accumulated several kilometres under the Svartsengi Region. The site of a geothermal plantThe Blue Lagoon Spa, a tourist destination, is supplied with warm water by this source.

On 10th November 2023 A massive crack, 15 km long and several kilometres wide, formed nearby. The team calculated that as it opened, some magma accumulated in the chamber flowed into it at 7400 cubic metres per minute.

This is about a hundred times more rapid than the magma flows that occurred during the eruptions of 2021 and 2022 2023Sigmundsson claims that the Fagradalsfjall region is not far away.

He says the magma can be visualized as a sheet of paper as it is only 8 metres wide. The crack was formed because Iceland is located on A boundary formed by the separation of tectonic plates.

On 18 December a three-day fissure eruption started along a part of this feature. On 14 January, a second eruption lasting two days began, with some lava reaching Grindavik, which had been evacuated.

Sigmundsson explains that although the lava flows only consumed a few buildings in Iceland, cracks on the ground caused extensive damage to roads, pipes, and underground cavities.

On 8th February, an eruption occurred a little farther away from Grindavik. Lava from this eruption has flowed over the pipes that carry hot water from Svartsengi’s geothermal plant. This means that heating has been cut off in some nearby regions – most buildings in Iceland rely on geothermal water for heating.


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