Author Topic: Volcanic eruption in Iceland  (Read 140 times)

Glaurung

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Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« on: March 22, 2021, 10:17:56 PM »
For those who aren't aware yet, a volcanic eruption has been under way in Iceland since Friday (19 March) evening. It's at Fagradalsfjall, only about 25 miles from the capital, Reykjavik - fortunately the area around the volcano is uninhabited, so there is not thought to be any risk to people.

The Icelandic national broadcaster, RÚV, has helpfully provided a live webcam view. An enterprising YouTuber, Dušan Majer, has posted a series of timelapse sequences from the RÚV stream - these are perhaps the best way to get a sense of the scale of the developing lava flows and the speed at which they're growing.

dubsartur

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Re: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2021, 05:46:06 PM »
Its so pretty!  I wonder if there is anything that we could throw into it to make the plague year go away.

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Glaurung

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Re: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2021, 12:33:43 AM »
Another nice timelapse of the RÚV webcam feed of the eruption: this time most of the first week compressed into just short of two and a half minutes.

Jubal

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Re: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2021, 11:07:25 PM »
Ooh interesting... I'd sort of not thought much about how in a long eruption the later flows must sort of flow over the earlier ones rather than being a continuation of the same, though it's sort of obvious now I think about it.
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Glaurung

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Re: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2021, 09:38:34 AM »
It seems to depend a lot on the changes in flow rate over time: if the new flow slows down for a while, then the lava that's already flowed has a chance to solidify somewhat, and then later flows have to go over it. I also spotted that in some places the whole mass continues creeping forward, even though it's already solidified, at least with a crust. From a scientific point of view, it's a fascinating example of fluid dynamics in an unusual temperature/viscosity regime; and, in any case, a dramatic natural phenomenon that I could watch for hours.

EDIT: Here's a similar phenomenon, at least in terms of fluid dynamics: so-called "frazil ice", a slurry of ice and water that flows and sets very quickly. Seen here in Yosemite National Park, so there's some bonus spectacular scenery as well.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2021, 12:37:18 PM by Glaurung »

Glaurung

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Re: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2021, 08:41:54 PM »
Update time: the eruption has now been under way for almost a fortnight, and it's still going strong. Much of the valley that was visible in the early webcam videos has now been covered with lava several tens of metres deep, and it's still filling up. The RÚV livestream is also still running - but they've now zoomed in on the eruption vents, so there's now no sense of how the lava is spreading :(

Other Icelandic media have got in on the webcam scene: mbl.is is the website for the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, and their English-language Iceland Monitor includes a livestream (from a different side than RÚV, and zoomed out further), and various other articles.

Meanwhile, YouTube user masheduniverse has picked up the baton on timelapse videos, from both the RÚV and mbl.is webcams. And on the subject of timelapses, this one compresses most of the first week of the RÚV livestream into about two and a half minutes.

EDIT: And another timelapse, this one covering the first ten days or so in about five minutes, topped and tailed with some 3D graphics that help give a sense of where it's all happening. Plus you get to see the side of the new cone slide off at about 4:25, forming an island in the middle of the lava flow:
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 06:28:18 PM by Glaurung »

Glaurung

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Re: Volcanic eruption in Iceland
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2021, 09:47:18 AM »
The latest excitement: a new fissure opened up yesterday lunchtime, hundreds of metres away from the original one. It's on a high plateau, close to the edge of the next valley (Meradalir), so there is now a lava stream pouring down the side of the valley and spreading out at the bottom. The old fissure is still active; I haven't seen anything yet to indicate whether the new fissure is affecting the flow rate from the old one.

The mbl.is webcam is still pointing at the original fissure, but the RÚV one has been moved. Soon after the new eruption it was turned to point at the new fissure; overnight it was moved completely (or a new one installed) to the far side of the Meradalir valley, so there is now a clear view of the new fissure, the lava stream down the hillside, and the spreading lava on the valley bottom.

Iceland Monitor has an article on the new fissure, with a video taken from a helicopter yesterday afternoon. This drone video also gives a good view:

EDIT 08/04/21
Clearly one new fissure was just not enough - shortly after midnight local time yesterday (7 April), a third fissure opened up. It's on the same high ground as the second fissure, but on the Geldingadalir side, so its lava flows towards the first one. Unfortunately, this was the location that mbl.is chose for their webcam observing the original fissure, and so at 08:19 yesterday it went off-line, permanently - the first, and hopefully only, casualty of this eruption. Inevitably, someone's made a timelapse of its last hours:
On the up side, we can now be a bit more confident that something of twenty-first century technology is going to make it into the fossil record :)

On the webcam front, RÚV now have two, one looking over Geldingadalir to cover the first and third fissures, and one looking over Meradalir to cover the second fissure. Both are reassuringly high up and distant from the fissures. I think mbl.is have replaced their webcam, also somewhere safer but alas further from the action. I will try to sort out links for them all shortly.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 09:39:42 PM by Glaurung »