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Icelandic volcano eruption is like Hawaii volcano shield eruption 'could last for years'


Daily Express - AT 20:45 on Friday 19th March a lava-producing fissure eruption started about 40 km (25 miles) from Iceland´s capital Reykjavik and 7.2 km (4.5 miles) north of the nearest town Grindavík.


Astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the European and North America tectonic plates diverge, Iceland and Icelanders are familiar with volcanic activity. However, not usually quite so close to their doorstep; this is the first eruption in almost 800 years in the southwest peninsula of Reykjanes where, within a 50 km (c. 30 miles) radius, more than 70 % of Iceland´s population lives. In excitement about this novelty, rather than fleeing the scene, people are flocking by the thousands to view the spectacle. Iceland´s former President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson compared the atmosphere to a folk festival. This is a very Icelandic reaction to a 'tourist´eruption, as they call them.



The Geldingadalir eruption is, so far, a very small, and relatively low risk eruption. According to the Universty of Iceland on 23rd March, on average 5.7 m3 of lava is being discharged every second at a fairly stable rate, coming from a depth of 17 - 20 km, directly from the mantle into an uninhabited mountain valley. At that time around 1.8 million m3 of lava had been erupted.


The latest scientific thoughts are that this might be the start of a long-lasting (months to years) shield volcano eruption, similar to those that occur in Hawaii.

Due to the high fluidity of the magma and the lack of ice cover, there is very limited risk of volcanic ash or widespread flight disruption from this eruption.



How dangerous is it? The risks are local, particularly around the eruption site, but serious enough that care is needed when visiting. ....READ MORE


The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918.



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