Long Eruption on Reykjanes Could Form Shield Volcano

People admiring the Reykjanes peninsula eruption from the edge of the flowing lava

There is no way to tell how long the ongoing eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula will last, experts say. Yet if it continues, the slow-flowing, highly fluid lava could potentially form a shield volcano, like Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, often cited as the largest volcano on earth.

The Geldingadalur eruption has now been ongoing for nine days with a steady rate of flow between 5-7 cubic metres per second, according to the Icelandic Met Office. The lava flow is filling Geldingadalur valley, where the erupting fissure is located. “If the eruption keeps at a similar rate, it is modelled that the lava will flow east towards Merardalur valley,” a tweet from the Met Office states. “If the volcano continues to erupt it could end up being categorised as a shield volcano.”

Shield volcanoes are gently-sloping, often large volcanoes, usually formed over long periods of time. The lava fields from such volcanoes can extend several kilometres around their source. The lava emitted by the Geldingadalur eruption is highly fluid – this means it travels further and forms thinner layers than more viscous lava. Over time, such layers can form the gently-rounded shape of a shield volcano, thus named due to its resemblance to a warrior’s shield lying on the ground. These types of volcanoes are more commonly formed at continental rifts such as the one cutting across the Reykjanes peninsula. Iceland does have other shield volcanoes, including Skjaldbreiður (1,060m, whose name is roughly translated as “broad shield”) and Trölladyngja (1,468m), the country’s biggest volcano of that sort. Most of Iceland’s shield volcanoes were formed thousands of years ago.

While experts cannot say how long the Geldingadalur eruption will last or whether it will in fact form a shield volcano, the lava’s deep source and slow but steady flow indicate a long eruption could be ahead.

Daði and Gagnamagnið Release Music Video for Eurovision Song

Daði Freyr og Gagnamagnið eurovision 2021

A giant monster, Iceland’s ongoing eruption, and Trapped star Ólafur Darri Ólafsson are just a few of the features of Icelandic musician Daði Freyr’s music video for his 2021 Eurovision song 10 Years, which has just been released. In the video, the “Mayor of Iceland” (Ólafur Darri) implores Daði and his band Gagnamagnið to fight a giant monster that has emerged from Eyjafjallajökull with their “sweet, sweet dance moves.” The whimsical result can be watched below.

The video was co-produced by Guðný Rós Þórhallsdóttir (who also directed it) and Birta Rán Björgvinsdóttir (who also did the cinematography), the same team that created the video for Daði’s hit Think About Things. Daði Freyr is credited as the story writer. Daði created some of the costumes with his partner (and Gagnamagnið member) Árný Fjóla Ásmundsdóttir, who is the subject of the song.

Read More: Daði’s Eurovision is 20/20

Daði’s song Thing About Things was the favourite in the 2020 Eurovision song contest before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The song catapulted him to stardom and Iceland decided to send him as their representative in 2021 without holding the usual local Söngvakeppnin competition.

Golden Plover Has Arrived, Heralding Spring in Iceland

golden plover in iceland

The first golden plover of the season was spotted in Stokkseyri, Southwest Iceland, yesterday morning. The plover is traditionally thought to herald the arrival of spring in Iceland. Birder Alex Máni Guðríðarson spotted the plover, on the same date and at the same location as the first plovers were seen in the spring of 2019. Vísir reported first.

“Lóan er komin að kveða burt snjóinn,” begins Páll Ólafsson‘s 19th-century ode to the bird: ‘The golden plover has arrived to sing away the snow.’ The poem became a popular folk song and its refrain has inspired numerous versions, from more traditional renditions to (much looser) punk adaptations.

More than a third of the world’s golden plover nest in Iceland. The bird’s average arrival date in Iceland is March 23. Last year it was spotted quite early, on March 15, but it arrived late all of the previous three years: in both 2019 and 2018, it was first spotted on March 28th; in 2017, on March 27th.