Reykjanes Eruption: Volcanic Glass Forms Silvery Shimmer Across Lava Field Skip to content
rúv live cam screenshot eruption volcanic glass
Photo: A screenshot from the RUV live camera.

Reykjanes Eruption: Volcanic Glass Forms Silvery Shimmer Across Lava Field

Silvery volcanic glass made for a beautiful sight yesterday at the ongoing eruption on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. The glass is formed when magma cools rapidly and can take many different forms, from shimmering rocks to stringy fibres or teardrops. The silvery matter covered a large part of the lava field yesterday, delighting observers.

Natural Hazard Specialist Elísabet Pálmadóttir explains how the volcanic glass is formed: “With the magma degassing at an earlier rate than before, it becomes less viscous (more fluid) and thus cools quicker in interaction with the air. The quick cooling causes the magma to freeze uncrystallized and turn into volcanic glass.”

Read More: Eruption Lookout Evacuated Due to Encircling Lava

Volcanic glass can form in many different ways and take varying forms, including tear-like drops know as Pele’s tears (named after the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire). Sometimes the glass is stringy and fibrous: then it is known as Pele’s hair in English or nornahár (witches’ hair) in Icelandic.

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The eruption in Geldingadalir valley in Southwest Iceland began over two months ago on March 19. Experts say there is no way to predict how long it will last, but it liklely marks the beginning of a period of heightened volcanic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula.

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