Geophysicist: Hard to Predict How Eruption Will Develop Skip to content

Geophysicist: Hard to Predict How Eruption Will Develop

By Iceland Review

Professor in Geophysics Páll Einarsson said it is hard to predict how the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull will develop. Geophysicists usually base their predictions on experience and little in known about previous eruptions in Eyjafjallajökull.

The eruption on Fimmvörduháls, which has now come to an end. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The only eruption on which they have some information occurred in 1821. “And it is limited what we can learn from one eruption. […] Volcanoes change during eruptions so the next eruption will occur in a changed volcano,” Einarsson told

The 1821 eruption lasted for more than one year and resulted in significant ash fall. It stopped once in a while but then resumed. Einarsson said it is likely that the current eruption will carry on for some time—yesterday morning it grew in strength.

However, it has also happened that eruptions come to a sudden end. “But this is part of a longer course of events which began last summer. If the eruption stops suddenly in this location it is likely that it will resume in another location.”

Einarsson said the eruption in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano moved from the best possible location on the Fimmvörduháls mountain pass, the only place in the area that is ice free, to the worse possible place, where the icecap is thickest and where there is most risk for glacier bursts and ash fall.

Click here for further information on the ash fall that comes with the current eruption.

Our special offer for the Iceland Review magazine with eruption photos and coverage. Now you can also buy a unique book with Páll Stefánsson’s photographs of the eruption on Fimmvörduháls.

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