Iceland Eruption Studies Make Nature Cover Story Skip to content

Iceland Eruption Studies Make Nature Cover Story

Exact measurements of the movements of the earth’s curst at and around the Eyjafjallajökull volcano have enabled scientists to trace the origin of the eruption in the glacier many years back in time. The studies made the cover of the latest issue of Nature.



The eruptions in Eyjafjallajökull (the first picture) and on Fimmvörduháls. Photos by Páll Stefánsson.

The studies indicate that the first eruption on Fimmvörduháls mountain range triggered the phreatic eruption in the summit crater of Eyjafjallajökull, Fréttabladid and Morgunbladid report.

“Based on the conclusions of the measurements we can make a model of movement of magma underground,” said earth scientists Freysteinn Sigmundsson and Sigrún Heimisdóttir, the authors of the Nature article, which was based on the work of both Icelandic and foreign scientists.

Their conclusions shed new light on the behavioral patterns of volcanoes that erupt rarely, such as Eyjafjallajökull.

“The changes to the land in connection with the eruption were unusual in the sense that they don’t seem to have occurred because of change in pressure from one magma chamber below the volcano; they were complex, both in time and space,” the scientists added.

The article explains it is known that a slow and often continuous expansion is a common prelude to eruptions in active volcanoes with a high eruption frequency. They are usually followed by a rapid prolapse as the magma pressure in the magma chamber below the volcano collapses.

However, less is known about the nature of land changes and the patterns of magma movements in volcanoes where a longer time passes between eruptions. Sigmundsson stated the study is significant regarding estimates for such volcanoes.

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