Icelandic volcano: lava comes directly from the ground

– What’s very exciting is that we thought this particular eruption would be short-lived, but would continue without weakening in strength, says Steffi Burchardt, a volcanologist at Uppsala University.

Fagradalsfjall volcano is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwestern part of Iceland. It is the most densely populated part of Iceland where both the capital, Reykjavik, and the main international airport are located. 800 years ago there was the last eruption of the volcano and it lasted for more than a hundred years.

It comes from the mantle of the earth

Analyzes of the lava sprayed at Fagradalsfjall show that it contains little silicon and a lot of magnesium and reveals where the lava comes from.

The composition of the lava shows that it comes directly from the Earth’s mantle. Magman is now rushing unimpeded across the entire crust of the Earth, says Steffi Burchardt.

over a hot spot

Iceland lies directly on the border between North America and the Eurasian continental shelf. In addition, Iceland is located above the so-called hot spot, which resembles a chimney from the deepest part of the Earth. The Earth’s crust is very thin in Iceland. There is only about 10 kilometers between the surface and the mantle, but studies of lava in Iceland show that it is still unusual for magma to come directly from the mantle.

Earth’s crust is like a mantle that prevents magma from erupting straight up. It usually accumulates first in the magma chambers of the Earth’s crust and can remain there for thousands of years. Sometimes magma freezes and the volcano doesn’t erupt, says Stevie Borchardt.

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do not worry

Some researchers suspect that we are now witnessing the beginning of another long era of volcanic activity in Iceland, but it is not yet known how long this eruption will last. But the Icelanders don’t seem to be worried.

Icelanders learned to live with their volcanoes. The first thing they do is build a footpath when the eruption, arrange parking, and hire hosts who help warn when gas levels get too high, says Steffi Burchardt.

The entire Hawaiian archipelago, like Iceland, is located above a hot spot. Summer Science World is now showing a new show from 2019 which is about the sudden eruption of Kilauea volcano in 2018.

See Summer of the World of Science: “Fire in the Mountain” at Play SVT Already now or Monday 7/6 at 20.00 at SVT2.

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