Iceland’s fourth volcanic eruption since October is losing strength

“The volcanic eruption, which began at 8:23 p.m. on Saturday, continues, but during the night its intensity decreased and there are now three active vents in the approximately three kilometer long eruption fissure,” the IMO said in its bulletin.

“Seismic activity also fell significantly overnight, with very few earthquakes recorded after 3:00 a.m. local time, coinciding with a decline in volcanic tremors. “This development is very similar to that of the three previous eruptions in the Sundhnúkur crater series,” he added.

Close-up of a power plant line

The IMO explained that shortly after midnight, lava flowed along the road from the evacuated town of Grindavík towards the water distribution line of the Svartsengi power plant.

As of this morning, there has been limited progress on this front of the lava flow, which is now approximately 200 meters from the pipe.

Another front runs along the protective barriers east of Grindavík and towards the Suðurstrandarvegur road.

Due to the protective barriers, the lava is slowly moving towards the village of Hraun, which ironically means lava and is located east of Grindavík below Suðurstrandarvegur, according to TV channel RÚV.

Hraun residents were allowed access to their homes to store their most valuable possessions as the roads could soon become unusable.

“Emergency teams in the region are monitoring the progress of the lava, which has been slow and steady since this morning,” the IMO stressed, adding that there was great uncertainty over the intensity of the gas emissions.

One kilometer from the sea

According to geophysicist Kristín Jónsdóttir, the lava is located about a kilometer from the sea on the southern coast of Iceland.

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Using Hawaii as an example, experts know that chlorine vapors can be formed when alkaline lava comes into contact with seawater.

“So there is a local danger if the lava flows into the sea,” said Kristín.

“Another thing that can happen is that the lava becomes unstable where it hits the sea and small explosions occur. Therefore, the place where the sea and the lava meet will always be dangerous,” he said.

The outbreak comes just five weeks after the last one on February 8th.

It started quite quickly, as the first warning reached the Ministry of Civil Protection and Emergency Management at 7:43 p.m. local time and the outbreak was confirmed just 40 minutes later.

The IOM initially claimed that the eruption was the largest (in terms of magma output) of the three previous fissure eruptions in the Sundhnúkur crater series, at least in the first hour of eruptive activity on Saturday.

Less than two hours after the eruption began, the lava front to the south was only 200 meters from Grindavík’s eastern barriers and was moving at a speed of about one kilometer per hour.

About 700 people who were in the tourist Laguna Azúl near Grindavík were quickly evacuated, police told RÚV.

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