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Quick note: more on Hekla 13 January 2010

Posted by admin in Hekla, Iceland.
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Last week we reported hints from Iceland that Hekla may be building up to an eruption. No new substantive news on that, but the English-language Iceland Review has caught up with the story and has a report here. And the Hekla webcam seems to be working again.

For an Icelandic artist’s view of Hekla, see Saturday Volcano Art: Thórarinn B. Thorláksson, ‘Hekla from Laugurdalur’ (1922).

Iceland’s Hekla could erupt with short noticeIceland Review, 12 January 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Hekla – summary information for Hekla (1702-07=)

The Volcanism Blog


1. James - 15 January 2010

This isn’t really new news, so to speak. I’m studying Earth Sciences at the University Of Iceland and honestly we’ve been waiting to Hekla to erupt for the past semester or so – I know a number of people had bets on it being around Christmas time, although this was almost certainly unsubstantiated and a date just chosen because it is ‘neat’ or whatever.

Indeed, Hekla is almost totally aseismic up until approx. 30-90 mins before an eruption, as magma passes from a suspected deep magma chamber, up the conduit to the surface. It has recently been showing signs of internal pressure increase, and currently the estimated pressure within the mountain is currently greater than that estimated preceeding the 1991 or 2000 eruptions.

This increase in pressure, coupled with the relatively regular 10 year eruption cycle since 1970 and the short notice time before eruption, mean that we’re definitely ‘expecting’ an eruption in the not too distant future. Of course, volcanoes are fickle and most certainly unpredictable beasts, so who knows what is really going on beneath the surface…

2. admin - 15 January 2010

Now that is interesting – thanks for contributing! From what you say about the internal pressure, the signs of an approaching eruption are certainly there, although your caveats about understanding what any volcano is up to are very much to the point.

3. James - 15 January 2010

As far as evidence for a pending eruption goes, it is certainly fairly convincing, yes. I personally believe it is more of a case of ‘when’ (in the not too distant future) than ‘if’, but that’s just going on the evidence I have seen. It was interesting hearing about reports of snow-free areas on the summit (from an earlier post on this blog), too.

I have a vested interest in this volcano myself – not only is it unusual for an Icelandic volcano, being predominantly basaltic-andesitic, but I’ll probably be heading out there in the summer to do some mapping of the 1878 and 1913 lava flows, and I’d rather it go before, rather than when I’m standing at the base!

If I hear anything interesting regarding current ot pending Icelandic volcanism from department staff during my time here, I’ll be sure to let you know – it’s likely to be more reliable, and current, than newspapers!

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