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Eyjafjallajökull update, 26 March 2010 (updated) 26 March 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Eyjafjöll, Iceland.
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Volcanic eruption at Fimmvorduhals, 24 March 2010 (NASA image, ALI/EO-1)

Above is a labelled detail of an image of the current Eyjafjallajökull (or Fimmvörduháls) eruption in Iceland, captured by the Advanced Land Imager aboard NASA’s EO-1 satellite on 24 March 2010 and reproduced here courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory. The active fissure can be seen bottom left, with its lava fountains and its plume of gas and ash, with a predominance of water vapour indicated by its light colouring. The smaller plume in the centre is produced not by an additional fissure but by phreatomagmatic activity caused by the lava flow which can be seen flowing north-east from the seat of the eruption encountering an abrupt steepening of its descent (as reported here). This image was sent over by Robert Simmon in advance of its publication at the NASA Earth Observatory site: our grateful thanks to Robert for the preview.

Yesterday ‘increased force’ in the eruption was reported, but today the webcams appear to show diminished activity (although the reduction of ice and snow in the vicinity of the eruption through melting may also be playing a role in reducing the scale of the eruption plumes). A warning has been issued about toxic fumes in the vicinity of the eruption: sulphur, flourine, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are being released by the activity. Seismically things appear fairly stable underneath Eyjafjallajökull and Katla and there is little sign of the latter stirring, although prudent preparations are under way locally, just in case. There has been much media speculation about the potential global consequences of a Katla eruption; New Scientist has an oddly-titled but sober assessment, only giving in to temptation and mentioning Laki 1783 at the very end.

Thanks to Steinar Sigurðsson of Icelandic Mountain Guides for sending a link to this report on his site: Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts in Iceland (23 March 2010). There is also a very useful collection of links relating to the eruption at this Eyjafjallajökull links page.

UPDATE: If this eruption builds a mountain, it will need a name. What should the new mountain be called?

Iceland waits for volcanic shoe to dropNew Scientist, 22 March 2010
Two-hundred meter high lava fall in South IcelandIceland Review Online, 24 March 2010
Increased force in South Iceland volcanoIceland Review Online, 25 March 2010
Global cooling: what happens if the Iceland volcano blowsUSA Today, 25 March 2010
South Iceland inhabitants prepare for second eruptionIceland Review Online, 25 March 2010
Toxic fumes at source of Iceland eruptionIceland Review Online, 26 March 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Eyjafjöll – summary information for Eyjafjallajökull, which the GVP calls Eyjafjöll (1702-02=)
Eyjafjallajökull eruption March 2010 – summary of events from the University of Iceland’s Nordic Volcanological Center

The Volcanism Blog


1. René Goad - 26 March 2010

I would’ve had the money to go over to see that but unfortunately, I’m booked up to go to Mexico in May so that got in the way. Which is a shame cos I would’ve liked to have filmed the eruption. Let’s see how long the eruption lasts for.

2. admin - 26 March 2010

It could rumble on for a while, if past form is any guide. Let’s hope you get the chance to make your film!

3. bruce stout - 26 March 2010

The name is easy:

whatever the Icelandic is for “a small and shy fire column dance”.

That’s got to be a winner!

4. damon hynes - 26 March 2010

The name is as clear as a freaking bell–“Stephen Colbert”.

5. Salvatore - 27 March 2010

Why is there a kind of green shading visble in the fissure? Is it caused by ash deposit, effect of satellite sensor, or something else?

6. Nisse - 28 March 2010

It’s an artifact of the sensor according to this link:

7. Salvatore - 28 March 2010

Got it – thanks Nisse.

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