Volcanology of Iceland
- The volcano system in Iceland that started activity on August 17, 2014, and ended on February 27, 2015, is Bárðarbunga.
- The volcano in Iceland that erupted in May 2011 is Grímsvötn.
Iceland has a high concentration of active volcanoes due to its location on the mid-Atlantic Ridge, a divergent tectonic plate boundary, and also due to its location over a hot spot. The island has 30 active volcanic systems, of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in AD 874.
The most fatal volcanic eruption of Iceland's history was the so-called Skaftáreldar (fires of Skaftá) in 1783-84. The eruption was in the crater row Lakagígar(craters of Laki) southwest of Vatnajökull glacier. The craters are a part of a larger volcanic system with the subglacial Grímsvötn as a central volcano. Roughly a quarter of the Icelandic nation died because of the eruption. Most died not because of the lava flow or other direct effects of the eruption, but from indirect effects, including changes in climate and illnesses in livestock in the following years caused by the ash and poisonous gases from the eruption. The 1783 eruption in Lakagígar is thought to have erupted the largest quantity of lava from a single eruption in historic times.
The eruption under Eyjafjallajökull ("glacier of Eyjafjöll") in 2010 was notable because the volcanic ash plume disrupted air travel in northern Europe for several weeks; however this volcano is minor in Icelandic terms. In the past, eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have been followed by eruption of the larger volcano Katla, but after the 2010 eruption no signs of an imminent eruption of Katla were seen.
The eruption in May 2011 at Grímsvötn under the Vatnajökull glacier sent thousands of tonnes of ash into the sky in a few days, raising concerns of a repeat of the travel chaos seen across northern Europe.
The eruption series that started on August 17, 2014, under the Bárðarbunga system started with an extremely heavy earthquake swarm followed by clusters of volcanic activity that went on for an extended period. This resulted in multiple lava fountain eruptions in Holuhraun. Lava flow was between 250 and 350 cubic meters per second and came from a dyke over 40 km long. There was very limited ash output from this eruption unlike numerous glacial eruptions which are common in Iceland. The primary concern with this eruption was the large plumes of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere which adversely affected breathing conditions across Iceland, depending on wind direction.
Structure of lava fields
- Lists of volcanoes
- Geography of Iceland
- List of volcanoes in Iceland
- Geothermal power in Iceland
- Thordarson, Th; Hoskuldsson, A (2008). "Postglacial Volcanism in Iceland". Jokull. 58: 197–228.
- Gudmundsson, Magnus Tumi; Larsen, G; Hoskuldsson, A; Gylfason, A.G. (2008). "Volcanic Hazards in Iceland". Jokull. 58: 251–268.
- Waugh, David (2002). Geography: An Integrated Approach. United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-17-444706-1.
- Mark Sappenfield, "Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano is nothing to 'Angry Sister' Katla" Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 2010 (accessed 24 November 2010)
- "Ljós norðan jökuls: Töldu annað gos hafið". http://www.ruv.is/. RÚV. Retrieved 24 September 2014. External link in
- See e.g. http://earthice.hi.is/bardarbunga_2014 Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland:Bardarbunga 2014
- See also Icelandic media RÚV: http://www.ruv.is/frett/seismic-activity-still-strong Received Sept. 24, 2014