Science & Technology

Volcanic Eruption Lights Up Iceland Following Swarms of Small Earthquakes

March 16 – 21, 2021

In an eruption not removed from Reykjavik, lava poured from spatter cones alongside a brand new fissure on Reykjanes peninsula.

Swarms of small earthquakes in February 2021 on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula had that magma was transferring beneath Geldingadalur valley and will quickly erupt. Late on March 19, an eruption formally started as lava broke by means of the floor close to Fagradalsfjall, one of a number of defend volcanoes on the peninsula.

Whereas small compared to different current eruptions in Iceland, the occasion was brilliant and huge sufficient for NASA and NOAA satellites to look at. On March 21, 2021, the Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc acquired a nighttime view of western Iceland by means of a skinny layer of clouds. Reykjavik, Reykjanesbær, and different cities seem as brilliant spots within the picture. The eruption seems as a brand new patch of gentle on the southwestern half of the island. For comparability, the picture on the left exhibits the identical space a number of days earlier than the eruption.

Earlier than the eruption – March 16, 2021

The pictures had been acquired with the day-night band of the Seen Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects gentle in a spread of wavelengths from inexperienced to near-infrared and makes use of filtering methods to look at faint alerts resembling fires, electrical lights, and the glow emitted by lava. Through the day, the Reasonable Decision Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired and imagery as emissions from the eruption barely brightened clouds within the space.

Through the eruption – March 21, 2021

Lava poured from a fissure that was initially 500 to 700 meters (1,600 to 2,300 ft) lengthy. It successively constructed up after which mounds of cooled lava referred to as spatter cones. Other than crowds of onlookers and a potential , not a lot has been threatened by the lava to this point. Neither ash or fuel emissions have been problematic both. Nonetheless, the Icelandic Meteorological Workplace is monitoring the volcano and is sharing the outcomes of a .

NASA Earth Observatory pictures by Joshua Stevens, utilizing VIIRS day-night band knowledge from the Suomi Nationwide Polar-orbiting Partnership and imagery from the Earth Observatory’s Blue Marble assortment.

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