Large Fountains of Fire: Video

Vala Hafstað

Photographer Ólafur Þórisson flew a drone over the eruption site by Fagradalsfjall mountain, Southwest Iceland, yesterday, recording the impressive video above, which clearly shows that by now, mainly one crater is active in the area. The video ends with a view directly into the crater next to it, where activity is limited.

Not too long ago, as many as eight craters or vents were active. The only crater currently active opened April 13, and it is quite powerful.

“It has a lava fountain activity, and the fountains reach as high as 250 meters [820 ft] into the air,” Þorvaldur Þórðarson, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, tells mbl.is. On average, the fountains are 50-100 meter [160-330 ft] high, he adds. The largest gushes of lava, spewed into the air, were the size of large 4x4s, he states.

What drives the lava fountains is gasses in the magma. “There are very large gas bubbles or clusters of bubbles in the magma, which come up and burst, propelling the fountains,” Þorvaldur explains. The largest ones can be up to 10 meters [33 ft] in diameter before they burst.” 

There may still be some lava flow from the oldest craters, flowing under the lava crust. Most of the lava, however, flows from the most active crater, he states.

Þorvaldur warns against being downhill from the lava stream, since you never know what direction the lava will take.

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