Webcam at Eruption Site Can Be Deceiving

Vala Hafstað

It’s been nearly a month since scientists last noticed activity in the Fagradalsfjall eruption, Southwest Iceland, mbl.is reports.

According to Salóme Jóurunn Bernharðsdóttir, natural hazards specialist at the Icelandic Met Office, there have been no signs of any lava flow from the crater since September 18. Still, some people claim they have noticed volcanic activity through the webcam of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, where the lava field has now and then been seen glowing in the middle of the night.

“There are two reasons for that,” Salóme explains. “There could be embers underneath, although there is no lava flow. Secondly, the webcam installed by the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, which is pointed at the lava field that leads into Nátthagi valley, is supersensitive to embers.

“We’ve seen the whole lava field appear to be glowing, but when our people on site and rescue workers have gone to the area, they detect nothing with their own eyes, even though the webcam has shown it,” Salóme states.

The graphs below, published October 1 by the University of Iceland Institute of Earth Sciences, show changes in the lava area, lava volume, lava discharge, geochemistry and gas release since the beginning of the eruption March 19. 

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