Magma accumulation at Svartsengi is now 16 million cubic meters

New lava is widespread in the Reykjanes peninsula after the …

New lava is widespread in the Reykjanes peninsula after the eruptions in recent years. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

The Icelandic Met Office has updated its hazard assessment because it is increasingly likely that a new magma run and another eruption will occur in the coming days. The magma accumulation has reached 16 million cubic meters compared to 8-13 million cubic metres and inflation is continuous at Svartsengi.

The experience from Krafla fires shows that when magma runs increase, more pressure is needed to start an eruption.

This is stated in an announcement on the website of the Met Office.

Eruption most likely at Sundhnúkagígar crater row 

It also states it is most likely that an eruption will occur in Sundhnúkagígar crater row and that little to no notice could be before an eruption. It also states that 80 earthquakes were measured around the magma channel yesterday. Most of them were smaller than 1.0 in magnitude.

“In previous magma runs and volcanic eruptions, approximately 8 to 13 million cubic meters of magma have been added to the magma chamber under the Svartsengi between events before the magma leaps from the magma chamber to the Sundhnúkagígar crater.

The amount of magma added has now risen above the upper mark, with the total of approximately 16 million cubic metres of magma added to the magma chamber underneath Svartsengi since March 16, when the last eruption began,” the announcement states.

More pressure needed

“Experience from Krafla fires shows that as magma runs increase, more pressure is needed to start them. Therefore, it must be considered probable that magma will run back from the magma chamber under the Svartsengi to the Sundhnúkagígar crater row, but there is some uncertainty about when enough pressure will be reached to start a new magma run and magma will reach the surface,” the announcement states.

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