Lava splattering over the defense wall

The lava that has reached over the defense wall can …

The lava that has reached over the defense wall can be seen in the lower right corner of the picture. mbl.is/Hörður Kristleifsson

Lava has leaked over the Svartsengi defense walls, where the lava flow from the Sundhnúkagígar crater row eruption reached the same height as the wall. The lava tongue has, however, been slowing down, or even stopped.

This is what Salóme Jórunn Bernharðsdóttir, a natural hazard specialist at the Icelandic Met Office, says to mbl.is.

“The flow that passed through the defense walls was about as high as the walls, so it splattered over it a little. But it wasn’t very high, it only passed over the wall, and it wasn’t near the Blue Lagoon or the infrastructure. It was up there at Mt Sýlingarfell.”

Barely moving

Volcanic activity continues in one crater at Sundhnúkagígar crater row and early Saturday morning, the lava flow increased north of Mt Sýlingarfell and towards Grindarvíkurvegur Road.

Grindavíkurvegur Road went under lava again, now for the third time since the eruption started at Mt Sundhnúkur. The lava tongue is about 800 meters from the Njarðvíkur pipeline, but the lava is now barely moving or might even have stopped, Bernharðsdóttir said.

“It was starting to slow down quite a before noon and there have been no great movements in the lava now, so it has either stopped or is coming to a halt,” she says, adding:

“It is unlikely that the lava will get to the Njarðvíkur pipeline this time.”

She says that the burst of lava coming from a lava pond is over, but it may still repeat itself if magma accumulates and thereby another possible advance.

The magma flow is stable: As much flows in and out

Bernharðsdóttir says that the lava flow from the crater is still stable and it now appears that equal amounts of magma are splashed onto the surface from the crater as is flowing into the magma chamber under the Svartsengi system.

The conclusion can be drawn that there is no sight of deformation or inflation in the area.

Does this tell us something about when the eruption might end?

“No, it doesn’t say anything about it. We saw in the last eruption that it was able to stay at three to four cubic meters per second, which is very little lava flow,” she says.

“It can be assumed that this is something a little bit more than that, so this doesn’t say when it will end.”

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