Firemen attempt to cool the lava with water

mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Yesterday lava was about to flow over the defense wall close to Svartsengi. It was decided to cool the lava and the Grindavík Fire Department, along with other emergency responders, started for the operation around dinner time yesterday.

Pipes have been laid from the power plant and to the location in the defense wall to ensure a constant flow of water. At 20.36 the fire department had started to let water on the pipes.

“The situation is that we have some bulldozers and some heavy machines here to push the soil up into the wall where lava is about to flow over. We are strengthening the wall and we are also going to inject water into it and cool the lava,” said Ein­ar Sveinn Jóns­son, Chief of the Fire Department in Grinda­vík last night.

Just under twenty firefighters were in the area, including members of the Civil Protection, the Fire Department, and the Fire Department in the capital area.

Einar Sveinn Jónsson, Chief of the Fire Department in Grinda­vík.

Einar Sveinn Jónsson, Chief of the Fire Department in Grinda­vík. mbl.is/Eyþór, Eggert Jóhannesson

Laying pipelines from Svartsengi

“The lava started to go slightly over the defense wall, so we’re just trying to stop the flow of lava from passing over the defense wall in some amount. [...] We’re going to start injecting the lava that’s passed over, which the machines are pushing gravel into, we’re just helping, both bulldozers and water to keep it down,” he said.

A huge amount of water is needed to conduct lava cooling.

“We are building pipelines from the power plant in Svartsengi and we have big and powerful cars from Isavia that we are going to hook up to and we are pumping water up to the site,” Jónsson said and added “but the cooling of the lava is a long-term project.”

“We’ll be working all night long.”

“We know what we’re doing”

“We try to do everything we can within a reasonable limit without putting people in too much danger. There is a lot at stake in trying to keep this down. If the lava flows over the defense wall, then we are inside the defense walls at the powerplant in Svartsengi, and the plant as such is next in line,” he said.

Jónsson told us yesterday that he doesn’t believe that lava cooling as such has been carried out since the Vestmannaeyjar eruption, but the responders know exactly what is needed.

“We are not in any experimental operations, we know what we are doing,” he concluded.

Attempting to cool down the lava yesterday and last night.

Attempting to cool down the lava yesterday and last night. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Needed more water

Firefighters were working all night trying to cool down the lava at the defense wall near Svartsengi power plant.

Ásgeir Þórisson, the Inspector General at Fire Department of Suðurnes, says he has been informed that the cooling has not worked properly, as a considerable amount of water is needed to stop the flow of lava.

It will be revealed later today how things went and what the next steps will be.

Þórisson says that more power was needed in the pump and it was difficult to throw the water far enough. It is dangerous to go too close to the defense walls with the fire trucks if the lava pond above them breaks.

Three firefighters are on duty now from the Fire Department of Suðurnes.

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