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A volcano erupts

For the first time in 800 years, a volcano erupts in our capital's backyard. Re-watch the stream of the volcano from 27th April

Iceland is called the land of fire and ice for a reason. Just over four weeks ago, after constant earthquakes for more than a month, an eruption occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. To be more exact, in Geldingadalur valley. There hasn't been an eruption in this area for over 800 years. On Tuesday, the 27th of April, we hosted live streaming from the eruption site using multiple drones at the same time, for 14 hours.

The project was unique as it gave an audience all over the world the chance to witness a spectacular natural phenomenon from a view not available to most people. The stream included interviews with local scientists and people with interesting stories and knowledge to share related to the eruption. The stream also included footage of the volcano from the beginning of the eruption to date. Footage that had not aired before.

Now the big question is, how long will the ongoing eruption last?

Helga Kristín Torfadóttir is a geologist following the eruption closely.

"If we look at the big picture, Iceland is a landmass located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The reason why that landmass even exists on the ridge is with the help of a mantle plume that provides us with molten material from below. But as the submarine Mid-Atlantic ridge extends on land, things get complicated. With oceanic ridges, two tectonic plates move apart. Here the North American Plate and the Eurasian plate are separating, creating fissure and elongated volcanic systems on land as the separation creates weaknesses in the Icelandic crust. It is easy to trace the plate boundary through the country by following the mountain ridges and the fissures."

"Six elongated volcanic systems are present on Reykjanes. The geological history indicates that once one system awakens there, the other ones follow. Therefore, with the onset of the current eruption, we might be entering a new volcanic period on the peninsula where we will see several eruptions in the future on the other systems."

"Now the big question is, how long will the ongoing eruption last?

The short answer is, and also the classic one is, no one knows. The more advanced answer is that this could last for decades or even centuries."

Sign up for more news of the eruption and other stories from Iceland.

NORÐUR Journal

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