Steam Pump - Eyjafjallajökull Eruption

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

The lava from the eruption flows into two steep and deep canyons, Hrunagil and Hvannárgil. Here lava is flowing into the longer Hvannárgil just an hour after it going down the canyon.

 

The upper part of the canyon was filled with deep snow and ice. When the 1000°C hot lava mass and the snow/ice come into contact huge clouds of steam are formed. Occasional explosions also occur as steam gets trapped under hardened lava.

 

We stayed up at the volcano for about 10 hours, viewing, measuring, photographing and absorbing this event. At one point it got pretty scary, see this photo from Gummi Stóri: Steam Explosion.

 

Even as impressive as this eruption is the glacial melt is very small compared to the steam formed by the big neighbor Katla or in recent history Gjálp volcano which melted a few billion cubic meters of ice (a few thousand billions liters of water).

 

Update: The eruption fissure seems to have shifted and this time closer to this canyon. The lava is now flowing unhindered into the canyon and it should now be only a matter of time until it exits the canyon and into Þórsmörk.

 

For publishing rights please contact me at orvaratli@hotmail.com or gsm: 354-6953536

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Taken on March 31, 2010
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