Askja volcano placed on uncertain level and yellow alert for flight

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Because if Askja volcano quick inflation, that is now currently at 7 cm, Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared uncertain level and yellow alert for flight.

Green triangles shows most of the volcanoes in Iceland as green. Only Askja and Grímsfjall are yellow. Krýsuvík volcano is orange in colour.
Current status of volcanoes in Iceland as of 9-September-2021. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Inflation is quick in Askja volcano and is now at 7 cm. When or if that is going to result in an eruption is impossible to know. Current Askja volcano is what remains of a mountain that blew up in an large eruption in the year 1875 century. Most eruptions are just lava flows, unless they happen to start in a water, then explosive activity happens while water remains.

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9 Replies to “Askja volcano placed on uncertain level and yellow alert for flight”

  1. In what part of the Askja system is the inflation taking place? Öskjuvatn is a pretty large body of water at this point, so I’d say there is a big risk of explosive eruption – if it erupts.

    1. Oops, I missed that article. The location looks risky. If the uplift creates a crack, letting lake water into the magma system, it could get very nasty very quickly. Bear in mind that the lake did not even exist at the time of the last explosive eruption.

  2. Jon & Z, The reason why the 1875 eruption was so violent had nothing to do with water. What happened is that hot, fluid, basaltic magma was forced into the bottom of an almost completly solidified and stratified magma chamber, occasioning rapid remelting with injection of gas which led to a violent explosion of largely acidic magma in the form of gas laden pumice. If you go to Askja, which I did as part of a team from the Open University, with Geof Brown in 1988, you should still find the products laying around to the East of Askja. As to the type of eruption you will have to wait and see. The last two have been basaltic and benign, hopefully the next will be the same. You should however, try to read the publications of Dr. Dave Macgarvie on the subject.

    1. Thanks for explaining. I was unaware of the mechanisms causing the 1875 major eruption. But however I did read that Öskjuvatn (lake) was formed in the event. And this great body of water that we presently have, could cause another major eruption, if it were to get in contact with magma. Not the same chain of events in the two cases, at all, but Öskjuvatn could trigger a devastating explosive eruption, surely?

      1. Z yes it could generate a phreato-magmatic eruption, but I doubt if it would be massive. A magma chamber could hold between say, 5 to 15 kms3 of magma, Oskyvatn contains a maximum of 3kms3 of water. The majority would have dissapeared by evaporation before coming into contact with hot magma so I don’t think it is a large option.

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