Zooming around with Zoe: Iceland Volcano is a spectacle to behold


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Volcanic eruptions are one of Earth’s most violent and widespread natural disasters. But, they can also be a natural spectacle.

One volcano in Iceland has been putting on a fantastic show for weeks and continues to grow stronger.

After lying dormant for nearly 6,000 years, the Fagradalsfjall volcano came to life in late March, spewing lava and ash into the air. It’s a shield volcano, named for its low profile and formed by the eruption of highly fluid lava, which travels further and forms thinner flows than taller volcanoes.

Since the start of May, the eruption has entered a phase of being more volatile. According to the latest measurements by the University of Iceland, by May 10, the lava flow discharge rate increased from 8 to 13 cubic meters per second. Eruption events began to pulsate as well, with fountaining episodes reaching over 1,500 feet tall and occurring at roughly regular intervals of 7-10 minutes.

The Icelandic Met office noted on May 12 that the vents associated with the volcanic activity had spilled nearly 30 million cubic meters of lava since the eruptions began.

Lava is currently bubbling out of the volcano into the valley below. Dark brown areas surround the opening, indicating where cooling lava has piled up on the ground beneath. Even when lava isn’t actively erupting, you can still see the heat radiating from the vent.

The eruption shows no signs of slowing down, and will not end anytime soon according to the Icelandic Met Office. Luckily, the dangers from the volcano are limited, so people can safely continue to come from far and wide to view the breathtaking spectacle of Fagradalsfjall.

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