Since landing in Iceland everyone has mentioned I gotta see the volcano eruption. Hearing of it's beauty piqued my interest for sure. It's been the talk of the town. But then, just the other day, the SECOND eruption occurred. I looked a bit dumbfounded. I had to clarify.
"You mean to tell me there's been another eruption?"
Yep. I was told. One that is 10x's as powerful as the first. But to make things interesting, this one is springing up out of a huge glacier. The Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH'-plah-yer-kuh-duhl) glacier, to be exact. Talk about a shit load of melting water. Hundreds of people have had to be evacuated.
Reykjavik is out of the line of fire, thankfully. However, should I be worried about another one going off closer to home? Things aren't dull around here. That's for sure.
So why is Iceland such a hotbed of activity?
Weeeelllll, let's cover a few interesting facts about this geo-active island.
- Iceland is situated astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and on top of a hot-spot presumed to be fed by a deep mantel plume, located under Central Iceland.
- Iceland is slowly being pulled apart. At the plate boundary, the two major plates, the Eurasia and North American Plates, move apart today with a velocity of about 19 mm/year.
- The divergence of the ridge started in the north about 150 million years ago. As the plates move apart the Icelandic hot-spot, excessive eruptions of lava construct volcanoes and fill rift valleys.
- The divergence continues today and is accompanied by earthquakes, reactivation of old volcanoes and creation of new volcanoes.
- Iceland is one of the most active and productive sub-aerial volcanic regions on Earth, with eruption frequency of ≥20 events per century.
- Iceland is home to more than 100 volcanoes and on average, a volcano erupts about every 5th year. Volcanoes define a wide spectrum of forms, ranging from a crack in the ground to stately stratovolcanoes like the Hekla volcano.
One of Iceland's largest volcanoes when active.
- Because of Iceland's location, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the island is in the process of formation. The old parts, the east and west carried away by the wind, sea, rain, and ice, while new parts are created by volcanic action.
It seems to me Iceland is a geologist's paradise! I've even found it interesting as a layperson. With events such as this, it only reaffirms whose really boss, and it ain't us!!!!!!