Fagradalsfjall, Season 3


It is hard to remember what Iceland was like three years ago. At that time, most (or all) eruptions were in the eastern volcanic zone, from Katla (and friends) to Krafla. (Ok, one can argue about the precise borders. Grimsvotn was about to erupt. The Thorbjorn swarm had happened and an eruption at Reykjanes was seen as possible, but the peninsula had been quiet for 800 years. This was when we postponed the eruption to 2021 due to covid (cue: April 1). Iceland followed our lead and indeed in early 2021, after an impressive series of earthquakes on the Reykjanes fault, an eruption followed in the most unlikely location: Geldingadalir, a remote valley within Fagradagsfjall, where no eruptions had occurred for perhaps 30,000 years. Who would have guessed? Since that time, there have been three eruptions in three years. And we are still waiting for Grimsvotn.

The first Fagradalsfjall eruption was perfect tourism. It was in a location where no one was endangered, while still easy to reach for the watchers. This being Iceland, webcams were put up in various locations, maintained by the locals and watched around the world. Of course, this being Iceland, the locals use the cameras to display themselves and even slogans were put on view, sometimes to the watcher’s entertainment and sometimes to their annoyance. But when entertainment is provided for free, it is hard to begrudge the occasional advert! The eruption evolved through fissures, effusive cones, tall fountains visible from Reykjavik (lucky things) an finally sputtering. We learned that Icelandic eruptions can be controlled. A wall was build to deflect the lava, and indeed the lava was deflected. The same was attempted at the place where the lava began the threaten the road and farms, and immediately the eruption ended.

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The power of Iceland was obvious in many ways. As Reykjanes sputtered into action. Etna was delivering unbelievable fountains, tall enough to keep even Jesper happy (perhaps not Tallis). But it stood no chance. The eyes of the world were drawn north.

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It ended after some 6 months. By that time the original valley of the eruption no longer existed, and neither did the deeper valley next door nor the hill were the first lava emerged . Iceland was left with new geography and a new hill which still has a warm conduit, and we were left with happy memories.

A year later came a new eruption, an afterthought of the first. We had kind of expected that the Earth was not finished here and that at some time the magma would break through again. It happened in the northern part of the original eruption. The eruption was much less vigorous, and season II was a pleasant sight but not on par with season I. The lava field expanded a little but that was it.

For the start of Season 2, see

But intrusions continued, last winter and in the spring. As before, a dike sprung up and expanded in a NNE-SSW direction. The location of the deeper magma source is not so easy to determine. The first intrusion had been further west. This being a zone with a bit of extension, there is a region some 5 kilometer wide below which magma can collect. From there, dikes can grow. Some are very deep, tens of kilometers. This go north, and can continue for 50 kilometers or more but they never reach the surface. More common are shallower dikes at 5-7 kilometers which do not go very far but quickly move up. The current intrusion was focussed further north than might be expected, with the upward growth southeast of Keilir. But it is not clear where the magma originally came from. The earthquakes and insar showed that the dike extended between Keilir and Litli Hritur, just north of Fagradalfjall.


A map of a mountain

The eruption started today at the bottom slope of Litli Hrutur, with a 900-meter fissure extending about half the distance to Keilir. As I am writing this, the lava is beginning to flow around the hill but it is not clear to me in which direction! And sadly, the eruption is too close to the cameras for a good view! I am sure that will be fixed. This is Iceland, after all. They will try to move the eruption.

What will happen next? The eruption had a sluggish start, surprising perhaps after the vigorous dike formation. But this was also the case in Season 1, and in any case the volume seems to have increased a lot as the fissure lengthened. This could develop in an event similar to series 1, lasting several months and covering a large area but well away from roads and houses. It could also be a rerun of Season 2, lasting a few weeks. The former seems more likely given the intrusion, but this is not certain.

Viewing will be harder than for Season 1, being further away from the road and requiring a longer walk. But I am sure that the coffee van will be appearing shortly at the parking area, ready for the thirsty tourists. We are in for a treat.

Location of the dike. Initial lava flow shown in blue

Albert, July 2023

And here is a reflection by Randall, taken from the comments

My own personal observations of events leading up to the fissure eruption.

  1. The website https://vafri.is/quake/#close posting quakes proved invaluable this time for knowing how events were progressing. I watched the screen literally hours and began to discern patterns. Once there was like a surge and small quakes burst out over in the Krisuvik area and you could follow this surge by watching for about 1/2 hour or so. I took this to mean a magma surge. The constant activity to the NE showed that pressure was high.

  2. A key comment made by Tomas Andersson about triggered quakes related to the inSar butterfly picture helped me to understand the quakes occurring on the vafri.is/quake website for the past 3 days.

  3. The FAF seisometer was a good source of watching the microquakes, and I am sure that at least 3 episodes (barefuly distinguishable) of microtremors occurred. The time from 14:50 pm to 18:00 pm today (2023-July-10) on the seismo shows a slightly thicker trace. This seems to indicate that actually watching microtremors is a very difficult science even today and fissure eruptions are still hard to accurately predict

  4. The strong 5.22 quake yesterday had few aftershocks, indicating (my terms) mushy ground or softened up ground by magmatic intrusion. This in hindsight was an indicator of closeness to the actual eruption.

  5. There appears to have been a small microquake around 16:38 pm which slightly shook the RUV cameras on Litli-Hrutar, and I take this as the final breakthrough of the fissure. IMO dated the eruption at 16:40 and the RUV north camera showed the first smoke at 16:41:07 pm. It is really hard to catch fissure eruptions as they first begin.

  6. The two flights of small birds that I saw around midnight Iceland time were interesting. Birds seem to have a foreknowledge of events, and their flight path was directly away from the region at about right angles to it (giving them the maximum distance via minimal flight time) Before the Hebgen Montana 7.3 quake of Monday August 17, 1959, the water fowl left Hebgen Lake about 2 pm in the afternoon and their absence was noted in the sheriff’s log at West Yellowstone. The quake that evening gave the reason why the waterfowl left. They came back to the lake after the 3rd aftershock on Wednesday Aug 19th or so. My dad took our family to this epicenter about 2 or 3 days later and we saw the lake filling up, and all the damage and trees disappearing into the water and it left an indelible impression upon me as an 8 year old.

  7. Scientifically things have improved, we’re in a better knowledable condition that when the 1st eruption started back in 2021.

  8. The hot water pouring from the borehole in Avedir (spelling) was definitely a sign of nearness of the eruption, but it was 11 km from Keilir. That is a wide area for a thermal pulse to travel. Do we know much about how much thermal energy is spread when a dike intrudes? More studies of borehole water and temps needs to be done.

  9. Several people on Volcano Cafe gave fairly accurate predictions of the location of the fissure eruption, I believe Albert might have been the first to speak up. Chad gave one as did Alice, but there were others and I apologize for not mentioning you.

Finally the excitement leading up to a fissure eruption is almost addictive. It really is fun watching a volcanic event like this occur, especially when it is fissure eruptions which have not occurred for some 800 years.

These are some thoughts as I reflect back through events leading up to the fissure eruption today.

And a response to these: the hot water can easily flow 11 kilometers, so it may well have come from the region around Keilir. The underground rock insulates well but underground water can circulate and transfer heat very effectively when coming close to the magma. Gas emissions can also heat up the region. As to the birds, this was commented on below. It seems unlikely they predict eruptions, and in fact I recall tropic birds flying very close to the eruptions at Kilauea. They may be affected by earthquakes, of course, and perhaps by the SO2 emissions that can precede an eruption – Albert

589 thoughts on “Fagradalsfjall, Season 3

  1. The Litli-Hrutur Nordur camera has an irritating habit of stalling right when things get interesting at 01:04:45 or so and now at 01:06:22 am. Is this a tease for better things to come? 😉

  2. It seems that someone keeps pausing it at the other end, whenever a blockage is about to “uncork”. I would like to know who is doing this and why. There is no legal reason, or authority, that I know of under Icelandic law for censoring this particular type of event. Did some prudish nitwit decide that a sudden gush of lava out of a tube is somehow “obscene”?

    I think we need to challenge this decision, and whoever made it. It’s clearly ridiculous.

    • Please chill. Nobody is doing this on purpose. Did you considered that the sudden rush of heat from an expanding pan of lava could be causing the camera to glitch? Or a massive flux of SO2? Sit back, open a cold one and appreciate the wonderful views we do get.

      • Curious..I’ve three cams on my screen courtesy of Acme and nary a problem with any of ’em.

      • The timing indicates otherwise: when a very specific type of event occurs. Sudden rush of heat? SO2? The camera is on top of a hill a kilometer or more from the vent and the vent and all of the active lava is (under today’s weather conditions) downwind of it. If anything that camera is freezing in a gale of SO2-free air that’s blowing in straight out of the north Atlantic. Those blockages emerging from the tube should not be causing any sudden, nearly-instantaneous, and strong change in any environmental condition at the location of the camera, save one: an increase in light entering the lens. But if that caused it to pause itself it would pause itself at sunrise, too, and stay paused all day, as surely that causes a much larger influx of light! It would be an astonishingly poorly designed (and, then, poorly-chosen) camera if it freaked out whenever it was subjected to a flash of light.

        • I tend to agree with B. Bound, as the sudden screen freezes occur when a significant event is starting to happen. This has happened at least 3 or 4 times now.

    • Noone is pausing at the other end. Why would they go to great lengths placing a camera on top of an inaccessible hill and then intentionally drop the service every now and then?

      It looks more like it’s losing the connection. Before it freezes it seems to drop a few frames before coming to a complete stop. I don’t know how they get the video back from the site. It could be by using the mobile network, or it could be through a separate dedicated link. Either way, it’s radio waves that carry the signal. The ongoing eruption is located right between the camera position and Reykjavik. I’m not sure if the density variations of the air due to heat from the lava is enough to affect the propagation of radio waves, or if moving lava can generate EM disturbances, but if there is a true correlation between lava surges and the video freezing, I find that kind of explanation much more likely than someone pausing the video.

      • In the previous seasons there was competition for bandwidth with the tourists and their mobile phones, so the cameras could freeze during busy times. And of course, there are no power sockets on these mountains, so at times the camera just run out of juice! I am grateful that the cameras are there, rather than complaining when they have hickups! At some point the flow field will take the eastern route, and a camera there would be nice

        • Albert, your mention of competition of bandwidth might be the most likely explanation for the freeze. When something gets interesting, more people suddenly jump in to view it and the sudden demand on the video servers is not able to be fulfilled and so a freeze occurs. I believe this is the most likely reason for the stalls during an interesting event.

          • I don’t think that’s the cause. They stream it through youtube, so youtube would take the bulk of the traffic. I don’t think what happens at the client side would disturb the source. In this case there is no recording – if you rewind it will still freeze in the same place. That means the problem is probably further upstream. Most likely cause is a technical issue at the site, or in the data transmission from the site.

  3. RUV are a media company and possibly doing screen grabs and scrolling back the feed to record events for their news team.
    The operator probably is unaware that their actions are annoying thousands of online viewers.
    Or it is just an eegit operator.

    • RUV did amazingly well imho. They put two webcams on Litli Hritur as the swarm was intensifying. Unfortunately they were too close. The fissure occurred at the bottom of the other side of the hill, so the webcams couldn’t see much! Sometimes it pays not to predict an eruption totally accurately.

      Then they moved one cam to a nearby hill, and I see now they’ve moved the other cam from one side of Litli Hritur to the other, where the vista is excellent.

      So kudos to RUV. Also Iceland is a nation the size of a town, so they overachieve quite amazingly compared with their tiny population.

  4. Still not 99% but a biger quake happened:

    16.07.2023 06:57:21 63.870 -22.230 7.4 km 3.5 50.5 4.2 km SSE of Fagradalsfjall

    • Sunday
      16.07.2023 06:57:21
      63.860 -22.226
      8.3 km 0.4 99.0
      5.2 km SSE of Fagradalsfjall

      • Hmm… there a line of smoke on the right hand hill that looks more like a fissue than a moss fire…

  5. The cone is starting to emit wisps of smoke through the front side facing the camera (at least at 08:09:00am as I am watching) This might indicate excess pressure inside? Or a leakage from a fissure finally making its way through the cone? It is something to keep an eye on, however. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJfiMhqLgTY

    • Something is definitely going on. Now faint wisps of gas are starting to emitted from the canyon or tube exit on the right, right at the mouth of the tunnel exit. 08:26:30 am. The one spot on the front of the cone is still emitting gas and it appears that it is going through the cone and coming out right there about 1/3 the way up the cone

    • 08:30:30 am or so, the spot on the side of the cone has stopped smoking. But you can see it from 08:09 to about 08:25 or so by watching for it carefully. The exit of the tunnel is still smoking a slight bit still.

    • 08:55 or so, the venting on the side of the cone started up again.

  6. I’d like to see a webcam with the lava front. The lava fountain is nearly the same every day, but change and things happend where the lava floods new areas.

  7. And going to be a long lived eruption, since the penninsula is not deflating right ?

    If it can tap the pent up magma supply under the penninsula it may end up becomming larger than 2021 ( Iceland is togther with Hawaii one of the worlds most productive magma sources ) so woud not supprise If this gets rather large over time.

    For now it looks like a Piton eruption but probaly will end up much much bigger the than the avarge Piton eruption as they avarge Icelandic eruption typicaly is

    • Eruption woud probaly last weeks, perhaps months I guess .. the Penninsula is not deflating

      • Thanks for pointing out the lack of deflation Jesper. I am now less worried it will close down quickly. Of course anything can happen in any eruption. Something I have noticed is that the overflow episode seem to happen mostly during the night. Not sure why that could be. Anyone have any guesses as to why that would happen

        • It could still stop, although if the supply is robust then it is more likely that another vent will open on the dike shortly after instead of it stopping properly and resuming in a year or more. Lots of the eruptions on Brennisteinsfjoll, which are similar in style to this, have a lot of different major vent areas, in fact only two actually stayed at the single location and one has something like 6 different cones.
          So in a way we should expect it to suddenly stop and resume at a nearby but different location, particularly if the cone becomes very large and it is easier to open a different vent at a lower part of the dike.

          But if the eruption is able to sustain at this rate without causing any deflation, that is very significant, magma generation rate of 20 m3/s is about 5x higher than Vatnajokull, and 3x higher than Hawaii. So things could get pretty crazy, no Laki type eruptions but something as voluminous as Holuhraun if erupted slower is entirely possible, maybe even larger. Not all of the large Reykjanes eruptions happened immediately after deglaciation, and Fagradalsfjall also has some catching up to do 🙂

          • The lava is also getting really really fluid now, lookskind of like Kilauea now with the older stale stuff flushed out or the stuffed that cooled on the way up in a thin dyke. I also guess the pathway may take on a more pipelike form like it did at Geldingadalur. Looks very much like a little fissure 8 now and I guess most spatter cones does looks like this, higher fountains forms cinder cones even with superfluid lava

            Its a shame that I dont live there now or cannot visit because of an accident injury, when I live in Iceland later I will photobomb myself infront of the fountains just like the Kraffts did this is a severe addiction

            It may not be Io but its still fun

          • the lava fall is amazing I guess the viscosity is at around 100 pa.s or less now the geldingadalir summer 2021 lava became ultra – fluid at least close to the vent so perhaps closer to 10 pa.s for that. this lava is not that primitive but visocisty is low now

      • Well there seems to be some kind of deflation according to Tomas

  8. Another section of the cone wall collapsed into the lava lake and a section at the exit is about to break off.
    If they block the lava tube we will get another overflow episode,

  9. Shildasin Volcano in Alaska in currently in full eruption, and in code Red. There was a 7.2 earthquake nearby, but apparently that has nothing to do with it.
    There is a large ash cloud going as far as 80 miles and counting from the volcano.

    • Correction… The ash cloud is now up to 350 miles from the volcano. The eruption itself seems to have slowed a bit.
      Wonderful what updated USGS messages can confer!

    • Shishaldin is doing its thing, and Bagana just had a pretty large explosion as well. There’s very little info outside of a brief summary on GVP and some satellite data on The Watchers, but it apparently hit sub-plinian levels at 16-18km plume height. Wasn’t sustained, though.

      There’s a few interesting things going on away from Iceland atm.

      • Yes, that are indeed interesting eruptions, but they have the disadvantage to have only “cognitive” coverage with text messages. Iceland has (like Hawaii) the advantage to do better visual coverage to feed the human eyes. Volcanism is a “romantic” phenomenon that applies to human senses/feelings and needs to be noticed that way.

        • Definitely, like Jesper has his fascination with massive scale exo-volcanism, I have an intense fascination for explosive volcanism.

          Unfortunately it’s hard to see that sort of thing in real time, especially at a volcano as isolated as Bagana.

          I just reread Albert’s piece on Bagana here:


          Pretty interesting that it potentially is a temporary reroute of the magma from Billy Mitchell, speaking of eruptions I wish I could observe but was lost to the perpetual flow of time.

    • The lava front is at the far left of the view, and moss fires are burning on the far slope of the valley.

  10. It’s too bad that tourists are blocked from entering the eruption area. That means that there won’t be any more Isak Finngobason drone videos unless the area reopens. This was the best source for visualizing the lava front; it was much better than the view from MBL’s A webcam, which is a distant horizontal view. And the lava front will soon be out of view of that camera. We need another camera showing the eastern side of Meradalir.

    • Yes, I was also using Isak’s drone footage to monitor the flow fronts and the widening areas. The fixed cameras are just too far away to work out what is lava or charred ground.
      It has been suggested that the air closure over the site is for scientific research to take place, maybe another 3D model?

  11. More burning moss. If you scroll back you can see it has been going on for hours, working its way up the hill.

  12. New videos on Val Troll’s channel taken from Meradalir. The new flow has reached the 2021 lava and looks like it has now also met the 2022 flow. Back to having one continuous lava field now.

    • Last year, the weigth of the new lava on top of the old caused still molten lava from 2021 to be squeezed out like toothpaste at the other end of the lava field. I wonder if that will happen again.

    • When the tourists are finally allowed back (and due to the ongoing smkke hazard that may be a while) they are going to find a massive difference to the terrain around the volcano. I am wondering how high up the lava is on the sides of the small hill that tourists were using as a viewpoint. Amost certainly surrounded by lava now I would guess.

  13. 18:05,7/16 there is a little overflow at the base of the cone. Give it around 5 min. and the tunnel unplugs itself.

  14. ”The two flights of small birds that I saw around midnight Iceland time were interesting. Birds seem to have a foreknowledge of events, and their flight path was directly away from the region at about right angles to it (giving them the maximum distance via minimal flight time) Before the Hebgen Montana 7.3 quake of Monday August 17, 1959, the water fowl left Hebgen Lake about 2 pm in the afternoon and their absence was noted in the sheriff’s log at West Yellowstone. The quake that evening gave the reason why the waterfowl left. .”

    Well birds see very well too, even If us Homo Sapiens is near the upper end of visual resolution. But many larger birds are even much sharper so perhaps coud have spotted steaming cracks in that remote area and ”evacuated”

    With 4 to 5 cone channels their brain combine UV and normal visible light into ”non – spectral colors” souch as ”uv red” ”uv – blue” ”uv – green” and souch so we have No idea what they see really. Really large Raptors do see something with as much as 1,5 million cones per mm3 in the most packed retinas

    I guess an eruption woud be more vivid with more color channels : )

    • Hilarous they are taking their dogs and horses to the eruption in Iceland
      Soure safe as long as they dont walk on sharp fresh lava, but a dog or a horse can not see a volcanic eruption like we humans can.

      Infact most mammals dont see color or small shapes very well. They cannot because they evolved away their sharp vision in expense of good smell and hearing. Most mammals have quite poor eyesight compared To Homo Sapiens .. even Lions have less acuity and are quite color blind compared to humans.

      Acually human eyes are much more birdlike in anatomy than most other mammals

      Im enjoying the show even If the daytime color of the webcam is not always the best, only thing now missing for me is living in Iceland.
      They say 1190 c so thats hotter than all previous Iceland pre – fagradalshraun eruptions as central Iceland erupts from central volcanoes that make more evolved magmas. Geldingadalir summer 2021 was also by far the most fluid of Iceland that I ever seen in my lifetime


    • And oil drops in each photoreceptor at a Bird probaly even increase color vision even more

      Hard to know what the eruption woud look like

    • About 1.5 years ago I had a talk with a research scientist and a person who put me in touch, and they let me talk first, just to see if I was blowing smoke or not. The scientist finally spoke up and said “he is knowledgable”

      What animals are sensing is what I would label tectonic energy. If you have the correct instruments to pick it up, it sounds like both a chaotic noise and almost like a wail when the bigger events occur. It sounds just like popcorn going off right before the geoseism, if you take the trace and put it into audible range for humans. That sudden popcorn noise is what agitates the animals and gets them all stirred up.

      Before the Hawaii earthquake https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usp000ev94/executive there were reports of the Japanese koi fish trying to jump out of their pond. It is due to this static release of energy prior to the earthquake occurring.

      There is new technology which can enable us to get a better advance notice of both tectonic and volcanic events, but it requires thinking outside the box.

      • Never seen it discussed anywhere in literature or otherwise, but my personal theory is that animals are not necessarily more sensitive than us, but that it is as simple as out habit of both wearing padded shoes and that we transport energy as electricity through overhead wires. Mammals dont typically walk bipedally, or wear shoes, so they have more direct contact with the ground and it is directly with their skin not a soft material specifically designed to absorb vibrations… Many also can hear sounds outside of our own hearing range in both directions, although the hearing range of mammals is broadly the same size, as in things tuned to low frequency cant hear higher, and vice versa. There are actually sounds we can hear that dogs cant 🙂
        There is also pretty ample evidence that we are actually magnetoreceptive as are probably almost all mammals, those magnetite shards found inside birds brains that are so crucial to their navigative abilities, well we have them too, and many mammals do seem to orient in magnetic field lines more than randomly.
        But electric currents create magnetic fields that will be far stronger than the Earths natural one, so we are likely completely desensitized to it and have effectively been blinded in that regard, it is probably a permanent thing after some point which is why tests keep comign back negative, they should try it with young children really.

        So to summarize, yes all those stories of animals reacting in advance of earthquakes are probably true, and we dont notice because we dont really deeply involve ourselves with our surroundings, not because there is something fundamentally different with our biology. All of this is mostly my own theories on how this works though.

        • The problem with this is the lack of experimental evidence. Observations of animal behaviour need to be independent of the circumstance it is trying to interpret, otherwise you are just reinforcing expectations. So seeing animals behave jittery and later there is an earthquake is not sufficient. You need to measure all times when animals are jittery, and correlate that afterwards with occurence of earthquakes. A report of ‘there was an earthquake and I recalled that the dogs had been restless’ cannot be used, because the dogs were noted only because of the earthquake. This is not a matter of for-or-against animal sensitivity, it is a matter of how to obtain reliable evidence in an unbiassed way. That is how science works. It is also why science progresses slowly: these studies take a lot of time. If there is a sizeable earthquake somewhere once a decade, then you want to cover a period of at least three earthquakes (the minimum) so that takes 30 years. It is easier with exceptional events, for instance seeing the sea withdraw unexpectedly and very far, followed by a tsunami is probably sufficient to see a relation between these events. But animals (or children!) being restless is not uncommon, so the ‘exceptional event’ evidence does not work. Hard work is needed instead.

          • Albert,what we found out by our very limited 3 week study was that the dogs and cats were not sensitive to quakes, you cannot use them to predict quakes, but they were sensitive to the seismic energy to a correlation which surprised us. At the time of the survey, we had special equipment capable of monitoring this energy. Once we knew this, then we knew why people kept repeating “cannot use animals to predict quakes”, well, because simply put, you cannot. But again, they are sensitive to this energy release. Conventional seismometers only pick up physical motion.

    • What woud an eruption look like for a large eagle? remeber they have a working tetrachromacy system, that combines visible light with UV into spectral and non spectral combinations that we humans cannot process, so they do see something

      For an owl with mostly rods the eruption is black and white and a bit blurry

      • Probably mostly the same, but in higher definition. I dont know if eagles really see with 6 times higher resolution than ourselves, they can see stuff 6 times further away and discern what it is but that is a different thing than it beign resolved with acute detail at that distance. Eagles have eyes about twice as big as ours in diameter, so more light receptors, but that doesnt mean an equal ratio of the same receptors we use.
        I guess the UV would be having an effect that maybe the lava is slightly brighter but lava is not hot enough to emit significant amounts of UV so it would probably not really be different. The sun is probably brighter though, maybe this is why most raptors have prominent eyebrows 🙂
        And maybe also the aurora is brighter too.

        One big caveat to all of thos though is that I would suspect that SO2 is not actually invisible to birds that can see UV, the plume could look very dense and thick, possibly similar to how chlorine or NO2 looks to our eyes only darker. Maybe that is how those tropicbirds fly around inside Halemaumau safely, they can actually see the danger and avoid it, as surely the SO2 would be very hazardous to their avian lungs, maybe even more so than it is to us with how it extends into their skeleton so much.

        It does make one wonder what a large theropod would have seen looking at an eruption. Tyrannosaurs had huge eyes, the biggest of any terrestrial animal ever, their vision would have been almost unbelievable. We cant know if they had eagle-like vision or what degree of colours theuy could see as this is based on lifestyle more than anything else, and perhaps resolution in ultra high definition is an adaptation for use in flight that would obviously not apply to a Rex, but still they were anything but blind that is for sure 🙂

        • Some have well over 1 million cones per mm3! and I think 1,6 million maybe the highest figures

          fagradalshraun … crisp and clear 🙂

      • https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/06/15/wild-hummingbirds-see-broad-range-colors-humans-can-only-imagine


        Many diurnal birds see “non spectral colors” when UV cone mixeas the visible light colors in ways our brains cannot, so they do see things diffirent, paper lower link, this probaly haves an effect on how color looks for them, some falcons with 1, 6 million cones per mm3 is impressive as hell

        Hummingbirds have much less acuity than humans but… very good color eye

        • This fact probaly haves an effect of how glowing lava woud look like, and dont forget the oil drops in each photoreceptor that we humans dont have

          • Diurnal birds have their retina cells full of oil drops, perhaps acting as polarizer
            So perhaps an eruption woud look diffirent after all, plus with non spectral mixing

  15. Has anyone noticed that to the left and north of the cone, and just before the eruption line of the failed area of the eruption, there has been a thin line of smoke, gas or steam. As it hasn’t moved from the area, nor turned into a line of burning as in a moss fire, then I can only assume this may be a tiny fissure opening but not erupting. If the current eruption area should begin to shut down I just wonder if that would be somewhere that a possibly short lived eruption could happen. Clearly it is very unlikey the area would not erupt if deflation should occur and the pressure in the eruption should decrease along the underground lava channel. So it is something my eye keeps wandering to each time I check out the cam. I would hope the emergency services would keep that area clear of tourists anyway.

    • Alice, I do see it also, guess it is a waiting game on what it is?


    • The lava have large fedspar crystals in it, have seen persons taken with rocks that they posted on FB its an indication of magma crystalization at source so a difftent melt lens at Moho perhaps is activated than previous eruptions .. Reykjanes probaly have many melt zones with varying compositon .. But No real magma chambers exist in the crust

    • Alice, during the Geldingadalir eruption, I actually got fooled into believing that the burning moss (which lined up very nicely in a line which looked exactly like a fissure line) was an ominous indicator of a new fissure about to appear. I waited and waited, but it never happened. Later on when the cameras were moved around, I was able to see close up shots and it was burned moss. The wind spread the hot cinders in a line and that causes the look of a fissure about to open up.

      I am watching the same thing you see currently, but I don’t believe it is a fissure. It is too offset to the west from the original fissure line. I am NOT saying a new fissure opening right there is impossible, I am saying that it is highly unlikely.

      What did catch my attention one time as the fissures opened up at night, from the #1 and #2 cones, to the north area, and Volcano Cafe people were the first to see this, was that some of the gas releases or flaring would occur suddenly on all the vents, not just one or two and I caught me by total surprise. I attempted to take some digital snapshots of this and emailed them to the IMO people asking them to be very careful, when new fissures were opening a sudden gas flare could catch everyone by surprise.

      • The thing that I have noticed Randel is that this possible small crack/fissure has been steaming/smoking at various rates from 10:00 until currently 21:53. I have never seen a line of moss fire to burn continually for almost 12 hours, at various rates of effussion without moving from it’s positition. As it has been emmiting for so long without anything coming of it is is clearly very unlikely to end in any eruption but to me it indicates a high degree of heat very close to, but not on. the surface.

        • Your point is valid. I will back up the video replay and snapshot the screen into the 1920×1080 format and then find the pixel position for this small crack/fissure. In the future I will take another snapshot, say 24 hours later, and take note of the fissure position in that 1920×1080 picture frame and see if they are the same. That will definitely indicate that it most likely is not burning moss because all combustibles would have burnt up by that time (or can we have a pile of moss burn for 48 hours in one spot?)

        • Alice, I snapshotted 3 photos 1920×1080 and pinpointed with the mouse under 200% magnification and the fissure is slightly changing. This assumes that the RUV.IS camera location and aiming did NOT move at all, but strictly stationary, an assumption, but we’re assume true for us here.

          As of the timestamp we have the [x,y] pixel locations as
          2023-July-16 11:17:04
          160.5 357.0
          196.5 369.0
          (two spots apparently steaming)

          As of the below snapshot only 1 spot is visible
          2023-July-16 20:55:37 ?
          206.5 361.0
          which definitely has moved.

          2023-July-16 22:14:37
          209.0 361.0
          which is approx 79 mins later, some movement on the x coordinate

          So it looks like the burning is moving very slowly, but moving.

          • It is correct, there is a steaming crack.

            However, it’s not a new fissure, but the southern end of the next fissure to the north. This is emitting steam/gases as there is magma not far underground (as is obvious from the nearby vent).

            That crack has been steaming on and off since its fissure shut down, and there has also been a similar crack at the northern end of the currently erupting fissure, although this now seems to be obscured by the cone.

            Such steaming cracks were seen in the 2021 eruption too, particularly in the early days, on the hill just south of the main vents. They seem to happen when part of the original crack has not (yet) been covered by lava.

        • Alice, it is 7:06 am Iceland time, or midnight here as I type. I still keep thinking about your post of the steaming fissures. In the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJfiMhqLgTY camera view from 03:14 am to well past 04:00 am, and especially around 3:55 am, you can definitely see a fumerole next to the cone on the left. It is closer down to the cone then the two fumerole areas which I measured earlier for you.
          However a 7:00 am local time, that fumerole is no longer seen, but the two fumeroles are steaming again at the top
          I have noticed something occurring around 7:05 am the right side of the cone is steaming through it, and the front area, of course is stil steaming away. However the canyon or tube exit to the right is showing gas emissions too, and I take this as the lava being very gas rich in sulfur compounds and sulfur itself. 06:55:40 am is a good example of this.

  16. I quite like the lava tube that has reestablished itself at Little Hrútur. 🙂

    • Its a lava bridge I guess : )
      The eruption rate is 20 m3 a second right? thats typicaly too fast for pahoehoe tubes

      The channel seems rather slow .. but perhaps it coud tube over If it keeps going ?

      • There are minor upwellings downstream of the major spatter cone vents. You can see them as constant bright features in the lava flow. Not sure how much they contribute to the flow.

    • : ) its the bridge of Sammath Naur the bridge that extends out into Orodruins depth supported by pillars from the conduit walls

      • How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.

      • – Gollum biting off Frodos finger .. and jumping in joy

      • And later .. splaaaassshhh and the enraged emaciaded thing is increnirated greedly grasping the ring as he is engufled by the magma

        • Ultimately its where we all come from and where we all go. Hopefully with a smile on our face 🙂

  17. Mary had a little Lamb (Hrùtur)

    Its fleece was white as snow, yeah.
    Everywhere the child went,
    The little lamb was sure to go, yeah. 🙂

    • I prefer this version. Not for children of course.

      Mary had a little lamb.
      she ate it with mint sauce
      and everywhere that Mary went,
      the lamb went too of course.
      ….. for a limited period of time of course.

    • Well, I was wrong. I had the AFAR stream wound back. Only a few min apart.


  18. I looks like tha lava from Fagradalsfjall is going to interact with the old holocene lava field from Trölladyngja. Trölladyngja was Krysuvik’s great shield eruption.

  19. Anyone want to give an estimate as to when we have a cave in of a slight portion of the cone, where the slowly growing smoke is being emitted, indicating a growing crack? I have been watching this for a few hours now and the crack is slowly extending.

  20. I saw someone walk across the view of the Lili-Hrutur cam about 3 minutes ago. 7:30 EDT, wearing a backpack.

  21. A drone just flew up above the lava river towards the cone on the L H North cam

    • I saw one hovering over the vent for a while near 20:30ish earlier. Isak?

    • Perhaps someone climbed L H North under cover of night and is running the drone from there.

  22. In case anyone was wondering, the cone is 22 meters tall, maybe closer to 25 today. So the fountains are 30-40 meters with bursts to maybe 60 or 70. So its not really huge but also not that small, and the output is pretty substantial given how consistent it has been.

  23. I have been using the grounded lavabergs in the lava stream to measure if the flow rate changes.

  24. Vigor seems down significantly over the past couple of hours. The “church window” feature at the back of the cone is visible to a much greater extent, much more of the time than before. The fountaining is lower.

    Is it waning, or is this like 2021 when such decreases early in the eruption heralded more fissures opening?

    • Coud be more open now too and pipelike so means less fountains

  25. Only thing left now for me is to find a job skill relevant for Iceland .. but the process is agonizingly slow due to my injured limb and due to 100 s of diffirent job way choices

    Then Im going
    Iceland is too nature wonderful to resist really

    Woud be g

  26. The last eruption of Reykjanes was 1422 with formation of a temporary island. It was the last activity there before Fagradalsfjall.
    Eldey was again 1582 active, after that it had a 200 year break until 1783. Then, the same year when Laki began, Eldey produced the temporary island “Nyey”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%BDey
    Since 1783 Eldey is relatively regularly active: 1830, 1879, 1884, 1926 on the surface. Added to this supposedly several submarine eruptions like 1990 that happened unnoticed.

    • Most of those eruptions were much further offshore than Eldey, probably normal MIR volcanism unrelated to the cycle on the peninsula, which is partly influenced by a transform fault.

      • Yes, the rift is very long that is often applied to Eldey, even if it’s very far away from Iceland. But it’s interesting that there was no large break like on the peninsula.

        The whole last Reykjanes cycle lasted from 900 to 1422. That’s all in all 500 years. A long time for many events … after our lives

        • … if the current new Reykjanes cycle again lasts this time span.

    • Interesting, I didn’t know about Nyey. But that is a different system from Eldey, too far offshore. There are more than 10 volcanic systems in very shallow water offshore Reykjanes that can form islands or produce discolored water.

      • Yes, I believe that this can happen any time again. Surtseyan eruptions there are still smaller than the original Surtsey eruption. The Westman islands are more solid and build on larger eruptions than the Eldey/Reykjanes volcanic islands.

  27. Vigor seems up again. The cone’s base has expanded, at least on the left side, in the past 12 hours by perhaps as much as 10m.

  28. A bit after 09:58 there’s a huge collapse of material at the back of the cone.

  29. There is lava filling up the area left of the crater, but I can’t figure out where it is coming from. If you look at the area at 9AM Iceland time and then look at it every 30 minutes, the area is definitely filled. But as no lava is overflowing the channel, there must be another source. Perhaps a leak in the back-side of the cone? One of the other cracks is still pushing out some lava (the smoking one)?

    Anyone that has an idea?

    • I forgot to state which camera, it is on “RUV Reykjanes Nordur” and on AfarTV (which used another camera during parts of the night).

      Looking at it again, it seems like the upper crust is more or less unchanged, so there is an inflow below the crust that lifts it. One can see that the crust is moving a bit upwards in the picture (lifted) even thou the cone is in the same fixed location (stable), so it is not movement of the camera.

      This is new this morning, it has happened slowly during a few hours (but it is a bit harder to see due to fog and dark before 8.30 this morning).

    • I’ve been keeping the stream running all day and I haven’t noticed any new lava outside of the crater itself and the channel.
      I’m looking at the camera looking north from Litla Hrútur, and the lava field nearest the camera has been built up from overruns and spills over the last week. To the back of the cone is the northern end of this fissure, and the lava on the ground there is all pretty much from the first day of activity.
      To the back left and just about touching it is the lava field surrounding the northernmost fissure where there was activity on the first day.
      There is also a smoking crack on the ground between the main vent and the northernmost fissure. This is the southern end of that fissure, not wide enough for lava to erupt through, but more than wide enough for gas to escape.
      As long as the main vent is open and erupting freely as it does now, it’s not likely that the surrounding fissures will reactivate. New activity would be expected if the eruption stops without the regional inflation stopping first.

      • My best guess after looking through a lot ov material is that the lava stream now is directly connected to the lava below the crust. The buildup of the base around the cone comes from below, not on the surface.

        • For once I tend to differ from you in our guesses Jan. It appears to me that the increase in lava at the base of the cone is cinders rather that cooled running lava. Having just seen a few massive splashes running and splattering down to that area that is like a scree slope, then I think the lava splashing out of the cone has been building up a steady rise in cinders. Just my guess anyway.

  30. The outflow rate must have dropped in the last 2 hours. The river is lower and narrower.

  31. There could be a blockage and the lava lake is rising, ready for another outburst if the exit gives way.

  32. It looks a lot like Pu’u O’o in its early days, before it started doing really tall fountains and was just a breached spatter cone.

  33. The L H MBL camera overlooking the merging lava fields did a panoramic sweep of the entire area at 02:35 this morning. It covered from Meradalur right round to the Cone.

    • I really hope so Jesper. I also hope you are able to get to Iceland once your problems with work and your injury is resolved. Even if this eruprion is finished by then I am sure there will be at least a few more to come and many journeys to other volcanos to come.

  34. The area has been reopened. Hopefully that means new drone coverage very soon.

      • It’s difficult to give numbers. It’s not like a magma chamber deflating like a punctured balloon. Remember that the dyke intrusion mainly pushed its walls to the sides. Because of that, the ground deformation is mostly made up of horizontal movements rather than vertical. These movements are picked up by GPS stations quite far away. Now, if the dyke is losing pressure, we don’t expect to see this in the up/down component. Instead, we would see a reversed horizontal movement compared with that caused by the intrusion. In other words, motion towards the dyke indicates loss of pressure and that was indeed something that could be observed during 2021.

        When examining the current GPS status, it seems like there’s a very subtle movement towards SE on the LISK and VONC stations (the ones most affected by the intrusion), so they seem to be moving towards the dyke. The sample series is very noisy, so it’s a bit early to say with confidence that it’s a trend. I can’t see any corresponding NW movement in the stations near Kleifarvatn, but it could be hidden in noise.

        In about a week it should be more clear. By then we will also get another Sentinel pass and some fresh InSAR data. My gut feeling is that it’s slowly deflating in a way very similar to 2021. The output is higher this time, so maybe it could run out of juice quicker. We’ll see.

    • the eruption is very steady now.. I doubt it will stop anytime soon, it may get even more steady if it slows down even more

    • Thanks for the update. Information travels in strange ways. Is there a website where the authorities are current on a real-time basis? I checked VISIR this morning and their latest was ‘still closed’.

  35. The current woodfires are the biggest in Iceland’s history! This said Ármann Höskuldsson (University of Iceland). The smoke gasses from these fires are more dangerous than the actual volcanic gasses.

    Firefighters had a lot of work to make the reopening of the area possible. They didn’t fight the volcano but the organic fires.

    • South Coast Road is in danger again: https://www.mbl.is/frettir/innlent/2023/07/17/huga_thurfi_ad_sudurstrandarvegi/
      Thorvaldur Þórðarson, volcanologist at University of Iceland, expects that lava will leave Meradalir on July 22nd. From there the way to the South Coast Road is even, easier than from Geldingadalir (and the current eruption is more intense than 2021). It’s not certain that lava will make it to there, but they’ve to take care for this possibility.

      • How do they think it will last? well perhaps Impossible To say

        • They don’t know how long it will last. But if it continues like this, they have to consider the scenario that lava floods the South Coast Road.

      • That analysis is not considering that lava might be flowing backwards into the area southeast of the cone (when Meradalir is filling up), the area shown at 15:07 in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LykVVU3C6D0

        My analysis indicates that this might be an easier way for the lava to flow.

  36. A beautiful steep lava skid from the cone now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZGleOgreBY

    The Webcams in Meradalir show brown-black lava field with a small gas plume, but not the actual lava flow. Maybe they should send some humans there to take a video of the lava flows and the growing lava field.

  37. For those of you who’ve walked/biked the recommended route to the safe viewpoint, was it worth it? I just wonder if the 20km walk is too hard if you can’t really see anything.

  38. On the MBL Meradalir cam, they are arriving. Some with hiking boots, backpacks and respirators and some in trainers carrying mobile phones. Will we see flip-flops and high heals like we did last year?.

    • Would you be surprised or disappointed if not?? As I’ve opined. A regular geologic “Woodstock”. All we need is to be able to bring back Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, the rest of ‘The Band of “27”, and ask Carlos Santana to come aboard. In this environment, “Hot Tuna” might be quite right.

    • Jesper thanks for that post. The back area which I said seemed to be hot all the time has turned out to be the northern most vent area and the gusher there and so I have been watching the steady flow from the vent paint a picture of some static object staying hot. Furthermore from the drone vantage point it looks like the two northernmost vents are spewing the most gas, particularly the northmost one. We saw this behavior in LaPalma when we had 3 or even 4 vents going and the southmost vent was almost nothing but gas and occassionally tephra.

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