Iceland Volcano Awakens for First Time Since Middle Ages

Keilir Iceland | Wikipedia

Iceland has been pretty quiet for the past decade bar Bardarbunga stinking things up a bit in 2014 but that does seem to be about to change.

March-April is usually the time Icelandic volcanoes awaken as we saw with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010 (similar solar cycle period) which affected air traffic, although to a far lesser degree than the Chinese Communist Party Virus.

Reykjanes is the dark horse of Icelandic volcanism. It is far from the hot\nKeilir Iceland | Wikipedia\n\nIceland has been pretty quiet for the past decade bar Bardarbunga stinking things up a bit in 2014 but that does seem to be about to change.\n \nMarch-April is usually the time Icelandic volcanoes awaken as we saw with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010 (similar solar cycle period) which affected air traffic, although to a far lesser degree than the Chinese Communist Party Virus.\n \nReykjanes is the dark horse of Icelandic volcanism. It is far from the hot spot, and has not erupted since the middle ages. It has been 800 years since the last eruption. It seemed safe enough to build both Iceland’s capital and its major airport here. But there is power hiding here. 3 km3 of holocenic lava is located in between Reykjavik and its airport, Keflavik. I should say that neither of these two are in danger from the current activity. But Reyjavikonians may now find themselves with a front seat to an eruption – and hope that the wind blows the sulfur away from the capital. The prevailing wind here is easterly – putting Reykjavik downwind of Reykjanes.\n\nImminent eruption near Keilir likely\n\nThe most famous eruption of these was in 1226, perhaps starting a few years earlier. It left the tip of the peninsula a volcanic waste land. Icelandic sagas mention ‘fires in the sea’ at the Reykjanes Peninsula for 1223 and again 1225-1227. A violent explosion in 1226, spread 0.1 km3 of tephra across the area, as far as Reykjavik. The sagas mention that it caused ‘darkness in the middle of the day’. The winter of 1226/1227 was called a ‘sand winter’. This word is normally used for the year after an eruption, and indicates the effect of the volcanic ash rather than the ash fall itself. It causes mortality in the farm animals, and famine. Fluorine may be to blame, but there are other possibilities. \n\nSome good background on Keilir.  spot, and has not erupted since the middle ages. It has been 800 years since the last eruption. It seemed safe enough to build both Iceland’s capital and its major airport here. But there is power hiding here. 3 km3 of holocenic lava is located in between Reykjavik and its airport, Keflavik. I should say that neither of these two are in danger from the current activity. But Reyjavikonians may now find themselves with a front seat to an eruption – and hope that the wind blows the sulfur away from the capital. The prevailing wind here is easterly – putting Reykjavik downwind of Reykjanes.


Quite interestingly it’s been 800 years since since the last significant activity:

The most famous eruption of these was in 1226, perhaps starting a few years earlier. It left the tip of the peninsula a volcanic waste land. Icelandic sagas mention ‘fires in the sea’ at the Reykjanes Peninsula for 1223 and again 1225-1227. A violent explosion in 1226, spread 0.1 km3 of tephra across the area, as far as Reykjavik. The sagas mention that it caused ‘darkness in the middle of the day’. The winter of 1226/1227 was called a ‘sand winter’. This word is normally used for the year after an eruption, and indicates the effect of the volcanic ash rather than the ash fall itself. It causes mortality in the farm animals, and famine. Fluorine may be to blame, but there are other possibilities.

Imminent eruption near Keilir likely

Where we go from here is to be seen but bears watching closely. Some more background on Keilir.

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