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New Holuhraun lava field is sealing in one of world's large dust source

By Staff

  • Lava island The crater in Holuhraun, seen here spewing up orange-glowing lava, is at least 400 meters (1,312 ft.) long and 100 meters (328 ft.) wide. Image by the Institute of Earth Sciences.

The volcanic fissure in Holuhraun has now spewed up lava that covers 77.5 square km (30 sq. mi.) and is still growing. According to today's report from the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection (SAB)  the lava is now mainly flowing inside closed channels that open near the edges of the lava field to the north.

Holuhraun is located in the central highlands almost in the middle of Iceland's largest sand and gravel desert. This barren area has been an extremely active dust source resulting in land erosion and dust being carried even to regions far away.

The new lava field is changing this situation by covering the desert and providing a stable surface. Effectively the new and vast Holuhraun lava is sealing in the dust. And as Iceland is believed to be among the world’s most active dust sources, see this science paper by soil scientist Ólafur Arnalds, the effects are on global scale. 

According to SAB the average lava flow rate in Holuhraun is now estimated to be less than 100 cubic meters (3,542 cubic ft.) per second, compared to about 200 cubic meters (7,063 cubic ft.) per second in the first weeks of the eruption. 

The ongoing eruption is not visible in web cameras today due to bad weather in the area.

 

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