Did you know there is a major volcanic eruption going on right now in Iceland? I’m sure some news media companies are covering this story, but it has not been mentioned once in all the nightly news broadcasts I’ve seen here lately. A month ago, on August 16th,the Bardarbunga volcano began erupting, and it has continued to produce mild to moderate earthquakes and lava and sulfur dioxide gas ever since. There is currently a river of lava running from the volcano, and 10-35,000 tons of sulfur dioxide gas are being released from this volcano every day, which may have serious consequences for anyone living downwind of the gas plumes.
According to the Volcano Discovery website, this eruption already counts as the largest eruption in Iceland this century. It is not currently threatening major population areas, or this would be a MUCH bigger story, but it is already interesting. Going by what was said about this volcanic system on a NOVA program from a few years ago, it is likely that the volcanoes in the southern part of Iceland where Bardarbunga is may be linked up underground. It is hard for scientists to know exactly what this might look like, but imagine that there are solid stone ‘plugs’ that have filled in chambers in the nearby volcanoes, and heat from the erupting volcano’s magma softens and melts these plugs. That certainly might be one way that the current erupting volcano might ‘help along’ the next eruption, paving the way for magma to return to the next volcano in the system. In any case, scientists are not just watching the current eruption. There are several other very dangerous volcanoes nearby that seem to be more active after others nearby have erupted, including one massive one that is decidedly overdue for a major eruption.
For more information about this volcano check out the very cool website Volcano Discovery, which has updated volcano and earthquake news from all over the planet.http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/bardarbunga/seismic-crisis-2014/updates.html
You can also watch the NOVA video on youtube that talks about this area of Iceland and its volcanoes- http://youtu.be/ablW3VBh8SM