A University of Iceland geophysicist says there are now clear signs that the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which began erupting on Wednesday, is slowing down. Attention is now turning to the more violent Katla volcano which many fear will erupt next. However, there are no indications that Katla is reawakening at the moment.
AFP reports Sigrun Hreinsdottir, a geophysicist with the University of Iceland, as saying that the lava flow has slowed and that the whole eruption could now slow dramatically as a result.
Hreinsdottir says it appears the lava is flowing from a lava chamber one kilometre deep. She likens the lava chamber to a bursting balloon, adding that nobody knows how much lava is inside in order to accurately predict when the eruption will stop fully.
The pressurised lava always tries to find the easiest way out, she says. That was at Fimmvorduhals in March and is now at the top of Eyjafjallajokull. The build-up of pressure when this eruption finishes will lead eventually to another volcano erupting. History teaches that Katla may well be next, but whether that will be tomorrow, in one year, or never, is impossible to say today. Katla last erupted in 1918.
Click here to see a series of eruption photos, including night time shots where lightning can clearly be seen in the ash cloud.
Main photo: mbl.is/Golli – Small photo: Agust Rafnsson