How NASA Satellite Images Capture Massive Fissure Unleashing Volcanic Fury in Iceland
A recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, just two miles northeast of the evacuated town of Grandavik, has birthed a colossal fissure, spewing lava into the sky and creating a surreal scene resembling the depths of hell. Approximately a month ago, the residents of Grandavik were forced to evacuate due to escalating volcanic activity, marked by earthquakes that left visible cracks in the Earth’s surface.
NASA Earth Observatory has now shared satellite images that vividly portray the magnitude of the eruption, showcasing the stark contrast in temperatures before and after the event on December 18. Utilizing the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the NOAA-20 satellite, the images reveal the searing temperatures of the active lava flows compared to the surrounding terrain and clouds.
Volcanologist Simon Carn from Michigan Technological University explained, “The darker lower-temperature areas appear to be some topography that the lava is flowing around, but these could also be areas where the eruption fissure is not active and has cooler lava, or where gas plumes or clouds are obscuring the surface.”
The aftermath of the eruption, captured through ground-based and aerial footage, paints an apocalyptic panorama. A continuous outpouring of hot material from the fissure has formed a virtual wall of lava, soaring up to an impressive height of 330 feet, as reported by Reuters.
The massive fissure, stretching approximately 2.5 miles, initially raised concerns due to its proximity to Grandavik. However, the Icelandic Met Office now provides a more optimistic outlook, stating that this type of eruption is less likely to release significant amounts of ash into the atmosphere. While the lava flow may persist for weeks or months, the current trajectory indicates a favorable direction away from Grindavik.
Despite the evacuation of the town, ensuring no immediate threat to residents, there remains an element of uncertainty. Volcanologist Simon Carn warned, “If lava continues to flow north, it could eventually reach the key main road from Keflavík airport to Reykjavík,” the capital located about 30 miles away. The situation hinges on variables such as the accumulation of lava, alterations in flow direction, extension of the active fissure, or the emergence of new fissures.
As the residents of Grandavik await the outcome, the ongoing volcanic activity serves as a reminder of the unpredictable forces of nature. The images captured by NASA’s satellite offer a unique perspective, emphasizing the intensity of the eruption and its potential implications for the surrounding region. While the immediate danger has been mitigated by the town’s evacuation, the continuous flow of lava signals a prolonged period of vigilance for both residents and authorities.