March 3rd

A group of scientists reached the SW lava flow at 13:00. The thickness of the lava front was estimated about 10 m and the flow was advancing very slow, probably 1-2 m per day.   The lava is spreading in a "cuvet" like depression. While tracing the lava to more westerly direction it was noted that at places the flow was spreading at much faster rate, estimated up to 1 m/hour.
Following the lava flow along its westernmost side, the group reached its origin at the foot of the volcano. The lava was not flowing from  any actual crater but welled up at the end of the erupting fissure. The lover most part of the fissure is sub terrain from the lowermost crater to an approximately 50 m high block of older welded rocks, resembling a horst formation. The lava was being expelled through an opening of the horst like structure.
The flow rate of the lava at the origin was estimated 0,06 m/s, producing about 10 m3/s.
The lava river can be traced for some distance by blue mist rising above it. The blue mist is caused by continuos degassing of the magma as it flows along the lava stream. Such blue mist was also observed farther east along the flank of the volcano. This is indicating that lava is still flowing from the crater close to the summit area. The craters in this region of the volcano feed the lava flow that flows southward to the Vatnafjoll area. Later in the evening this was confirmed by observers which reported that lava was still flowing slowly at Vatnafjoll. Explosive activity was ongoing in the uppermost crater of the SW-fissure. The activity was characterized by small explosions at 10 to 20 minutes interval, producing white steam clouds with only trace amount of ash.

Photos taken on 3 March

Photographer: Erik Sturkell (sturkell@hi.is) 

Photographer: Guðrún Sverrisdóttir (gsv@hi.is)