Spectacular Video and Images of World's Largest Lava Field in 200 Years

By Jesus Diaz on at

New aerial footage and satellite photos show the titanic field of lava growing north of the Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland. According to NASA, the "Holuhraun lava field had spread across more than 84 square kilometres (32 square miles)", the biggest in 200 years. And it isn't stopping.

The eruption started as small fissure in August 2014, but now it is is Iceland's largest basaltic lava flow since the Laki eruption in 1783–84, an event that killed 20 per cent of the island's population.

NASA published this photo from the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured on January 3, 2015:

Spectacular video and images of world's largest lava field in 200 years

Compare it to its status on September 6, 2014, just about four months ago:

Spectacular video and images of world's largest lava field in 200 years

Here's another satellite image, closer up:

Spectacular video and images of world's largest lava field in 200 years

NASA says that analysis of the magma — check out the video below showing Edinburgh University volcanologist John Stevenson picking up a sample from the field — has found out that it comes from "the Bárðarbunga volcanic system and was last stored at a depth of 9 to 20 kilometres beneath the surface".

According to volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson, there is still a risk of new channel opening, bringing even more lava into the area. While still ongoing and powerful, the current eruption has reduced its strength considerably. That doesn't mean things will eventually calm down: Höskuldsson says that, given the current activity, they expect more big eruptions from the Bárðarbunga system.

[Sploid]