ESA satellite captures glowing Icelandic lava flow in a spectacular image
The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 has captured a stunning and scary satellite image. It reveals the dramatic aftermath of the third eruption at Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano, with glowing rivers of lava spewing forth from beneath the snow-covered surface. While Iceland is no stranger to volcanic activity, the size of the fiery landscape hasn’t been seen in the region for centuries.
ESA shared the photo on Twitter as the image of the day. It was captured on February 9 at 13:04 UTC, “less than 10 hours after the beginning of the event,” ESA writes.
Recent volcanic activity in Iceland
This latest eruption, the third since December, marks an escalation in activity, raising concerns about the future geological landscape of the area. The sheer volume of lava has forced the evacuation of a major tourist attraction – the Blue Lagoon spa. It also underscores the potential impact on nearby infrastructure, including the international airport and geothermal power plants.
Iceland is located on the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. This unique location results in a lot of volcanic activity, with over 100 volcanoes in Iceland, 30 of which are currently active. However, the Reykjanes peninsula has not experienced lava eruptions in the past 800 years.
“Over geological time, the tectonic plates are pulling apart at about the speed that your fingernails grow, so a few centimeters a year,” University of Oxford Earth scientist Tamsin Mather told the BBC. “But they don’t seem to smoothly pull apart — they go through these pulses of higher activity.” Mather explained that these types of eruptions haven’t happened in this area “in the last 4,000 years,” and that “this is proceeding as expected at the moment.” According to Mather, the scientists are expecting a “series of these relatively small, relatively short-lived eruptions over the coming years and decades.”
The uncertainty surrounding the future eruptions adds another layer to this story. While the satellite image offers a breathtaking glimpse into the fiery heart of the volcano, it also serves as a stark reminder of our planet’s unpredictable and ever-evolving nature.
[via Yahoo! News]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.