25 Sep 2014

Iceland volcano lava flow seen from space

You’ll no doubt remember the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland that was making the headlines a few weeks ago, with fears that it would erupt and possibly affect air travel.

Although the volcano has taken a step out of the news headlines, it is still active, leading to the Icelandic Met Office providing daily updates on its status.

As well as monitoring activity from sensors on the ground, Nasa satellites have been keeping an eye on the volcano from space – providing some spectacular images. 

Below are two of the more recent images, captured by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.

The first image below is an infrared image that senses temperature. It has then had colour scales applied, in order to pick out the volcano’s lava flow. In this case, orange-red is hot lava, fading to black for cool.

iceland_volcanoIR_NASA_wp

The second image below is a natural-colour version of the same scene, which shows the view from space as you would see it from a normal camera taking a photograph.

It shows the fiery orange opening of the volcano, with a huge plume of volcanic ash spreading outwards to the east.

iceland_volcanoNAT_NASA_wp

The latest update from the Icelandic Met Office says that between midnight and 7am on 25 September, ten earthquakes have been automatically detected in Bardarbunga.

Three of these earthquakes were above magnitude 4, with the strongest being magnitude 5.2, recorded at 5am by the south eastern rim.

Images: Nasa

Tweets by @liamdutton

3 reader comments

  1. Martyn Wells says:

    That’s not “a huge plume of volcanic ash spreading outwards towards the east”. It’s mainly steam and Sulphur Dioxide, from the vent and the cooling lava field.

  2. Ian Pendlebury says:

    Even though this fell below our news radar quite quickly after it failed to bring the european aviaton industry to a standstill, Bardarbunga has been erupting constantly for a month now. During that time there have been more than 20,000 earthquakes in the vicinity and the magma field now covers an area of 30km². The authorities are saying that it will continue erupting at least for several more months, and possibly for years. If it continues erupting for just two more weeks, it will have become the largest eruption seen in Iceland for 150 years. This volcano is a big deal for Iceland.

  3. PAT widmann says:

    AWESOME SEEING THE EARTH OPENING UP AND SPEWING LAVA! I VISITED THE VOLCANO CTR AT EYA..ETC AND SHOOK HANDS WITH THE FARMER AT GROUND ZERO THERE .TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY! ROCK ON!

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