There are many cases of volcanic eruptions in Iceland.Image Credit source: AFP
Recently there was a major volcanic eruption near the town of Grindavik in the south-west of Iceland. The explosion created a new crack 3 kilometers long, from which a fountain of lava 200 feet high emerged. This is the third time since December last year that a volcano has erupted in western Iceland. It is interesting that big glaciers are also present in this area. Let us know today why there are so many cases of volcanic eruption in Iceland?
The island is also known as ‘Land of Ice and Fire’. This is because it has some of the world’s largest glaciers and most active volcanoes. There are two reasons for earthquakes in Iceland – movement of tectonic plates and the presence of hot spots under Iceland. Let us understand how they work.
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tectonic plate movement
One reason why earthquakes occur in Iceland is that it is a place where two tectonic plates move away from each other. Tectonic plates are a kind of huge slabs on which continents and oceans rest. The Earth is divided into many such plates and they always keep moving. When two tectonic plates move away from each other, magma rises up from within the Earth to fill the empty space. When this magma erupts and comes above the surface, it is called lava. But how is magma formed under the earth?
Actually, the interior of the earth is very hot. It is so hot that the stones present there melt and turn into a liquid substance, which is called magma. Because magma is lighter than the surrounding rocks, it rises upward and accumulates. When favorable conditions are created due to the movement of tectonic plates, magma breaks the surface and bursts out.
Footage from the eruption in Iceland and our evacuation from the area. 🌋 We are grateful to be safe and to have experienced such a thrilling event! #grindavik #iceland #volcano #volcaniceruption #lava pic.twitter.com/HrIm94FmWj
— Paul Zizka (@PaulZizkaPhoto) February 8, 2024
Why does lava come out from hot spots?
The second reason for there being an active volcano in Iceland is its location on a hot spot area. It is still not clear to scientists how and why hot spots are formed. But it is clear that this is a very hot place inside the earth. That’s why they were also named hot spots. Scientists have so far been able to identify only hotspot locations. It is not necessary that they are always in the corner of the tectonic plate. Some hot spots are also found in the middle of the plate.
But the question is, why do volcanoes erupt when they are in hot spots? Actually, magma in hot spots becomes hotter, due to which its density reduces. The reason for its low density is that it rises up and flows out of the earth’s surface in the form of lava.
Is there any danger from lava?
Volcanoes erupt broadly in two ways – one with an explosion and the other without an explosion. The way a volcano erupts depends on the type of magma. If the magma is thick and sticky, the gases cannot come out easily. In such a situation, pressure builds up until the gases come out rapidly and an explosion occurs. In contrast, if the magma is thin and flowing, the gases can escape easily. When this type of magma erupts, it flows slowly from the volcano. A similar volcanic eruption occurs in Iceland. This type of lava is not very dangerous, because it moves so slowly that people move out of its path. Such eruption of lava also occurs in the volcanoes of Hawaii.
— Geology Scienceᅠᅠᅠ (@GeologyyScience) February 6, 2024
What is the advantage of living in an active volcanic area?
There is also an advantage of living in an active volcanic area. Iceland produces energy by using this heat from the earth. According to a PBS report, Iceland generates 30% of its electricity from geothermal sources, which use heat from within the Earth to drive turbines and produce electricity. The result of this is that Iceland is today one of the cleanest economies in the world. Hot water is also being provided to several thousand houses with the energy generated from geothermal sources.
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