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Climate Change

Volcanology and Ecology in Iceland

Iceland’s Eastern Volcanic Zone is one of the most geologically active areas in the world.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Upptyppingar Volcano has become seismically active, suggesting the presence of shallow magma movements beneath the volcano.

When volcanoes erupt, molten lava destroys everything in its path, while ash and acid rain disrupt activities across thousands of miles.

Volcanic activity in eastern Iceland leads to lava flows and ash explosions; these natural disasters can result in international economic chaos and adverse health impacts. The most recent eruption of Krafla ended in the mid-1980s, and since then large tourist and power industries have grown up in the area. Eruptions in the region today would seriously endanger the local economy and public health.

The effects of Icelandic eruptions are frequently felt in Europe in the form of ash fall and acid aerosol haze. The 1875 eruption of Askja and the 20th century eruptions of Hekla produced fallout across Scandinavia and northern Europe. The recent air travel disruption resulting from a relatively small eruption at the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano had negative economic and health impacts on the U.K.

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The center of the Askja caldera is sinking, and the nearby Upptyppingar Volcano, once dormant, is now seismically active, suggesting the presence of shallow magma movements beneath the volcano. The questions of where the magma is coming from and going, and its ultimate fate, naturally arise. In addition to improved modeling systems to predict the path of erupted ash, a detailed understanding of the shallow crustal structure and processes within it is needed in order to predict when and for how long seismic events will occur.

About the research area

Akureyri, Iceland, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field

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The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Hazel
Rymer
Dean and Director of Studies for the Faculty of Science, Open University

ABOUT Hazel Rymer

Prof. Hazel Rymer investigates how active volcanoes like the Masaya in Nicaragua affect their environments and global climate change.

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