Sunday, August 24, 2014

InterviewGeophysikerin Rikke Pedersen: “We expect flash floods and … – Business Week

Andreas Menn

On Iceland is the Bardarbunga close to breaking. The geophysicist Rikke Pedersen on the risk of volcano research and why can aircraft in Europe probably stand out more.

Economics Week: Ms. Pedersen, for days it rumbles mighty in Bardarbunga volcano on Iceland. Will there be an outbreak

Pedersen: This is hard to predict. Currently we have no evidence that magma up paves the way to the surface. But that can always change abruptly.

As the volcano behaves at the moment?

In the past few days There were thousands of earthquakes that were felt in the northern port city of Akureyri. This is a sign that move there from the center of the volcano magma flows through cracks in the rocks – geologists call it intrusion. In recent days, the tremors have migrated to the northeast. But they stay in five to twelve kilometers deep.

How fast can this be changed?

This can we do not exactly say. We have too little information about this particular volcano. Significantly more experience we have with the volcano Katla, which lies further south and was from 1975 to 1984 magma activity. What was found: An outbreak follows usually in the first few days after the first magma movements. The evidence to show that an outbreak of Bardarbungas is less likely with each passing day. But it is not clear whether we can transfer the knowledge about Katla on him.


  • Rikke Pedersen

    Rikke Pedersen is a geophysicist at the Nordic Volcanological Center at the University of Iceland.

What would we see if we were to fly a plane over the volcano?

A huge white ice desert. The Bardarbunga is covered by an up to 600 meter thick ice sheet of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier. I am repeatedly flown over it, it is a smooth white surface. My colleagues have the volcano flew over yesterday and could discover no new crevasses or melted ice.

How dangerous is the Bardarbunga?

It includes the longest system of volcanic fissures in Iceland – the crack through which the magma can move around, are more than 200 kilometers long. 8000 years ago found here likely to take the world’s most powerful eruption in the past 10,000 years. Nevertheless, it is not a super-volcano such as in Yellowstone National Park, which could cause devastating damage during an outbreak.

The volcano is under a glacier – what would since breaking out

It would take a while until the magma has melted by this tank a way, presumably? 24 hours. Once that happens, an ash cloud will spread. When the magma travels to the edge of the glacier, we would get to see lava flows

Can the ash shut down air travel in Europe -. Similar to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010?

When it comes to an explosive eruption, masses of material are thrown into the air. But from studies of past lava eruptions of the volcano from the past centuries, we know that the chemical composition of the magma is different from the Eyjafjallajökull. The ash particles fall to the ground faster. And the weather in Iceland is currently very quiet. Only when a strong wind from the north comes to an ash cloud on the European continent could move.

  • Page 1: ” We expect flash floods and ash clouds “
  • page 2: Huge amount of melt water

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