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Iceland's Fagradalsfjall Fires

bjdeming

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Wow. :(

The Njärðvíkism has fallen apart​




mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon


mbl.is

Sonja Sif Þórólfsdóttir

Freyr Bjarnason

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Njarðvíkuräðin, the pipe that supplies Suðurnes with hot water from Svartsengi, has fallen apart.

A lot of steam is now rising from the Njarðvík region, according to a mbl.is reporter on the scene.

Shortly after the steam rose, a black plume rose from the Njarðvíku region.

Njarðvíkuräðin is the main pipeline of HS Veitna that transports hot water from Svartsengi to Fitja in Reykjanesbær.

-- Source (autotranslated)
 

bjdeming

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MBL has a live cam on the leak. Workers were reportedly there almost until the lava got there, but gas pollution forced them out (and a good thing, too!).

Wonder if they can shut it down from the plant end. (BTW, the bore hole did give them roughly the same half-hour notice that seismicity gave volcanologists, per news reports.)
 
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bjdeming

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It does look on the cam as though flow is decreasing.

The latest from RUV :( :

Civil defense up to emergency level and recommendations to residents repeatedly​

The National Police Commissioner, in consultation with the police chief in Suðurnes, have decided to raise the Civil Defense emergency level due to a disruption in the supply of hot water in Suðurnes.

"The hot water pipe is broken, which causes a lack of hot water in Suðurnes. It is now important that residents and businesses in Suðurnesj save all electricity and hot water, says a notice from the Public Defender's Office.
The public in Reykjanes is still being asked to save hot water and electricity.
"Transfer tanks store hot water in the area, and now that the pipeline is gone, that's the only water left in the area." The Civil Defense therefore reiterates the importance of residents and businesses saving water. In targeted economy, media tanks will probably last 6 to 12 hours. Based on normal daily use, the tanks last 3 to 6 hours.

Residents can use an electric oven, but the Public Safety Authority reiterates that each property may only use one electric oven. The electrical system cannot withstand more use. If everyone starts the ovens at the same time, the system can fail. It is therefore important that residents follow the instructions and only use one electric stove for heating," says the public safety announcement.

14 minutes ago

Electricity taken from Svartsengis line​

fre_20240208_10043933

Preventive measures were taken on the Svartsengis line earlier this winter, but now the power has been taken off the line.

Electricity will be taken off the Svartsengis line shortly, as lava has reached the line and is starting to burn, according to Steinunnar Þorsteinsdóttir, Landsnet's information representative.
She says that electricity will continue to reach Reykjanesbær and Suðernesjabær via Suðurnesjalína 1, but the Svartsengislína should be switched off before it is damaged in order to reduce the impact on the system.
Grindavík will probably be without electricity

27 minutes ago

"The damage is done"​

Kristín Jónsdóttir, head of department at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, believes that it is likely that lava will continue to gather to the west of the pipe. "The damage is done, this is very bad news," says Kristín.
 

bjdeming

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More news and an explanation of why things went from "Don't worry, it's going north" to "Uh-oh" so fast.

I have never seen an image of this man smiling but have the strong impression that Iceland is very fortunate to have him there.

More infrastructure at risk​


Margrét Björk Jónsdóttir writes February 8, 2024 12:25 p.m
Víðir Reynisson, director of Civil Defense.
Víðir Reynisson, director of Civil Defense. Index/Vilhelm
Víðir Reynisson, Divisional Director of Civil Protection, makes it clear that the lack of hot water in Suðurnes will be counted in days. The darkest scenario ever imagined is coming true. Electricity and cold water pipes are at risk of being covered by lava, but they are at a considerable depth and it is hoped that they will hold.



Víði was interviewed live in the extra news hour of Stöðvar 2, just a few minutes before lava flowed over the so-called Njarðvíkuræðin, which transports hot water to Suðurnes. According to Vídis, this is how the darkest scenario came true.

This all happened very quickly this morning, did you expect this?

"About two hours after the eruption started this morning, it seemed to us that the lava flows to the west were flowing along Stóri Hagafell and to the north. Then it happens that there is a lava flow that has been traveling a lot. Scientists say that the speed of it was 800-1000 meters per hour which is quite fast, and tells us that the lava is thin-flowing."

Meanwhile, mbl reports that the Svartsengi power plant is off the national grid, although I have seen news of electricity being rerouted in places.

Everyone on the Reykjanes Peninsula is being asked to limit hot water use (personally as well as geothermal heating, I think) and to be careful with electric power.

It's gonna be a long night for them.
 
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bjdeming

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Keflavik Airport update (autotranslated). No word on Reykjavik, and I believe it is on another geothermal plant supply; ? re: electricity.
 

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Per mbl only thus far, nothing up at IMO yet:

There has been a change in the volcanic eruption between Sundhnúk and Stóra-Scógfell. A natural disaster expert at the Icelandic Meteorological Office says scientists are now investigating what may have caused this change.


Dark smoke is now billowing from the eruption centers and the magma plumes are difficult to see. Previously, magma plumes were clearly seen emerging from the fissure.

Groundwater, perhaps. More news as it comes across.

Looks like it could be, though not much.

Yet.



Can't rule out a chemistry change, though, especially with the occurrence of that unexpectedly fluid lava flow that went west.

Fluid lava isn't explosive, though -- it's actually degassed, so...?
 
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bjdeming

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Just going by the cam, the January 14th site might be waking up. If so, this is not good news.
 

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Well, I don't know about the January site. From this view, it does look like water vapor from this morning's vent, along with fountaining:

 

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Per IMO, yep water AND the eruption seems to be weakening.

Updated February 8 at 14:00

The power of the eruption has decreased. Now it is erupting mainly in three places on the crater that opened this morning. This is not unlike what was seen in the December 18 eruption, when activity shifted to individual craters a few hours after eruption.


It is worth noting that a dark plume rises from the crack in one place. There, it is likely that magma is coming into contact with groundwater. There will then be a slight explosion where a white plume of steam mixes with a dark plume of ash.


It seems that the ash is not reaching far from the crater as it stands now. The plume moves to the southwest.

Gossomkur_Serveitin_1352

Photo taken in the northwest direction. (Photo: National Police Chief's Special Squad)


 

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Of note, the Southern Volcanoes and Natural Hazards Group commented (Icelandic/Facebook translation) about an hour ago that there could be a "leirgos" eruption with water present as has happened at Krafla but not on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Online machine translators do not like this word, but I've been persistent and believe it means, basically, a maar explosion like the one that produced Krafla's Hverfjall crater 2,500 years ago.

Sigh.
 
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Well, this has a very "hurricane's comin'" feel to it, except for the winter clothing:

Electric ovens sold out: Residents very scared​


Margrét Björk Jónsdóttir writes February 8, 2024 2:35 p.m
At peak time, around 50 people were queuing in Múrbúðinn in Keflavík for electric ovens.
At peak time, around 50 people were queuing in Múrbúðinn in Keflavík for electric ovens. Sigurður Hallbjörnsson
Electric ovens are sold out in Reykjanesbær. The store manager at Múrbúðinn says he's never experienced anything like it, the queue today was amazing...

-- Source (autotranslated)

Good news: The Svartsengi power plant is back online, per RUV. The defenses they put around the masts held, though some plastic stuff melted and there is ongoing concern about the surrounding heat.

The stuff must be hot -- today's flow traveled 4.5 km, per IMO. Impressive!

The eruption intensity faded almost away but vents are showing life again. There isn't much water vapor plume activity right now.
 

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From this morning -- esp. the close-up!

 

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A new batch of gassy magma must have come up -- the fountains to the left of the water-vapor plume on the mbl.is Grindavik cam are respectable now and even a little strombolian (bursting bubbles), though still sporadic.

Meanwhile, science has its "glasses" back on.

 

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This must have been the workers trying to protect the geothermal pipe earlier today, before they had to evacuate:



Setting a high bar for heavy equipment operators everywhere!

Meanwhile, right now, that activity on the cam left of the plume is intensifying (might be pushing to get restarted to the right of the plume, too).

Hope resulting flows tonight don't force them to take the power plant offline again.
 

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They just widened the mbl.is Grindavik cam view. We were looking at the north end of this morning's fissure, where lava fountaining looked hundreds of feet high.

The south end, where it is focused now, looks even more impressive, with a spatter rampart under construction.

Just the fact that this managed to tap some fresh batch of gassy magma suggests that it's not going to end quickly. Hope I'm wrong, but that view right now has a real 2021-early 2023 feel to it.

Meanwhile, out on the plain work continues on a replacement geothermal pipe they reportedly hope to get going within a day or so. I assume that is this:



Wonder which way the fresh lava will run.
 

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Sudernes district will run out of geothermal heat between 9 and 10 tonight Iceland/UTC time, per mbl (autotranslated).
 

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I've been waiting for updates on where the new lava might go but see nothing. Presumably it isn't an immediate threat. Icelanders have other concerns right now:

"...we have to remember that the energy we can use in every home is not much more than in one powerful hair dryer. It is not possible to install a number of blowers in every home to maintain a high temperature. It's just about getting through the night and tomorrow with minimal heat."

He says he hopes that people will not have to leave their homes due to a lack of hot water. "But we're ready if it happens."

-- Source (autotranslated)

screenshot_20240208-130625_firefox.jpg
 

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Thus far today, it appears I was wrong. Yay! The cams don't show much activity (it did gradually slow down over the evening, Iceland time, until I stopped watching around 2300 UTC).

Per RUV (autotranslated) about an hour ago (emphasis added):

The eruption could end tomorrow or the day after​

fri_20231111_191515342

Ármann Höskuldsson volcanologist.

The northern crater still sends lava to the west, and lava from the southern one goes out onto the plain. Volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson said this on Morgunútvarp. It slowly wears off the soda and it could be over by tomorrow or the day after.

He said that eruptions in the area cannot get bigger than this while they are coming out of the fissure at Sundhnúka, they will be powerful but short. It can be expected that this is part of a cycle that continues. It erupts for a short time, it stops, magma accumulates and then another eruption occurs.

However, it is the case that if it goes out into the fireballs, there will be changes in behavior. Then the eruptions will be bigger and last longer.

Ármann also said that he was surprised by how briskly the lava flow flowed to the west. That path is well defined for lava and it was quickly able to find a channel and create a good central channel which caused it to be able to go this fast and far.

Not sure what is meant by "fireball" but probably the meaning is an eruption site than the November 10th dike, which boffins have just published a paper on. (There are other points of view on the dike -- autotranslated.)


Per sources referenced by Jon Frimann, whoever they may be, the water contact yesterday influenced the eruption somewhat:

...the eruption in part of the fissured ended so suddenly with a pressure drop that the fissure walls collapsed, allow ground to get in touch with lava and then ground water started to flow on the lava. Resulting in two clouds, one dark and a steam cloud. This was large for an about hour or two.


As far as I can tell from the news, everyone has made it thus far through the cold and all are following energy usage restrictions so the grid is holding up.

The most optimistic prediction of restoring geothermal pipe service is by some time tonight, but it will take time to pressurize the system. In the best case, heat in homes and other buildings won't come on until Saturday or Sunday, according to current news.

Which brings us to what Armann said about the pipe-breaking flow following a "well defined path."

It was heartbreaking to see, in Duncan's "keep calm carry on" post above, the high barrier wall around the power plant in the background while lives and valuable equipment (all of Iceland's big stuff is on this, which is why they raced to save it on January 14th) were being risked in what turned out to be a futile attempt to protect the geothermal water pipe.

That effort would have been easier (perhaps), safer, and probably more successful had it been done alongside the erection of the plant barrier at that point.

To put it as damningly (and therefore unfairly) as possible, why was the business property secured and not the consumer-side line providing a vital resource?

To be fair, during an interview with a company spokesperson that I saw yesterday, she said it was because there were concerns that lava might be redirected toward the plant by barriers along the pipeline.

That's valid. It's impossible to overstate just how cutting-edge this 2023-2024 work on lava defense is (I read up on it for the Decade Volcano eBook re: Etna and Mauna Loa).

The Icelanders are pushing well past the boundaries of known science with this and are successful because they have thought it through and worked very, very carefully.

But sometimes you can focus too much -- personal experience talking! -- and lose sight of the main issue.

The Icelanders are too polite to be damning. But they are persistent. I don't envy the politicians or company when this present crisis is over.

In other developments, Keflavik Airport and some neighborhoods around the peninsula are out of ordinary cold water, too.

News stories always add, after reporting it, that it has nothing to do with the eruption.

I did see a story yesterday on the cold-water lines coming from the power plant, noting that they are buried and, though covered in lava that's heating up the ground, they should be okay if water pressure is maintained. No followup on that since.
 

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From IMO this morning, Google translated:

The power of the eruption continues to decrease​


About 15 million cubic meters of lava flowed in the first seven hours​


9.2.2024


Updated February 9 at 11:30 am


The eruption turbulence has decreased significantly since yesterday, but it started to decrease from noon yesterday when the activity on the eruption also decreased. Temporary increases were seen in volcanic eruptions last night, but at the same time activity in the craters increased. Last night, the activity of the eruption decreased even more, but between 7 and 8 this morning two gosop were active. In the past few hours no magma jet activity has been seen on webcams, but it cannot be ruled out that there is still activity in the craters.


Waveform image from 14:56 yesterday shows that the land in Svartsengi, NW of Þorbjörn, was at most about 10 cm thick when magma ran from there into the Sundhnúks crater series. Model calculations based on this data show that this corresponds to about 10 million cubic meters flowing from the magma collection area under Svartsengi when magma flowed from there and erupted into the Sundhnúks crater series.

Waveform image-09022024







In the past 24 hours, there has been minor seismic activity in the area of the eruption. About 40 earthquakes have been recorded there, all around or below 1.0 in magnitude.


Estimates of the volume of lava that flowed from the time the eruption began, at 6:02 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. yesterday (February 8) is about 15 million cubic meters, which means that the average magma flow during the first seven hours of the eruption was about 600 cubic meters per second.


Although the eruption has decreased significantly, it is still too early to say that it is ending. The National Weather Service's solstice watch continues to monitor the area very closely. An updated hazard assessment will be released later today.
 

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Iceland's emergency management personnel are wonderfully polite, too.

...
"It can be expected that the work will be completed later today, and if nothing unexpected happens, the water will start running on the pipes tonight. Water will be released very slowly to begin with to prevent the pipes from bursting, but it can be expected that it will be damaged in some places," says the police in a post on Facebook.


Then it says that based on this, it can be expected that the heat will start to reach the house on Sunday and even late on Sunday evening.


The police praise the residents of Suðurnes for adjusting the load on the systems...

The police commend the residents of Suðurnes for moderating the load on the systems and encourage residents to continue using electricity sparingly. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

"We are also going to use this opportunity to praise the residents of Suðurnes for moderating the load on the systems and encourage residents to continue using electricity sparingly and remind people to consider their neighbors and those who are not even in a position to do not have access to electric heaters. We deal with this together and hope that we will warm up as soon as possible, but it is clear that everyone is doing their best, whether it is the craftsmen working in the disaster area or the residents of Suðurnesje," says the police.

-- Source (autotranslated)
 
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