Are future short-term warnings of volcanic eruptions possible?

Authors

  • Anonymous


Abstract

The depth, size, and pathways of the magma body that erupted in January 1991 at the Hekla Volcano, Iceland, were calculated by seismologists at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) and the Icelandic Meteorological Office, primarily using data from subsurface strainmeters. Their analysis is the first based on observations of Earth deformation to describe a volcanic eruption so fully; it includes the characteristics of the magma conduit and the speed of upward propagation.

In their new model of the Hekla events, DTM staff members Alan Linde and Selwyn Sacks, with Kristjan Agustsson and Ragnar Stefansson, conclude that the magma reservoir (roughly spheroidal in shape and situated directly below the fissure), of radius 2.5 km, with its center about 6.5 km below the surface, broke out upward to create a flattened conduit, or dike, to the surface. They determined that the time from breakout 4 km deep to eruption at the surface was about 30 minutes.