Holuhraun Fissure Eruption

September 29, 2014


Photographer: William Moreland
Summary Authors: William Moreland; Stu Witmer

September 2012 Viewer's ChoiceIceland is a creation of plate tectonics. The North American and Eurasian plates are spreading apart here at the rate of about 1 in (2.5 cm) each year. The island abounds with visual evidence of this movement. Most recently, a new fissure has erupted in the Holuhraun lava field just north of Dyngjujökull, part of the larger Vatnajökull (jökull is Icelandic for glacier). The photo above shows the eastern lava field of the Holuhraun fissure eruption as the lava meets the Jökulsá á Fjöllum, Iceland’s second-longest river. Jökulsá á Fjöllum carries meltwater from glaciers near its source to the sea more than 125 mi (200 km) distant. At the time the photo was taken the lava was flowing at a rate of about 328 ft (100 m) per hour and covered 7 sq mi (19 sq km) making it the largest such flow Iceland has seen since 1875. Photo taken September 8, 2014.

Photo Details: Camera: HTC One (M8) using the Pan 360 function; Focal Length: 3.82 mm; Aperture: f/2.0; Exposure Time: 0.100 s (1/10); ISO equiv: 1600.