- Öræfajökull is in a typical preparation stage before an eruption.
- Increase in geothermal activity is also a possible scenario.
The Department of Civil and Emergency Management in Iceland have just issued a new status for Öræfajökull volcano.
It shows clear signs of unrest, they say, with an inflation phase of at least a year and a half.
The source of the inflation is most likely injection of new magma.
The volume change since the start of the unrest is of the order of magnitude of 10 million m3 (about 0.2 m3/sec) comparable to the intrusion activity in Eyjafjallajökull before the eruption in 2010.
History of Öræfajökull
Öræfajökull is a Grand Solar Minimum volcano with two confirmed Holocene eruptive periods:
- Jun 1362 to Oct 1362 — VEI 5 — during the Wolf Minimum
- Aug 1727 to May 1728 — VEI 4 — during the Maunder Minimum
This is not a small volcano by any stretch, and it’s showing signs of a potential VEI 4 to 6 in the near future.
An eruption of this scale would lower global temperatures within weeks and instantly paralyse air traffic across Europe.
With 0.25 km3 of ejected tephra, the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption rates at the lower end of a 4 on the volcanic explosivity index, yet still it caused major disruption to air traffic across Europe.