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Report on Krafla (Iceland) — October 1977


Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 10 (October 1977)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Krafla (Iceland) Inflation resumes

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1977. Report on Krafla (Iceland) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 2:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197710-373080



65.715°N, 16.728°W; summit elev. 800 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

After the eruption and deflation of 8 September, inflation of Krafla caldera resumed, and has continued at the pre-8 September rate. Dry tilt measurements indicated a complicated pattern of deformation. Repeated levelling showed that the caldera bottom had reached the pre-8 September elevation by mid-October.

During the 8 September event, magma was injected less than 1,200 m beneath the thermal areas, as shown by one drill hole that ejected tephra for half an hour. Since then, thermal activity at Námafjall has increased conspicuously, making access to the area difficult. This fall farmers in the area literally harvested boiled potatoes!

Remeasuring of geodimeter lines in late October indicated continued rifting of the fissure system, amounting to 20 cm since 15 September. Seismic activity is presently at a minimum, as was the case before the 8 September event. Renewed volcanic activity is expected before the end of November.

Geological Summary. The Krafla central volcano, located NE of Myvatn lake, is a topographically indistinct 10-km-wide caldera that is cut by a N-S-trending fissure system. Eruption of a rhyolitic welded tuff about 100,000 years ago was associated with formation of the caldera. Krafla has been the source of many rifting and eruptive events during the Holocene, including two in historical time, during 1724-29 and 1975-84. The prominent Hverfjall and Ludent tuff rings east of Myvatn were erupted along the 100-km-long fissure system, which extends as far as the north coast of Iceland. Iceland's renowned Myvatn lake formed during the eruption of the older Laxarhraun lava flow from the Ketildyngja shield volcano of the Fremrinamur volcanic system about 3800 years before present (BP); its present shape is constrained by the roughly 2000 years BP younger Laxarhraun lava flow from the Krafla volcanic system. The abundant pseudocraters that form a prominent part of the Myvatn landscape were created when the younger Laxarhraun lava flow entered the lake.

Information Contacts: G. Sigvaldason, NVI.