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Report on Krafla (Iceland) — September 1978


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 3, no. 9 (September 1978)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Krafla (Iceland) Inflation slows and becomes irregular; new deflation expected in a few weeks

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1978. Report on Krafla (Iceland) (Squires, D., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 3:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN197809-373080



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"Since the end of the deflation event of 10-13 July, inflation within Krafla caldera has continued at a similar rate as before. The rate of inflation as recorded on the tiltmeters was very uniform until about 20 September. Since then the inflation has been slower and more irregular. Similar irregularities have generally been observed a few weeks before previous deflation events. It is expected that the land elevation will reach the previous level about the second week of October. After that, a deflation event can be expected within a few weeks.

"Where the magma will go this time is more uncertain. Very significant rifting has now taken place on most parts of the fault swarm N of Krafla and on the S part next to the caldera. Recent predictions have therefore emphasized the possibility of a rifting event in the southernmost part of the fault swarm. However, the possibility of another rifting event to the N, or an eruption, can in no way be excluded."

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: K. Grönvold, NVI.