Saturday, April 12, 2008

Surprise! Underwater Volcano Off Iceland's Coast

Bubbling hot underneath 1,500 meters of water, a volcanic caldera (the lava spitting mouth of a volcano) measuring 10 kilometers in diameter simmers sinisterly. Scratching their heads, a group of Icelandic scientists wonder how it got there in the first place.

Volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson from the University of Iceland and a team of scientists recently discovered a giant volcano off Reykjanes peninsula, southwest Iceland, almost as large as the peninsula itself.

Apparently, however, if this particular volcano erupts the most it will do to mainland Iceland is maybe cause a couple of earthquakes which should be fine since though Icelandic houses are not “lava proof” they are as a rule “earthquake proof.”

Though this new volcano probably (fingers crossed) won’t cause as much damage as the one back in 1973, it is still pretty intimidating.

The damage such a volcano can cause vary according to the volcano type of lava that is supplied via the magma chamber. Liquid lava, which typically forms shield volcanoes (think Hawaii) is destructive only to things which are burned by the lava itself. Thick, viscous lava, full of gases (think Mt. St. Helen's) can be quite destructive in a variety of ways. The danger from the present volcano comes from the possibility of tsunamis triggered by associated earthquakes.

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