Analysis: ‘Lava fountain’ or ash cloud possible – but it’s a waiting game for now
Our science correspondent Thomas Moore is on the ground in Iceland – just outside the evacuation zone near Grindavik.
He’s been discussing how any potential eruption could unfold.
“Scientists still don’t know where the magma will break through the surface,” he said.
“It’s mostly likely to be inland… perhaps producing a lava fountain,” he added.
However, a scenario is possible in which we could see scenes not unlike 2010, where a massive ash cloud disrupted international air travel – although Moore was keen to point out that, according to the latest predictions, any eruption here would likely not be on the same scale.
“[Magma breaking through] could be just offshore, in which case the mix of molten rock and seawater would be explosive and produce an ash cloud.
“It’s unlikely to be on the scale of the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which produced an ash plume that grounded flights over Europe for a week – but this is the first time in 50 years that people have been moved out of harm’s way of an eruption in Iceland,” he said.
“People returning [home] will have to, unfortunately, wait several days, if not weeks, before [they get] clearance from evacuation centers [to leave].”