Fire fountains rising from a volcanic crater

The 2014 Holuhraun eruption was the largest volcanic eruption in Iceland in over 300 years

The 2014-2015 Holuhraun eruption  

On August 29, 2014, an eruption began in Iceland when a 1.8 km long fissure opened north of the Vatnajökull ice cap. The large lava field created by the eruption was named Holuhraun, which translates to "the hollow lava" or "porous lava." The outbreak was related to coincident caldera subsidence in the Bárðarbunga central volcano - a unique and rare event that scientists had never monitored in detail before. 

Bárðarbunga is one of Iceland's most prolific volcanos and lures under a few hundred meters thick glacier ice, on top of the center of the Icelandic mantle plume - literally where fire and ice meet.  

Ice filled caldera of Bardarbunga volcano

The majestic Bárðarbunga central volcano and its 10 km wide ice-filled caldera

For two weeks before the eruption, a seismic swarm migrated from Bárðabunga to the Holuhraun eruption site 45 km further northeast, indicating a dyke was propagating underground from the Bárðarbunga central volcano.

The eruption lasted for almost six months and ended on February 27, only one day less than the Fagradalsfjall 2021 eruption. However, the Holuhraun eruption turned out to be the largest effusive eruption in Iceland since the 1783-1784 Laki eruption, producing ~ 1.44 km3 of lava covering 84 km2. Thanks to the volcano's remote location in the central highland, neither the enormous lava flow nor the large amount of sulfuric gases it spewed out, caused any serious hazards.  

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