Erupting volcanoes are forming new real estate all around our planet. Beneath Iceland and Hawaii, hot lava upwelling from deep underground is hardening into rock. Hotspots create chains of volcanoes on these islands as a tectonic plate slowly crosses a mantle plume. In Iceland, there are also volcanic eruptions occurring from the location astride the spreading center known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The result: LOTS of lava.
Watching a volcano erupt is exciting–and people all around the world now have opportunities to see these dramatic performances! The new volcano on the Reykjavik Peninsula in Iceland is getting lots of attention, as is Mount Etna in Sicily. Also, the eruption that began at Kilauea on December 20, 2020 is continuing and the lava lake is deepening.
On the evening of Dec 20, 2020, an eerie orange glow appeared on the infrared monitoring cameras on the summit of Kilauea volcano in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The glow grew larger and larger, marking the beginning of a new volcanic eruption. Lava began pouring out from fissures in the summit crater and a steam cloud developed as the hot lava hit lake water and the water began to boil.
Jutting up from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands are located more than 1,800 miles from the nearest continent. They are also in the center of the Pacific tectonic plate, so the volcanoes that formed these islands have a completely different geologic history from other volcanoes around the Pacific Rim.
There are five volcanoes in the USA that currently exhibit evidence of increased activity – no eruptions (so far), but numerous small earthquakes and steam plumes – reported by the US Geological Survey for the week beginning April 13, 2020*. The USGS cautions: “Activity could increase with little or no warning …