A Volcanic Eruption Gives Researchers Access to theMantle
By: Jayden Yao
In 2021, when the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland started spewing lava after 781 years
of dormancy, researchers and scientists wanted to take a look at what was going on
underneath the surface.
On the first day of the eruption, a helicopter flew to the site to gather samples of lava.
These samples were distributed to labs for testing which revealed unexpected results.
It turned out that the lava was full of crystals.
A paper published in June, in the journal Nature Communications, revealed that the lava
contained a wide range of materials from different parts of the Mantle, the bulk of the
earth’s interior. This variation in materials was unexpected and gave a new perspective
to researchers and scientists on what contributes to volcanic eruptions.
“We have a really detailed record of the different types of composition that we can find
in the mantle now, and it must be very heterogeneous, very variable,” said Frances
The Fagradalsfjall volcano’s lava was primitive, which means that it came from a
reservoir of magma under the crust. Researchers all rushed to gather additional
samples from the volcano.
Ed Marshall, a geochemist at the University of Iceland, said while collecting samples,
“We were working all hours — you’re asleep and the volcano’s still erupting and you’re
like, ‘I got to get back out there. But it’s hard to describe how rare this kind of thing is.”
Fagradalsfjall is between the Eurasian tectonic plate and the North American tectonic
plate. These two tectonic plates often rub against each other.
Compared to other volcanoes, the Fagradalsfjall eruptions were tame and were easier
Dr. Flovenz, who started studying Icelandic volcanoes in 1973 said, “These are very
exciting times. I had never had the hope that I would live to see this unrest and
eruptions on this peninsula. This has been extremely interesting for the geosciences