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Volcanic Eruption in Holuhraun

A stamp commemorating the volcanic eruption in “Holuhraun” was included in our issue plan for 2015. The issue, however, had to be postponed since the lava field has still not received its official name from the appropriate authorities. This name will of course be featured on the stamp. Sustained seismic activity began in Bárðarbunga on August 16, 2014 with a volcanic eruption starting in Holuhraun north of Dyngjujökull glacier on August 31. A previous eruption in the glacier failed to melt through the ice. A small eruption in Holuhraun on August 29 lasted several hours. Parallel to the convulsions in Bárðarbunga seismic activity was registered in the volcanic caldera system. Magma flows no longer to the surface through the vents in Holuhraun so the volcanic eruption that lasted almost six months is over. It is unusual for single volcanic eruptions to last so long even if eruption episodes, such as the Krafla eruptions, lasted on and off for 9 years. The Bárðarbunga eruption yielded about 1.4 cubic kilometer of lava covering about 85 square kilometers. This is the largest lava eruption in Iceland since the Laki eruption in the 18th century. No later eruptions have yielded such quantities of volcanic material. It is very fortunate that these activities evolved as they did with a rather quiet eruption in ice-free terrain far away from human habitation.