Lava–water interaction and hydrothermal activity within the 2014–2015 Holuhraun Lava Flow Field, Iceland

Colin M. Dundas, Laszlo Keszthelyi, Einat Lev, M. Elise Rumpf, Christopher W. Hamilton, Ármann Höskuldsson, Thorvaldur Thordarson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Lava that erupted during the 2014–2015 Holuhraun eruption in Iceland flowed into a proglacial river system, resulting in aqueous cooling of the lava and an ephemeral hydrothermal system. We carried out a monitoring study of this system from 2015 to 2018 to document the cooling of the lava over this time, using thermocouple measurements and data-logging sensors. The heat loss rate from advection through this hydrothermal system in August 2015 was ~5.5 × 108 W; since eruption, aqueous cooling likely accounted for ~1% of the total heat loss from the lava. This estimate excludes steam losses from fumaroles as well as any groundwater that was not released to the surface, and thus is a lower bound. Near the terminus of the flow, advection of heat by flowing water may have locally accounted for tens of percent of the total cooling of that part of the flow. Our data quantify the importance of water cooling for this lava flow and can be compared with models to better understand lava–water interactions more generally. We also provide detailed methods for simple, low-cost monitoring of similar instances in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107100
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
StatePublished - Dec 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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