The heat is on - Volcanic activity in Iceland

Iceland lies on the rift between the Eurasian and North American plates, which are moving apart from each other by about 2 cm every year. It also lies above a mantle “hot spot”. These two facts conspire to make it a highly volcanic land. Eruptions, which occur every few years with the latest occurring right now, can be hazardous both to people living in the area and to air traffic. Geomatic studies play a key roll in monitoring the active volcanoes. Prior to the current eruption, movement of magma to shallower depths caused deformation of the surface, which was imaged using radar remote sensing and GPS. In addition to the volcanic activity these and other surveying techniques are also used to measure motion due to rifting, earthquakes, landslides and changes in the ice/snow load, the last of which causes the Iceland to bounce up and down on a yearly cycle.