Long-Term Ion Hydration Process and Lithosphere-Atmosphere Coupling following the 2021 Fagradalsfjall Volcanic Eruption Using Remotely Sensed Data

Şentürk E., Adil M. A., Toker M., Iban M. C., Akyürek Ö.

ADVANCES IN SPACE RESEARCH, no.-, pp.12-25, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.asr.2022.12.008
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Artic & Antarctic Regions, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, MEDLINE, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.12-25
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


After a series of earthquakes, the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland faced a volcanic eruption for the first time in 800 years. This volcanism of the 2021 Fagradalsfjall started on March 19, 2021, and lasted until September 18, 2021. In this study, the vestiges of the mutual interplay of Earth’s different geophysical shells due to the local lithospheric changes around the Fagradalsfjall were extensively investigated with the help of satellite-based remotely sensed datasets. Firstly, the regional surface deformations caused by the pre-eruption seismic activity are determined using interferometric image pairs, and horizontal and vertical displacement rates are analyzed. Secondly, the satellite observations revealed that the land surface temperature of the entire area increased to a maximum of 40 oC during the maximum phase of lava discharge by the end of May 2021. Moreover, we observed that the surface mass concentrations of SO2 and CO trace gases started to ascend in parallel with the lava discharge after the initial eruption, where their concentrations were doubled in April before reaching their maximum phases (three to four times more than the initial eruption) in May 2021. The cumulative concentrations of the trace gases in the atmosphere emitted from the Fagradalsfjall volcano pushed the regional atmospheric balance into a non-equilibrium state by creating air ionization through various chemical reactions with other atmospheric gases. These ion clusters underwent an ion hydration process that changed the electric conductivity of the atmospheric boundary layer, which covers the first two kilometers of the atmosphere. Finally, our observations showed a sharp decrease in the atmospheric relative humidity that led to an increase in the atmospheric air temperature due to this ion hydration process. The large ion clusters in the atmospheric boundary layer produced a vertical electric field that penetrated over the affected region and brought long-term changes in the ionosphere layer. This unique phenomenon of the simultaneous interaction of different geophysical layers was specifically observed during the maximum phase of the lava discharge and increased ion concentrations in the atmosphere. The used data sets cover the first three months of the volcanism, and this interval seemed to be sufficient to reveal the atmospheric traces. Our comprehensive study provides an important contribution to the theory of the coupling of volcanism and the Earth's atmospheric dynamics.