Underground cables that withstand lava flow


A woman with a smile, accompanied by another woman and a man at a dug-up site

An interesting experiment is being carried out at the volcanic eruption sites in Fagradalsfjall to determine how much burden the underground cables can withstand from the lava flow. Hopefully, the findings will be informative for other similar and challenging situations.

The objective of the experiment

EFLA and collaborators have worked at the mouth of Nátthagi valley at the eruption sites in Fagradalsfjall in Reykjanesskagi. The objective is to experiment with what happens when lava flows over underground cables and other pipes, e.g. fibre optics, power lines and water cables. As well as to examine whether the underground cables can withstand the heat and deformation from the lava flow and draw lessons that can be useful in comparable conditions.

Measuring devices were installed in the soil to measure heat from the lava and its weight and were isolated in different ways, e.g. with pumice, mineral fibre wool, and gravel.

The experiment results depend on lava flowing south from Nátthagi valley and over the measuring equipment's soil. With continued volcanic activity from the crater, this could happen in the coming weeks.

See also news about 3D model of the volcano


The project is carried out for the Civil Protection and Landsnet (Transmission Lines Operator) in collaboration with Verkís, Institute of Earth Sciences, Icelandic Met Office, Landsvirkjun (National Power Company), the Emergency Line, Rafholt, Tensor, Míla, Gagnaveitan, Hampidjan and Lýsir etc.