VATNAJöKULL, Iceland, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano is a prolific producer of lava, and thanks to its impressive magmatic output, the island nation is growing.
The activity within the Bardarbunga volcanic system is due to the fact that two massive tectonic plates, the Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate, are drifting apart. As they move away from each other, magma underneath Barbarbunga is rising up to fill the gap and helping to grow the size of the country.
The Bardarbunga lava field now stretches more that 14 square miles in size. "That corresponds about to the size of Manhattan," Rikke Pedersen, a researcher with the Nordic Volcanological Center at the University of Iceland, recently told NPR.
In addition to the lava flow, the shifting plates have also caused an extraordinary number of earthquakes. Iceland officials say there have been 20,000 small earthquakes recorded in the last month. It's not clear when all the seismic activity will die down.
Though officials say the last couple of weeks have been slightly quieter than the two before, officials wrote in a recent press release that there "is no significant change in the flow of lava and it is still too soon to say if the volcanic eruption is beginning to fade out."