May 21, 2011

Iceland's Most Active Volcano Grímsvötn In The Middle Of Vatnajökull The Largest Glacier Has Starting Erupting

Ice news
written by Staff
Saturday May 21, 2011

UPDATED: It has been confirmed that Grimsvotn volcano underneath the Vatnajokull glacier in southeast Iceland has begun erupting.

A plume of ash is visible, which has led scientists to confirm earlier reports of an eruption. Vidir Reynisson at the public safety unit of the Icelandic police says it is too early to tell how big an eruption it will be.

Earthquake activity began in the area at 18.00 this evening (local time) — which was taken as a clear sign of an imminent eruption. The emergency co-ordination centre at Skogarhlid in Reykjavik is in operation.

Grimsvotn is a large volcano buried under glacial ice. It erupts regularly, the last time in 2004. At the time, aviation was directed away from the ash; but there was no major disruption. Grimsvotn has never caused any major delays or cancellations to international air traffic — unlike the bigger Eyjafjallajokull eruption last year. The 2004 eruption and the one in 1998 both lasted around a week.

Authorities have set up a no fly zone over the volcano this evening. It stretches 120 nautical miles in all directions. There are no delays or cancellations to flights into and out of Iceland and international aviation is easily able to fly around the volcano zone.

A joklahlaup is expected some time tomorrow, whereby the pressure of melted water literally lifts the glacier to release a huge and sudden flood. Such events are usual when Grimsvotn erupts and south Iceland infrastructure is built to cope with it. Road closures are somewhat likely and can be followed on


Iceland Review
written by Staff
Saturday May 21, 2011

Grímsvötn volcano in the middle of Vatnajökull glacier is the most active volcano in Iceland. Since 1920 the eruptions have been in 1922, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1945, 1954, 1983, 1998 and 2004. Many of the eruptions have lasted from one to three weeks, the 2004 eruption lasted only four days.

Eruptions in Grímsvötn often lead to floods in Skeidará. In 1996 an eruption occurred in an area between Grímsvötn and Bárdarbunga, a mountain in Vatnajökull. The eruption lead to floods that washed away a bridge over a river. The extent was up to 67 cubic kilometers and the flow up to 40 thousand cubic meters per second.

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