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Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano erupts

Posted by feww on May 22, 2011

Grímsvötn volcano, Iceland’s most active, has started erupting

A large plume of smoke and ash was ejected to a height of about 20km above the volcano.

The explosive eruption, which occurred at 17.30UTC on Saturday May 21, 2011, has been described as very powerful.

Grímsvötn is Iceland’s most active volcano and had previously erupted  in November 2004.

A Map of Iceland Volcanoes. Click image to enlarge.

Iceland’s Met Office Report

“Eruptions in Grímsvötn start as subglacial eruptions, which quickly break the ice cover. At 21:00 UTC, the eruption plume had risen to an altitude of over 65,000 ft (~20 km). Initially, the plume is expected to drift to the east and subsequently to the north. Thus, the ash is not expected to impact aviation in Europe, at least not during the first 24 hours.”


Eruption cloud from Grímsvötn volcano at 22:00 UTC May 21st 2011 captured by Icelandic met Office Weather Radar located at Keflavik International Airport located about 220 km from the volcano. The eruption cloud covers a large section of Vatnajökull ice cap.

Grímsvötn: “A very powerful volcano”

“Grimsvotn is a very powerful volcano, so we’re monitoring it closely, even if the last few eruptions have been harmless,” University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson told Morgunbladid.

“We do not expect this to be a big one as it’s coming from the same crater as the last three eruptions, which were all small.”

‘Not Like Last Year

“It can be a big eruption, but it is unlikely to be like last year,” Icelandic Met Office geologist Hjorleifur Sveinbjornsson told Reuters, referring Eyjafjallajokull.

Lots of Ash

“A lot of ash has been falling around the Vatnajokull glacier and nearby towns this evening. It is expected to continue through the night and maybe into tomorrow, according to Icelandic Met Office geologist, Hjorleifur Sveinbjornsson. The ash is much coarser than that which came from Eyjafjallajokull last year.” IceNews reported.

Aviation Threat

Isavia civil aviation authority has imposed a 120 nm  flight ban around the volcano, a spokesman said. “We have closed the area until we know better what effect the ash will have.”


Grímsvötn volcano erupts producing a mushroom cloud of smoke and ash. Frame grabs from video clip by Icelandic National TV station RÚV.

Probability of Eruption: April 2010 Forecast

Bárðarbunga (1903) and neighboring Grímsvötn (2004) – probability of eruption: 84 percent

Related Links

2 Responses to “Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano erupts”

  1. Elyse B. said

    [Thank you for kind words. Moderator]

  2. Flaijers said

    Grímsvötn eruption in Iceland, 2011. Day 1.

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