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Archive for May 24th, 2011

Grímsvötn Eruption – Recent Images

Posted by feww on May 24, 2011

Ash Cloud Heads Toward UK, Grounds Flights

The towering column of smoke and ash registered a height of about 13km earlier today.

All flights to and from Scotland have been cancelled as a large volcanic ash cloud produced by Grímsvötn in Iceland heads toward the UK.

Airlines including BA, KLM, Aer Lingus, Loganair and Eastern Airways have cancelled flights on Tuesday, and several flights over the Atlantic were reportedly delayed. Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated from Iceland’s national parks.


“[There were now] much more robust systems [in place to] minimize the disruptive effect [of volcanic ash clouds,]” the UK transport secretary Philip Hammond told BBC news.

“Most importantly, the basic situation now is that the threshold for most aircraft is 20 times where it was last year. We have got from 200 microgrammes per cubic metre to 4,000 microgrammes per cubic metre as the threshold up to which most aircraft can fly.”

Grímsvötn Volcano Erption – freeze frame from recent video clip.

Volcanic Ash Advisory from London – Issued graphics
© Crown copyright –

Grímsvötn Volcano. Photo-like image captured by MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite at 13:00 UTC (1:00 pm local time) on May 22, 2011. Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge. Download largest image (1 MB, JPEG)  

Ash plume from Grímsvötn Volcano, Iceland. Satellite: Aqua. Dated May 22, 2011 at 05 :15 UTC. Pixel size: 1km. Source: NASA/rapidfire.  Alternate pixel size: 500m | 250m

Grímsvötn Volcano

Summit Elevation: 1,725 m  (5,659 feet)
Latitude: 64.42°N  (64°25’0″N)
Longitude: 17.33°W  (17°20’0″W)

The Laki Fissure. The most prominent of a series of fissures extending NE and SW from Grímsvötn central volcano is the noted Laki (Skaftár) fissure, which trends vertically across the photo SW of Grímsvötn. Laki produced the world’s largest known historical lava flow during an eruption in 1783.  Photo by Sigurdur Thorarinsson (courtesy of Richard Williams, U.S. Geological Survey). Caption: GVP

The 1783-84 Deadly Eruption

The Grímsvötn volcanic system erupted from a 130-crater fissure in the Grímsvötn volcanic system called Laki or Lakagígar fissure, and Grímsvötn volcano for 244 days  (8 June 1873 to 7 February 1784), spewing at least 15km³ of basaltic lava, world’s largest and deadliest volcanic eruption, causing widespread damage to crops and destroying more than a half of Iceland’s livestock (including 85 percent of the sheep), and leading to a severe famine that resulted in the loss of about quarter of the Icelandic population.

The emission of sulfuric aerosols from Lakagígar eruption is said to have caused a drop in global temperatures, resulting in crop failures in Europe, droughts in India and China, as well as a severe famine in Japan, killing an estimated six million people  globally.

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