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Posts Tagged ‘Grímsvötn’

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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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

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Iceland’s Bárdarbunga May Be Erupting

Posted by feww on April 20, 2010

Fire Earth Moderators Believe Iceland’s Bárdarbunga May Be Erupting or is about to Erupt.

If our long-distance assessment is correct, the next eruption at Bárdarbunga/ Grímsvötn or any of the other 6 volcanoes listed below could spell a major disaster for Iceland.

Iceland seismic record for the past 48 hours shows 7  separate cluster of quakes in the vicinity of the following volcanoes (See image below)

  1. Kolbeinsey ridge (Last erupted: 1999)
  2. Krafla (1984)/ Theistareykjarbunga (< 1000 BC)/ Tjörnes fracture zone (1868)
  3. Askja (1961)
  4. Bárðarbunga (1903) and neighboring Grímsvötn (2004)
  5. Grímsnes (> 3500 BC)
  6. Reykjanes (1879)
  7. Eyjafjallajökull (Currently ongoing)

Bárdarbunga, one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, is a massive volcano with a  700-m-deep caldera which lies beneath the NW Vatnajökull icecap.  A fissure eruption at Thjorsarhraun produced about 21 km³ of lava, the largest known Holocene lava flow on the planet.

Powerful eruptions may occur among the volcanoes lying along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The plate tectonics could also translate into increased seismicity along the divergent plate boundary and boundaries of neighboring plates.

Source: Iceland Met Office. © Veðurstofa Íslands

Original Caption:  Map showing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge splitting Iceland and separating the North American and Eurasian Plates. The map also shows Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, the Thingvellir area, and the locations of some of Iceland’s active volcanoes (red triangles), including Krafla.

The consequences of plate movement are easy to see around Krafla Volcano, in the northeastern part of Iceland. Here, existing ground cracks have widened and new ones appear every few months. From 1975 to 1984, numerous episodes of rifting (surface cracking) took place along the Krafla fissure zone. Some of these rifting events were accompanied by volcanic activity; the ground would gradually rise 1-2 m before abruptly dropping, signaling an impending eruption. Between 1975 and 1984, the displacements caused by rifting totaled about 7 m.  Source: USGS.

Original Caption: Aerial view of the area around Thingvellir, Iceland, showing a fissure zone (in shadow) that is an on-land exposure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Right of the fissure, the North American Plate is pulling westward away from the Eurasian Plate (left of fissure). This photograph encompasses the historical tourist area of Thingvellir, the site of Iceland’s first parliament, called the Althing, founded around the year A.D. 930. Large building (upper center) is a hotel for visitors. (Photograph by Oddur Sigurdsson, National Energy Authority, Iceland. Source: USGS.

Continued …

Related Links – Fire-Earth entries on Eyjafjallajökull and other useful  sources:


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Posted in Bárdarbunga volcano, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North American plate, rifting, Thingvellir | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »