Iceland on watch for new volcano eruption

Reuters:

Meltwater is flooding from the Grimsvotn glacial lake in Iceland and could signal the volcano underneath is about to erupt, a spokeswoman at the Icelandic Civil Protection Department told Reuters on Monday.

Water now pouring from Iceland’s biggest glacier, Vatnajokull, which sits on top of a number of volcanic hotspots, could be a sign of fresh geological activity, Civil Protection Department spokeswoman Gudrun Johannesdottir told Reuters.

In April, clouds of ash from an eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier grounded flights across Europe for a week, causing billions of dollars in losses for airlines and other industries. Eyjafjallajokull is about 100 km southeast of Vatnajokull.

“We have to check if there will be an eruption,” Johannesdottir said. “Sometimes it initiates an eruption when a glacial outburst flood starts, but not every the time. So we are monitoring the situation closely.”

The latest eruption at Grimsvotn, in 2004, caused short-term disruptions to airline traffic into Iceland.

 

Smoke from a subglacial volcanic eruption rises above the Vatnajökull ice cap (file photo by Oddur Sigurdsson)

 

 

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One Response to “Iceland on watch for new volcano eruption”

  1. Iceland volcano watch stands down « The k2p blog Says:

    […] The earlier concern about meltwater flooding from the Grimsvotn glacial lake in Iceland which could have signalled that the volcano underneath was about to erupt has subsided. Figure 1. The jökulhlaup from Grímsvötn: image vedur.is The jökulhlaup (glacial outburst flood) from Grímsvötn that began near the end of October is now coming to an end. The flood reached a maximum level shortly after noon on November 3, and scientists from IMO visited the site on that day to study the effects of the flood on the region adjacent to the ice margin. Two IMO technicians have performed regular discharge measurements on the bridge over the river Gígjukvísl throughout this week (Figure 1) and the results from their measurements are shown in Figure 2. Figure 2. Discharge (m3/s) measurements at Gígjukvísl bridge: From the curve the total amount of floodwater is estimated 0.45 km3 The discharge curve is typical for jökulhlaups from Grímsvötn that do not result from volcanic activity: Over the course of several days, the amount of water flowing through an ice tunnel at the glacier bed steadily increases. Loss of frictional heat from the floodwater causes melting of the tunnel walls, thereby increasing the flow capacity of the tunnel. […]

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