Glacier flood has started from Gímsvötnum

Few hours ago a glacier flood started from Grímsvötnum. But it was only confirmed few moments ago. The flood noise can be seen on following SIL stations around Vatnajökull.

Grímsfjall (increased noise)
Kalafell (increased noise)

This glacier flood is expected to reach it’s peak in about 4 to 5 days. If this is a repeat of the year 2004 events a eruption should start in Grímsfjalli in about 1 to 4 days from now. But if that plays out exacly like the year 2004 eruption remains to be seen. GVP has the eruption history of Grímsfjall here.

This glacier flood starts on the exact day as it did in the year 2004.

Icelandic news. Please use Google Translate.

Hlaup er hafið í Grímsvötnum (Rú
Hlaup í Grímsvötnum hafið (
Hlaup hafið í Grímsvötnum (Ví

45 Replies to “Glacier flood has started from Gímsvötnum”

  1. Okay… correct me if I am wrong.

    Grímsvötn heats up due to magmatic intrusion. The ice melts and overfills the lake. Which is still under several megatons/megatonnes of ice.

    The water eventually breeches it’s confinement and floods out.

    The loss of water mass lowers the confining pressure and more melt can form. Overlying rocks have less assistance from the ice at retaining whatever pressure is built up.


    That about it?

    1. LurkMan, same scenario as the 2004 eruption.

      I wonder if we are going to make history by having Grimsvotn erupt and then another eruption from another large volcano within the same year with Katla and Heckla on the same fizzure and both appearing to be pregnant in their last trimester. Also was wondering about the effect any eruption at Grimsvotn will have on adjacent Loki which has been seismicaly active.

      My Mom flies to Germany in Feb 2011. I told her not to worry about this one.

      1. So there where some flight issues due (delays, canceled flights etc..) to the last eruption in Grímsfjall (Grímsvötn). We are going to see how this goes if the eruption happens this time around.

  2. We’re living in interesting times, to say the least.

    ( and why has a day only 24 hours, and why dow e need to sleep?)

  3. I was about to write here late on Friday (looking at tremor on GRF): If there were no storm going on, I’d say Grimsfjäll is about to erupt in 1-2 weeks. My assumption was due to the fact, that a similar linear rise in tremor started on Friday, that Jon used to demonstrate tremor before an eruption (see post

    1. This part of Iceland is unpopulated. There are few farms in the area. But they are save from the glacier flood.

      But they might get affected by ash fall if the wind goes in the direction of the farms in that area.

      1. It’s soon to know the magnitude of eruption isn’t it? You think it will lower or bigger then the eli…?

      2. Well, sometimes the pressure beneath a volcano can be measured and if it’s far above regular eruption levels. (like Merapi earlier this month)
        But I don’t think that’s the case right now, also because the last eruption was only 4 years ago, that’s quite a short time to build up pressure within a volcano in order to have an unusual large eruption.

  4. Jón, thanks for the information! Keep us updated with the activity, please!
    I have almost forgot about the google translations from Icelandic to Hungarian was so silly. Google translates much better from Indonesian (ok, that is a much less complicated language than Icelandic), but these Icelandic articles always make me laugh when I read them translated by google. 🙂
    If a subglacial eruption comes this time of the year at the beginning of winter cyclone activity I think the floods would be quite bad… :-((

  5. @Lurking from other thread, thanks for the TNT explaination. I do remember now the talk about Big Macs and quake energy. 🙂

    Now about this flood and the possibility of eruption. Are there any other signs of an eruption being close to happening besides the flood? Are the quakes getting more numerous? I took a look at the links and from what I gather, it will not be too long before an eruption begins. This is another interesting situation to watch.

    Thank you, Jon for your blog.

    1. Diane N CA. If your in So Calif I would trust you are well stocked up on emergency supplies, water, etc and carry a 2-4 week supply in your car if you drive more than 10 miles from home. I worry more about So. Calif. (referring to recent posts from Lurking and myself)

      1. RonF, I have gone though the threads to see if I could pick up on what you and Lurking were talking about. I am way far away from the intersection of the San Jacinto-Elsinor-San Andreas, etal, faults in S CA. I do live closer to the SAF in the north, but I am still about 90-100 miles from it. One thing about the quake activity in the south is that it is due mostly to after-shocks from the Baja quake and also what I call backgound noise. And there is another fault to be concerned with: the Garlock Fault. It is a major fault and it is capable of causing a good sized quake. I don’t know the last time it moved, but I know it can create some havoc. S CA is riddled with faults. I discussed with a seizmologist about a theory John McPhee had that eventually the Sea of Cortez will end up in Nevada and he told me that was true, but it would take millions of years. The Baja quake was part of that opening up of that line. The swarm that was near the CA/NV border a month ago or so was also opening up of part of Death Valley. I think that it is also part of this system that is opening up again. The Salton Sea was, at one time, connected to the Sea of Cortez and a Spanish ship (more like a small boat) did sail up into the Salton Sea area and has given rise to the idea that there is a buried ship out there in the desert somewhere. Yeah, there will be quake down there as there have been, but I am not too afraid of that. Where I live is more prone to wildfires. Another reason to have a “grab and run” pack handy.

      2. Amen on the Garlock fault (GF) aka Barstow Fault. My brother is a geologist and tells me that there are many seismologists that are quite concerned of the interaction between the GF and the SAF and the implications for So Calif – major infrastructure damage and isolation. I’ll find my earlier post about this and put it here.

  6. @RonF, I am in Northern CA. Why are you saying I should be stocked up on food and such? I don’t see any eruptions happening here. Now quakes are another issue. I just would like to know your reasoning.

    1. Though I still think the jury is out on it, the fact that the faults in SoCal seem to be a bit slow in settling down after the Mex 7.2.

      Now that a few more moderate sized event’s have occurred North of the Yuha Wells fault (pretty much the demarcation point, transverse to the Elsinore/Laguna Saluda), the possibility of something less than fortunate seems to be bit more probable than usual.

      That plus all of SoCal relies on imported water and there are gobs of people there.

    2. Ooops, my oversight. I didn’t connect the “N” with northern.

      But we all should worry about the So Cal quakes potental economic damage to the U.S. via Calif.

  7. i got to see a huge water outpouring from Eyjafjallajökull during it’s eruption….
    It came right out of the ice tunnel(straight out like a fire hose) and appoximally covered a fourth of the ‘split stone’. It was gone in a moment but later after i watched a tv show showing people next to the cayons i realized the magnitude of the flow.
    Couldn’t find a film of it….. Anyway the outpouring of water from these Icelandic Volcanoes are stupendous….
    Hope these next ones get captured on film……….. (safely)
    Head nod to Jon for calling this activity.


    1. Good evening everyone! Yes, I recall having heard by the time of Eyjaf’s flooding it had a discharge comparable to Mississipi’s and the Amazon’s altogether.

      1. Really?

        Mississippi flows at about 7,000–20,000 m³/s and the Amazon is 200,000 m³/s in the wet season.

        That would be pretty high. Was this an instantaneous rate?

      2. I read that the actual flood has something around 3000 m³/sec. The floods at Eyjafjallajökull had a maximum flow of 1000 m³/sec (if I remember correctly), the 1996 flood of Grimsvötn peaked at 50.000 m³/sec. But we haven’t yet reached the peak…

      3. Maybe I am confusing this information with that flow from Vatnajökull, not sure.

      4. I can believe an instantaneous rate of that level, I was just curious of the source.

        Do note the terrain of the flood plain downstream of the glacial tongues. Wide, flat, somewhat featureless. It doesn’t get that way from a trickle.

  8. Guys, I regret posting an information without being able to show the source.
    During Eyjaf’s eruption we had many TV shows and documentaries on Icelandic issues and I clearly remember my astonishment when I heard this comparison (wouldn’t have made any difference if they had just mentioned figures), since from what I know, only the mention of one of those rivers could have seemed absurd to me. But later again I clearly heard it repeated, but Chris maybe right, it could have been related to Vatnajökull.

    1. No sweat, like you I was a bit incredulous. Upon further reflection it became clear that when looking at instantaneous values, it’s entirely possible. Until I lived in Florida, I would have thought that 4″ to 6″ of rain in 30 minutes was impossible. But I’ve seen it happen more than once. (usually makes a mess)

  9. Or they meant a possible Katla Eruption? While the Katla eruption 1918 there was a flood from Mydralsjökull with 200.000m³/sec.

  10. @Lurking @Diana: Could be. Or maybe I heard it in English Mississipi OR Amazon rivers. Whatever, we don’t want to see it happen again. I’ll be glad if we could have more fireworks, peacefully, but such will not likely to be the case with Grimsvötn or Katla.

  11. Diane- I and my wife lived on the Southern Oregon coast, we lived very near the Ocean in Port Orford. I sympathize too, about that \grab and go \pack, we still have ours.l ived near the woods in Coos Bay, Or. to, in a development that REQUIRED shake roof homes. Being an old Aerial Firefighter I could not believe it. We were up against a time constraint so we bought there. Now I live in NE Oregon, with a metal roof comp concrete siding an brick trim. Also a mile or so of more or less stable basalt underneath gives me great comfort unlike that Juan De Fuca plate off the coast..

    1. T. G. McCoy, you have a lot of guts to be an arial firefighter. I just want to thank you for your service.

      Shake roofs?! They have no sense. It is like the Tahoe fire a couple of years ago or so. The powers that be wouldn’t let the people clean up the pine needles around their homes! Enter fire. The guy that ran the water company lost his home and he said they needed to rethink the regulations. Yah think?!! When I moved to the home I am in now, I cleaned out the dead stuff between me and one of my neighbors and the wife was worried about the loss of privacy and her husband told me that stuff between the homes wasn’t that important. I think I have an understanding of fires better than that. I have also cleaned my property of as much dead stuff as I could. We have manzanita. It burns very hot. So does the mountain misery. We have had some bad fires up here since I moved here and I really need to get that “grab and run” pack ready. One thing people can do is grab all their dirty laundry in addition to important papers. At least you can go to a laundromat.

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