Eruption in Grímsvötn appears to be over (hopefully correct this time around)

It appears that the eruption in Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall volcano is over or is about to end, but authorities in Iceland might not declare the eruption over until after next weekend. No ash plume has been observed for over 24 hours now from Grímsfjall volcano. Harmonic tremor pulses are still taking place in Grímsfjall volcano and it is still dangerous to get close to the eruption site. As explosion still take place in the eruption area and that makes going there dangerous. It is not only the area where the water is that is having explosions. There are also gas and explosions taking place in the crater rims and nearby area. According to news today Icelandic Met Office did stop recoding the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano around 07:00 UTC this morning (28. May 2011). But harmonic tremor pluses might still be taking place in Grímsfjall volcano. But the SIL stations around Grímsfjall volcano have now started to record background noise again, including the SIL station at Grímsfjall volcano.

Earthquake activity has continued at similar levels as before the eruption took place. I am not sure why that is. But this might indicate that Grímsfjall volcano has already started to prepare it’s next eruption. But when that might happen is a question that only time is going to answer. The main earthquake activity is currently taking place NW of Grímsfjall volcano, and SW of Grímsfjall volcano.

According to automatic GPS data it appears that Grímsfjall volcano has started to inflate again. This inflation appears to be rather rapid at current moment. But it appears to be close to 1mm/day inflation to the south and east. This means that new magma has already started to flow into Grímsfjall volcano magma chamber and magma system from greater depth. So far Grímsfjall volcano has not started to inflate upwards and it might be an while until that happens, as there might be enough space for the magma to move into inside Grímsfjall volcano.

Measurements of the volcano tephra that did fall, along with measurement of the volcano ash that did fall have recorded the depth up to 170 cm in some areas of Vatnajökull glacier even at distance of 8 km from the eruption site. This is going to create problem in the summer when it is dry and the wind blows this volcano ash around Iceland. But mostly in the areas that where closest to the main ash fall areas.

Update 1: According to news on Ví the Icelandic Coast Guard did see an plume with the hight of 1,5 km yesterday. This plume was however mostly made out of steam rather then volcano ash. The news about this can be found here, along with an picture of the plume. Here is an second news of this steam plume that was seen yesterday.

Update 2: According to news on Rúv there is small harmonic tremor being recorded. But most of the time, no harmonic tremors are being detected from Grímsfjall volcano. The Rúv news can be found here (Icelandic, Picture). It also has an new picture of the eruption crater. But this picture was taken around 10:00 UTC today (28. May 2011).

Icelandic News about this. Use Google translate on this for an risky translation.

Eldgosið mælist ekki lengur á jarðskjálftamælum (Ví, Icelandic)
Enginn gosmökkur í dag (From 27. May 2011, Rú, Icelandic)

Blog post updated at 19:11 UTC.
Blog post updated at 20:15 UTC.

67 Replies to “Eruption in Grímsvötn appears to be over (hopefully correct this time around)”

  1. Re Post

    I would really like to get an exact fix on where the Mila webcam for Grimsvotn is located. Chris in an earlier post suggested it was “located on Skeidarasandur, south of the ringroad on a telecommunication post”. If this is referring to the main highway just past Lomagnupur where the road takes you past a big tongue of the Vatnajokull Glacier, I can’t see it. I travelled along this road in 2006 (June) and in any direction you look north, you see Vatnajokull, Europes largest glacier. I can’t see the Glacier in the webcam, this looks to me that it is much higher up, on the glacier itself and much nearer Grimsvotn where the eruption has either melted the ice or covered it in ash. Vatnajokull is too big too disappear. The weather is clear right now and you get a good clean view (of what I am not sure), could be Grimsvotn, if so nothing is happening).
    Maybe the nice people at Mila will publish a map with Webcam location like they did with Eyja or mark on the webcam view where Grimsvotn is.

  2. Has there been any estimation of the size of the eruption in terms of volume of the tephra released?

  3. Doug down south:
    I think I might – I might! – have found the camera location on GoogleEarth, with some caveats:

    I should have turned the view a tiny bit more north and lower. That the left (or further away) part of the mountain looks higher on the cam but not on GoogleE might be due to perspective projection issues. It still buffles me how high the mast must be to get an overview like that. Could it be the right location? Pity there was nothing to see on the cam today due to the raindrops. Well, nothing to see of the volcano any longer anyway…

    1. Granyia and Doug:
      This morning I could clearly see the steam rising in the middle of the webcam’s frame. With a beautiful sunrise at the back.
      Don’t know if this information is of any help.

      1. I grabbed this screen shot of this morning’s sunrise.
        By then, the steaming had already ceased (it had been intermittent all night long), but you can still see the remainders of the plume moving to the right.
        A still shot doesn’t tell much, but I was glad because this was the first time I could really attest that the cam was pointing to the eruption.

      2. Im not sure Renato but this might well be the picture of the decade.

        There is no plume and no “action” but the title of the picture and the scenery almost made me cry, it was that beautiful. In all simplicity we need to remember the awesome power of our mother.
        Thank you Renato for this…It doesnt get any better…

  4. Whilst tremors appear to have settled, mostly, there looks to be harmonic tremor at Askja SIL. Jon – what do you make of it?

    1. I have seen this before. It might be micro-earthquakes not detected by other SIL stations. It is also chance that this is hydrothermal activity that the SIL station is picking up.

      What this is exactly I am not sure of. But I do not think that his are harmonic tremors from magma movements.

  5. “According to news on Rúv there is small harmonic tremor being recorded” … can you explain what this means?

    1. They appears to be recording small harmonic tremor in pulses. But this is most likely not constant harmonic tremor that they are recording. Because the eruption is over or close to it.

  6. All the questions before:

    – The camera cannot be located on the ring road, because from there you just see the edge of the glacier, you cannot see Grimsvotn/Grimfjall from there. This was a mysterious volcano that I never saw with my own eyes despite living in Iceland. It was during this eruption that by watching the first day ash column, that I could know where it was. I think you can only see the mountain that rises above the ice cap it if you go well inside the glacier, so the webcam must be located there. I might be wrong, the weather is often cloudy in South Iceland and it might be that with good visibility you can see the volcano peak from the road. My guess is that the camera is located in Grimsfjall, the only solid rock mountain rising above the ice cap (which belongs to the Grimsvotn volcano itself

    – Estimation of tephra released. According to Iceland news: First day 20.000 tons per second. Second day 2000 tons per second. Third day 100 tons per day. This is about 0.6 cu Km during the first day and 0.06 cu Km in the second day. Therefore, my very rough estimate puts the total amount around 0.66 cubic Km of tephra (corresponding to a VEI4 eruption).

    This is about the same as the Katla eruption of 1918! And well as two times more ash than the eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull 2010 and Hekla 1947. In fact, this eruption has released more ash than half of the eruptions of Katla since settlement!! Only few Katla eruptions released more ash than this one.

    As a comparison:
    Eldgjá/Katla 934: 5 cu Km tephra and 18 cu Km lava (VEI6)
    Hekla 1104: 1.2 cu Km (VEI5)
    Mount St Helens 1980: 1 cu Km (VEI5)
    Katla 1918: 0.7 cu Km (VEI4 or VEI5)
    Grimsvotn 2011: 0.66 cu Km (VEI4)
    Eyjafjallajokull 2010: 0.25 cu Km (VEI4)
    Hekla 1947: 0.21 cu Km (VEI4) and also 0.8 cu Km of lava

    So this eruption ranks as the strongest one in Iceland, since 1918, and not so many eruptions since settlement have been larger! (But some of these were far superior and far more devastating)

    1. The camera is definitely not located on the Vatnajökull. I don’t have the exact location, but what was told to me is bext to the river Gígja on the Skeidarasandur.

    2. If this is about the same as Katla, how come the effects in europe weren’t that bad, from Ireland and we’ve been told if Katla erupted Ireland would be severly effected and the ash would cover us for months… not saying I believe them , just curious and learning all about Volcanos. thanks 🙂

      1. It is very difficult to predict how vulcano eruptions on Iceland affect Europe. There are just too many variables, including:

        – amount of tephra
        – size of the ash particles
        – wind and precipitation
        – duration of the eruption

        Katla, I think, is feared because the eruptions can be quite strong and she (the vulcano :-)) produces a big ash plume which is going to last for many days or even weeks. Even if the overall ash production might be comparable with that of the recent Grimsvötn eruption, a long lasting ash plume is more likely to reach Europe. Especially if the ash particles are small. And with winds from the North or Northwest, Ireland and the Scottish hebrides are certainly not far away.

      2. I do remember during last years eruption of Eyjafjallunpronounceable, 🙂 we in Somerset did get some ash haze at ground level for a couple miles near Burnham-on-Sea which lasted around a couple hours. It gave me a tickly throat & had a sulphuous smell plus slight stinging of the eyes, the boss (who lives on the Quantock hills) had some light ashfall on his car, other than we only got some decent sunsets for a few nights. Goodness only knows what we may get if Katla goes. BTW as far as i know we got nothing here from Grimsvotn. Here (if they work) are a couple links to pics of those sunsets (just to show you guys what we got).

      3. We had a sulphurous smell for a few hours in Devon – relatibely near to you.

      4. Reply to Wurzeldave
        From Grimsvotn but it was only one evening – then it was gone.

  7. To rank the tephra eruptions since Iceland settlement:

    1- 1477 Bardarbunga/Veidivotn 10 cu km (+ 3 cu km lava)
    2- 934 Eldgjá/Katla 5 cu km (+ 18 cu km lava)
    3- 1362 Oraefajokull 2.3 cu km
    4- 1875 Askja 1.8 cu km
    5- 1755 Katla 1.5 cu km
    6- 1262 Katla 1.5 cu km
    7- 1104 Hekla 1.2 cu km
    8- 1625 Katla 1.2 cu km
    9- 1721 Katla 1.2 cu km
    10- 1783 Laki/Grimsvotn 0.9 cu km (+15 cu km lava)
    11- 1918 Katla 0.7 cu km
    12- 1357 Katla 0.7 cu km
    13- 2011 Grimsvotn 0.66 cu km !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (… several Katla eruptions)
    …- 1766 Hekla 0.3 cu km 8 (+ 2.4 cu km lava)
    …- 2010 Eyjafjallajokull 0.25 cu km
    …- 1947 Hekla 0.2 cu km (+ 0.8 cu km lava)
    …- 1727 Oraefajokull 0.1 cu km

    It might be that some historical eruptions are underestimated or unaccounted!!!!!
    I think this is particularly true for Bardarbunga and Grimsvotn eruption history.

    Also some Hekla eruptions have released more material than this eruption, but mostly in lava rather than tephra (included on the list).

    1. Please feel free Jon, if you want to use this top rank, for a future post of yours.
      I think it is nice for people to have an idea of the scale of this eruption.

  8. Maybe not.

    There is a 3 degree of magnitude of earthquake and solar flare just reach the M1 level.

    So we will see next 72 hours.

    1. On the solar flair scale M1 is an small one. It is not even on the list of solar flairs that are dangerous, it is that small.


      Solar flair is not going to have any effect on earthquakes or volcanoes. They might however damage your mobile phone, LCD tv, computers and other electronic stuff. We have documented cases from history on that subject,

      I hope that the solar flair earthquake connection nonsense is now laid to rest for the people how are currently reading this blog site.

      1. If i may add to that Jón… There is a form of (para/psuedo-?) science now investigating correlations between solar emissions, and changes to the magnetosphere and ionosphere here on earth. Corresponding to and regarding atmospheric pressures and energetic convections suggesting effects, that may influence tectonics and magma. (more to follow… if i dare). Although it’s in its infancy at the moment !

    2. Solar activity does affect Earth’s magnetic field and ionosphere, that is a scientifically proven fact. It is also a fact that solar eruptions (flares, CMEs, etc.) can be steered towards Earth, or to other directions. So, the final effects at Earth depend on strength and direction of the solar eruptions. Class C flares typically do nothing meaningful here, class M flares create typically beautiful auroras, and class X (and stronger) flares create historical displays of aurora and can break sensitive electronic equipment (like Jon said).

      Solar activity does not affect atmospheric pressures, as there is again no physical mechanism to do that. There is also no physical mechanism that can create a causal connection between solar activity and earthquakes here on Earth. The same applies also to planetary alignments vs. earthquakes.

      1. Jack@ Finland… I was hinting at “other atmospheres”, apologies i could of mentioned electromagnetics, with a bit of plasma fluid dynamics thrown in for good measure! Physical mechanism directly perhaps not, i agree. (for starters),has been useful in logging terrestrial events for comparison. Just a side line OT, i suppose at the moment.

      2. Logging terrestrial events… Yeah, the ones that fit your presumptions!

      3. Earth’s magnetic field or ionosphere does not form a Faraday’s cage around the Earth, as they are not grounded entities.

      4. A correction: The cage does not need to be grounded. Still, ionosphere is not a Faraday’s cage, although it leads to a very similar situation here down on Earth. The fundamental difference is, that a proper Faraday’s cage works “against” electric fields and electric charges (mostly free electrons). Ionosphere works “against” charged particles (e.g. protons, alpha particles, and other charged nuclides).

  9. @Daniel:
    Thanks to the time zone difference I am entitled to see those beauties from Iceland before Queen Mabe calls me back to my dreams.
    The rest is a right click on the mouse.
    Thanks for the compliment. 🙂

    1. It is background noise at Grímsfjall SIL station. But there seems to be extra hydrothermal activity being picked up there at the moment.

      In regards to Askja SIL station. This seems to be local to that SIL station. So I cannot tell what it is. But it might just be hydrothermal activity or some other type of noise on the SIL station.

      1. Could it be related to the ever ongoing seismic activity at Herðubreiðartögl? Although I guess Mokollar SIL and other stations should pick it up as well if this was the case.

        Or could it perhaps be from the possible dike intrusion NE of Askja you wrote about a while ago? Although that area seems to have stopped having earthquakes…

      2. It is impossible to know what this is. But while this is just on one SIL station I am going to ignore this on an larger scale for moment. As there is no progress in speculating what this might be when there are next to no data on what this might be.

        As for the dike intrusion in the NE part of Askja volcano it seems to have stopped for now. For the moment it seems that Askja volcano has quieted down an bit. How long that is going last is a good question.

  10. Just had a look at Jon’s link on update 2, very inreresting, traslating Icelandic into English using Google, that was something else!! (as is the norm.)
    Anyone remember the earthquake prediction in Turkey by a scientist a few years ago? He worked out where the stress from a previous earthquake had moved to & put out a warning & it happend not long afterwards, anyone think it could be applied to Icelands volcanoes?

    1. They can predict earthquakes today by estimating the stress using GPS data. Then they normally say that there is ?% chance of earthquakes over this period of years (normally 10 years, or 30 years or more). But that is as good as it gets when it comes to earthquakes predictions.

      1. Thanks Jon, so it’s pretty much a best guess… a bit like weather forcasts! (except earthquake prediction seem to be better!!) 🙂

      2. The closest technology that they have that can come anywhere near close to seeing the state of a volcanoes expansion is synthetic aperture radar. Those are the images that show you the inflation/deflation with multicolored bands on a satellite view or map.

        Relatively expensive and hard to find publicly available imagery that is of a timely basis. Usually you only see it in research papers.

        Even with that it’s still a roll of the dice.

  11. Seems like earthquake activity around krysuvik and askja are picking up again 🙂
    Lets see what happens 🙂


    1. Or. now Grimsvotn has quietened we can see them again distinct from background noise

  12. I just wanted to say that the latest volcano bulletin from Taal is interesting. There was 115 volcano related earthquakes during the last 24 hours. Also it has been reported in Swedish news that a lot of fish has died in Taal lake. Interestingly the news say nothing about the volcano, just that changes in temperature is to blame for the fish death.

  13. It sems there’s been a steady increase in the last 2 weeks of deeper, though small, quakes in different areas of the Katla caldera.

    We’re entering the warmer months now so I’ll be watching this volcano

    1. Yep, agree. Do you think that is why they place extra sensors around or is that why we are seen more EQ’S. Allot of them are 0.1 or even minus 0.1.

      A Friend who lives in norway, expects allot more mountains to be snow free in the summer months. I think that make things allot more active for Iceland if that happens. The snowline would be about 1800 meters

      1. I have several screenshots a little before writing the comment,
        a little later the send

      2. Okay that could be a steam cloud 😛
        Watched at a different moment then I guess..

  14. Does anyone have a clean screen shot from the Mila grimsvotn webcam showing the recent eruption?

  15. The increase I have noticed has occurred since the addition of those extra sensors, however, over say a 1-2 yr period, I would have to rely on a plot to gauge this, but my hunch is that we’ve seen a slow steady increase when comparing seasonal periods.

  16. Mattias, I had the same reaction. This volcano is very close to manila and populated outlying areas. I have talked to several people who live or have homes in Tagaytay City which overlooks Taal at its peak and they are getting more than a little concerned. Why? Tagaytay is up in Tagatay Ridge in some very hilly areas and has high rain fall comparitively. May to Nov is the typhoon season with very heavy rains. If Taal erupts and dumps a lot of ash on Tagaytay during typhoon/rain season, that means a lot of damaging mud. Tagaytay is know for tourism which supplies a high percent of its economy. If it gets smothered in ash and mud, it takes the premier upscale area outside of Manila and makes it underdesireable for tourism.

    Anyone up on Taal and the potential for an eruption?

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