Eruption in Grímsfjall volcano is over

According to the news at the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano did end at 07:00 UTC on the 28. May 2011. But that was when the last harmonic tremor was seen on Icelandic Met Office SIL stations.

There is an lot of volcano as in the area around Grímsfjall volcano. That means it is going to blow easy with the wind in the dry summer.

According to GPS data from Icelandic Met Office. It seems that inflation has started at Grímsfjall volcano again. But it can be assumed that it is going to take several years until next eruption. But if that is going happen we just have too see.

Morgunblaðið news about the end of the eruption.

Goslokin sett klukkan 7 á laugardag (, Icelandic)
Grímsvatnagosinu lokið (, Icelandic)
Gosinu lokið (Rú, Icelandic)

88 Replies to “Eruption in Grímsfjall volcano is over”

  1. Regarding GPS data, though, it has to be said that if we extrapolate a trend here:

    we can see that East and North deformation would reach pre-eruption values in less than 6 months of time. It could however be that these fast changes are only a short-term ground reaction to a recent dyke intrusion and that it will taper off logarithmically by a few weeks of time before resuming normal deformation trends.

  2. Interesting, we should have plenty of fun in Iceland to come – Iceland Review online today says that activity at G. should peak around mid-century in a cycle of increased activity. Still time to plant more cameras!

  3. I was wondering, could it be that a geothermal area has formed beneath Eyjafjallajokull? Considering the ongoing steaming. I am aware of the fact that lava cools slowly, but the amount of steam that is being produced sometimes appears to fluctuate, and not only decrease. (which would be expected if it was only caused by cooling lava)

  4. I think humans have lived through a quite time and are biggest problem is if things were to change i don’t think humans could cope with a big disaster, and i have heard experts say that it will happen sometime. Maybe we are starting to see an active time starting to appear i hope we wont see this but you never know. Sorry for sounding gloomy tonight but you would have to agree how would we cope with a disaster. Especially when you look at what happened with an eruption that occured in Iceland in 2010 and flights were grounded

    1. Humans continually expand to the limits of a system to support them. The main driving force for change over the last 10,000 years has been advances in technology. But there are plenty of things that could derail our ability to support our current population. Peak oil. Aquifers running out of water. Climate change (manmade or otherwise). Worldwide food crisis. Massive solar storms that fry fry the planet’s electrical grid. Asteroid strikes. And of course major volcanic eruptions.
      Sooner or later, one of these will happen. We can prepare, though. Abundant alternative energy could prevent or minimize at least the first four possibilities. Technology and telescopes could stop an asteroid. Solar flares and volcanoes won’t be stopped by technology, but the right advances could help us minimize the damage or clean up afterwards.

      The only question is: Which will happen first? The technology or the disaster?

      Based on human history, I’d say the disaster will happen first.

      But hey, I’m just a conspiracy theorist or something. Don’t listen to me. Besides, it probably won’t happen in our lifetimes, so why worry about it?

      1. You’ve missed some biology classes in highschool. When an ecosystem, in this case the world, reaches it’s maximum capacity it will automatically reduce the population to a level which is optimal for the specie to live in. This is called negative feedback

        This happens in all ecosystems, and my best guess would be that during the next decades we will increasingly see large epidemics and pandemics as a result of people living close to eachother.

      2. Sorry for beeing so very off topic Jon, but I really have to respond to Pieters reply.

        Here goes:
        You’re beeing awfully rude, but I’m gonna ignore that and not sink to the same level.

        This is global and not just Kenya. Sure, some countries like Serbia and Japan is having a negative trend, but that’s just a tiny fraction of what Brazil, India, Nigeria, Irak, Madagascar and a few more (actually not just a few) produce.
        Whilst I can agree on your belief that we will not be entirely extinct, I do believe that our need for more and more resources will obliterate most of our eco-systems and therefore make it very hard for us to adapt.

        It has already gone way too far! Look how other animals than humans are getting hit by this exponentially growing human population.
        Just look at madagascars history, the Amur leopards future, or the extinction of the Baiji dolphin.

        I can only hope humans will be enlightened, take more responsibility and not have more than two kids per family.

      3. Populations in the parts of the world are in fact declining. This mostly applies to Europe and the U.S/Canada.

        I don’t expect that the Earth population is going to grow more then 8 billion people. Because by then the nature is going to step in some form or other.

        But this is not exactly the purpose of this blog here to discuss the human population.

    2. Here in the UK a disaster is when an inch of snow falls!! 😀 (just to lighten the mood)

    3. If solar storms fry our electronics, it’s not a disaster, it’s a technological setback. When Eyjafjallajökull erupted last year, it was again only a technological setback. But if an asteroid hits massively killing living creatures here on Earth, that’s a disaster. Or if a supervolcano erupts with >VEI7, that’s a disaster. Or, a superbug starts to harvest human race, that’s a disaster. Or, a supernova or gamma-ray burst fries the Earth with high-energy radiation that ends the tale of a blue planet, again that’s a disaster.

      Humans have a remarkable ability to adapt to changes in the environment. Technology has enchanced and speeded up that ability, but at the same time it has made us more vulnerable to our environment. Especially people living in cities are far too reliant on technology to survive. The general underlying problem is that the human race has not experienced a true disaster after the last ice age. Hence there is no recorded experience of the survival.

      In case a true disaster hits, I’d expect most of the people to die pretty soon simply due to the fact they do not know what to do.

  5. All I can say is, “That was quick!”
    Is the eruption really over in that short of a time?
    Give me a month without activity, and I’ll trust that it’s done.

  6. I hope that people now go up to the crater, to take pictures and post them on the Internet, please 😉
    I have only seen a small number of small size pictures up to now. I would love to see how it all looks away from the crater before the snow covers up the cooling ash.

    1. Rustynailer:
      I will try to locate the link to one spectacular video taken from the ash cloud and all the lightening taking place in it. Maybe someone could help over here.
      Oh, yeah, there are stunning images, we must reach them for you.

      1. Sorry, reading back your comment I suppose that you meant images from the day after. I think we can help you with that too. There are so many links in my bookmarks that I’ll need sometime to locate the right ones.

  7. I must confess a tiny bit of disappointment regarding Grimsvötn eruption.
    Although it was a huge, one-in-a-century event, it all happened so fast! We hardly had the time to figure out where the cams were pointing to. And then again, from the heavy ashfall, there was little to be seen.
    When the adrenaline was picking up, especially reading the comments by Irpsit, Chris and other friends from Iceland, it was already it. (So many thanks for the thrilling comments).
    I was preparing myself to get again into the “Eyjafjallajökull’s mood”: it was great fun to spend nights in a row just watching it go…
    But this one was cancelled too early.
    Well, Iceland is an awesome country, and I am sure that we will be witnessing many other interesting events together once again.
    Many thanks to Jón to allow us to do so.
    Oh yes, and many thanks to Mila for providing us with webcams to enjoy the show: one of the highlights of my excitement was seeing the column of ash approaching Jökulsárlón and the ice getting black when the ash started to fall. That was unforgettable, no doubt about that. 🙂

    1. Remember some volcanoes are more photogenic by default as well as depending on prevailing weather at the time. Vatnajökull doesn’t see a lot of cloudless days due to it being a massive glacier that works like a sink that captures moisture in the air. And Grimsvötn is in the middle of it…

      One thing is sure though, and that’s the advent of evolution of remote censoring technologies. Better bandwidth and better camera’s will mean more accurate and fast information flowing out to the world 🙂 I hope we can get HD video with IR for night time and low visibility weather as well in the future.

  8. Re post

    Does anyone have a good clear screen shot they can share from the Mila webcam of Grimsvötn whilst erupting?


  9. What is IMO doing with the Grimsvotn tremor plot? It was OK earlier, then a version was put up which ended on 25th May with nothing beyond. Their other vatnajokull plot also suddenly ended it 25th May too. Now they have put it back properly at the moment. It seems to be rising quite fast, but probably just the upward phase of it’s typical normal peaks and troughs – unless it keep climbing at that rate or course.

  10. Biggish earthquake in Tjornes Fracture Zone – I doubt it is volcanic though.

    31.05.2011 04:16:31 66.284 -18.494 12.7 km 3.3 99.0 16.0 km NW of Gjögurtá

    1. This is just normal earthquake rates in Katla. But Katla always has earthquakes, but that is different from many volcanoes in Iceland that don’t have any earthquakes before they just start erupting.

  11. Tremor is rising a bit again at Grimsvotn butI guess it is likely to creep back down again as easily as it is going up. It normally does go up and down.

    1. Thanks Chris for pointing it out! Two things that struck me while watching it was how repetitive the areas of quakes were and how few eruptions (five if you count Fim+Eyja as one) there were in spite of all that activity. Lesson learnt – earthquakes are not a reliable guide nor a predictive tool for where and when volcanic eruptions will occur. That video would be very interesting to watch if split in three; one showing shallow (hydrothermal, 0 – 4.5 km depth) quakes only, the other the deep ones (>4.5 km) and the third having all tectonic quakes removed.

      1. And there are actually only three volcanoes included: Hekla, Grimsvötn and Eyjafjallajökull.

      2. I was to fast with the post button: Write to the guys and assk them, if the can at least seperate the deep and shallow ones.

  12. Renato, thank you for thinking of me and my longing to see Grímsfjall with as little snow as possible.
    Those lucky people, who I believe went there on an expedition at weekend must have some cool shots, no doubt they will surface sooner or later on the web.

    I am going to have a good look on the net, if I find some big pictures of the freshly erupted craters I will post a link.

      1. Hard to know for sure. But that seems to be the case. But it appears that magma is actually pushing into Esjufjöll volcano for some time now. But it is currently unknown if that is going to start eruption in nearby future. But there was an small eruption in Esjufjöll volcano in the year 1920. That eruption lasted one or two days they think. But it was large enough to create minor ash cloud and start an glacier flood into Jökulsárlón lake.

        But so far the activity is too low for that to happen at current time.

  13. I think next one might be Hekla.
    And probably between now and end of next year.

    This is based in the high speculation of Hekla recent cycle of 10 years between eruptions.
    But volcanoes are known to not to be trusted upon relying in possible patterns.

    Hekla eruptions are mostly lava-based and recently have been rather small.

    1. This ten-year “cycle” is based on four decades, eruptions taking place in 1971, 1980 (and 1981), 1990 and 2000. Before that Hekla erupted in 1947, 1913 and 1878. So I don’t understand this “Hekla is overdue because of the ten year cycle” talks.

      1. for me… i understand it…after living in that area since 1981 when i was born. For all my life she is on the 10 year cycle…. so why not again? But of course there is a possibility of she will take longer rests…

      2. If I present statistics with only four data points to my boss (with one eruption which actually doesn’t fit this 10 year cycle: 1981) he will ask me, if i am serious about this. And he would be right.
        So I find it very hard to draw these conclusions.

      3. Based on no knowledge at all, I put my money on Katla.
        I know it’s overdue according to the recent cycle but that’s about it.

      4. Katla is “due”, Hekla is “due”, there is/was a lot of seismicity at Askja/Krisuvik.
        Nobody knows, there could be a complete surprise, something like Eldey

      5. But that bet is assuming Grimvotn is really over – I’m not yet convinced – tremor is rising at the moment. Eyjafjallajökull appeared finished when Fimmvörðuháls finished, but then it started again with the bigger eruption which caused air traffic problems in Europe. In fact, my bet is on Grimsvotn not being fully over yet – it is too fidgety still.

      6. I did check with Icelandic Met Office on the harmonic tremor. The reason why they are just getting higher on Grímsfjall SIL station is due to traffic at Grímsvötn for the moment.

      7. Err! Are there lots of cars in the middle of Vatnajökull now? Please explain???? – and now it is climbing faster at this moment. Are there more and more cars starting to circle in Vatnajökull so the traffic is growing?

      8. “For all my life she is on the 10 year cycle”

        Nothing personal… but people tend to think of ancient history as anything that occurred before they were born.

        Using the Hekla’s eruptive history from

        Mean=128.689, Standard Deviation=130.941, Skewness=2.05998

        This is based of of tephrochronology, historical records, and corrected radiocarbon dating. (C-14 production isn’t always constant)

        Now… trying to keep a little sanity in it, while looking at “just the recent history” and going back to the last ten eruptions, that average moves to:
        Mean=26, Standard Deviation=23.5531, Skewness=1.03494

        That means that about 64% of the time, Hekla will erupt within a 2.4 to 49.6 year window from it’s last eruption… provided that the Gaussian distribution thing applies.

        (Using repose intervals back to 1845)

        That doesn’t mean that Hekla won’t go off in the next hour. Hekla tends to pop with little warning. I think the last one gave about 20 minutes warning for anyone standing on the summit. The quakes only crossed the threshold of something that you could feel that long before the eruption.

        Dunno about you, but I don’t think that I could scamper down a mountain in 20 minutes.

      1. I think they were just normal cumulus clouds evolving into cumulonimbus clouds.

  14. The Grimsfall tremor graph appears to be on a sharp escalation at the moment; more that could be attributed to cars, visitors and traffic IMHO.

    I hope there are not too many people up there just in case she goes ‘pop’ again. Ask tremor pattern has not yet settled to pre-eruption levels yet either, but what that means, I have no idea.

    1. The last few measurements look like an instrument fault though – similar to when recording stops.

  15. Yes, still going up. I do not believe the IMO traffic cause theory. I think it might be something going on in Askja/Herðurbreiðarfjöll area that is being picked up – or maybe it is Grimsvotn again.

    Which is the nearest tremor station to Herðurbreiðarfjöll?

    1. Changed my mind – I think it is Grimsvotn still not settled yet. The tremor seems centred further south than Herðurbreiðarfjöll or askja.

  16. If the inflation trend given here ( ) has been going on ever since it’s latest eruption, the inflation would currently be 30.5cm relative to the situation just after the 2000 eruption. That is rather large if you know that Grimsvotn had about 35cm inflation before this eruption. I think the pressure for Hekla to erupt is present, and it will probably just a matter of time (days? months? years?) before the next eruption.

    1. The great differences in strain are due to human activity and hydrothermal installations I believe, not completely sure though. 🙂

  17. three earthquakes at baroarbunga today. Largest at 2.2 mag and depth 1.7.
    Could mean some magma is moving up and filling the magma chamber for a future eruption at that volcano or maybe it could also be a a start to a earthqauke swarm which lead to a eruption soon. I am only guessing right now .

  18. While checking page for status of inflation at Katla, I noticed Katla has inflated with some 10-20 mm during the last half a year.

    It seems this inflation occurs very deep as it causes upward movement within a quite large area, something like twice the diameter of the main caldera. If calculated using 35 km diameter, 10 mm uplift equals to 0,01 km3 accumulated volume within a year (equal to VEI2-VEI3 if erupted violently). However, I do not know how much is already there, but to me it seems Katla is not going to start her dance soon… I may be wrong, though.

    1. While I was writing this, 3 pretty quakes hit the area!

      02.06.2011 18:53:30 63.656 -19.169 1.1 km 3.1 83.37 4.4 km ENE of Goðabunga
      02.06.2011 18:47:13 63.762 -19.516 10.8 km 2.5 90.01 9.6 km N of Básar
      02.06.2011 18:47:09 63.653 -19.195 0.0 km 2.3 90.05 3.1 km ENE of Goðabunga

  19. I did just record one earthquake on my geophone, where this earthquake did appear clearly. This was an earthquake different from those that I have seen from the Goðabungu area. It is was normal tectonic earthquake from the quick look of it. Not an low period earthquakes that I normally get from Goðabunga area.

    I am not sure where this earthquake took place. But I don’t think it was Goðabunga area. Unless there where two earthquakes at the same time and they got somehow mixed together.

    1. Thanks Jón. It happened so suddenly that I got kind of alarmed.

  20. The Holmsa River is showing a high rate of flow. Is this normal runoff or is it something else?

      1. No this is unusual, it was bitterly cold yesterday and not much better today (the wind was icy, from the north in Reykjavik). This just started yesterday.

  21. Quite impressive those earthquakes at Katla and earlier at Bardarbunga. However, if you look at the GPS graphs before Eyjafjallajokull eruption you could already see that something big was coming. Now, there is nothing interesting happening under Katla in these GPS graphs. So I think we are still far from a Katla eruption.

    I am curious about the high tremor still at Grimsvotn. For me, it just does not look right. Is this really related to the car activity? If so, why is happening also at night, and has been increasing for more than 2 days already? It does not look related to car activity in my opinion.

  22. Maybe Katla and Lady B got on the phone with each other and agreed they should not let Grimsy have the last word…eek!

    Jon, do you know what the MW was for the quake you recorded on your geophone?

  23. Lurking in Data,

    Interesting 3.2 near the Big Bend of the SAF today with a marked increase in quakes in this area. If my prior hypothesis is correct, a lot of stress has been recently accumulating at this fulcrum of movement given the stress relief south of it. The signs of this stress is release in the SAF feeder faults in this area.

  24. @Jon: Spikes can be seen in many tremor stations’ red bands (0,5 – 1,0 Hz) all over Iceland during the last half a day. No big quakes around the world. What’s up?

      1. Tremor lines appear re-instated but appear to have elevated off the scale. Any sign of an additional eruption? Could be an error I guess, as similar tremor patterns are not reflected elsewhere, as previously.


      2. Probably just someone up there (at Grimsvötn) that has offset the equipment by doing something stupid.

      3. Everything is quiet at Grímsfjall volcano. There was an lot of car traffic there going on when the tremor did go up because of the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano.

    1. There was an Mb6.5 earthquake at 00:05 UTC. The spike before that is the ML2.5 earthquake in Katla volcano.

      I think this low spike that you are seeing is the earthquake in Japan.

      1. Ok, I’ll remember that (~M6+ is enough to be seen also here).

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