Uncertainty level declared for Grímsfjall volcano

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Icelandic civil protection (Almannavarnir) have declared a uncertainty level over Grímsfjall volcano due to glacier flood coming from them. This level is the lowest level of warning that Almannavarnir have in case when there is a risk of dangerous events taking place.

At current time no eruption has started in Grímsfjall volcano. Note that this volcano is often called Grímsvötn in Iceland. But it is the same location with two names.

Almannavarnir announcement. Please use Google Translate.

Óvissustig vegna Grímsvatna (Icelandic)

Icelandic news. Please use Google Translate.

Almannavarnir lýsa yfir óvissustigi (Rúv.is)
Óvissustig vegna Grímsvatna (mbl.is)

Text updated at 19:47 UTC on the 1st of November 2010.

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183 Replies to “Uncertainty level declared for Grímsfjall volcano”

  1. When I write this the harmonic tremor pulse is ongoing as it has been for the past three hours. It appears to drop before it starts to rise again. So far this has not resulted in a eruption at Grímsfjall volcano.

    I will write more about this sometimes tomorrow.

    1. I am going to sleep now. But I am going to do a status check around 07:00 UTC and if nothing is going on sleep until 09:40 UTC. But then it is my first class of the day.

      This might take a while in Grímsfjöll volcano. But I am fairly sure that it is heading in the direction of a eruption soon. But when is a good question.

      1. Have a sound slep, Jón. Grimsfjal can wait for you. Hope you don’t miss the show.

  2. I’ll stay around a bit longer (after all we have a big election night going on and I’m glued to the TV and appropriate websites – even though it’s not a pretty sight…).

    If I’m lucky I might catch the first signs of the impeding eruption. This reminds me very much of Eyjafjallajökull eruption earlier this year, with the increasing flow rate in the local creek etc.

    1. Holger: I’m keeping a close eyes at elections in Th USA. We didn’t have the result I expected in Brazil either, but maybe it’s better this way.

      1. From the looks of it we in California have avoided becoming a subsidary of EBay (thank goodness for that one). But we’ll see how well things will run now. As you may have heard our state government is a mess…

        (Sorry for the OT discussion for the volcanophiles here….)

        I’ll keep the vigil for another ~2 hours I guess…

  3. Okay… that … err… was not fun. But it seems to have worked. I took a 2 week plot of the outflow at Gígja and wrestled it into a background image, scaled the plot to the image and duplicated the points. Essentially, extracted the data that makes up the plot so that I could work with it.

    ASSUMING that the jökulhlaup started registering on the monitoring station at about 1800 on the 30th, it has averaged 318.5 cubic meters per second. As far as I can tell the chart doesn’t state the time interval (it only specifies cm), so I used “per second” since that’s what the USGS river stations use. (so it’s another assumption in my data) That yields a total flow of about 27,520,589.5 cubic meters over the three days and six hours that are in the plot for the jökulhlaup.

    One cubic meter of water (pure) is 1000 kg. So your looking at a metric tonne per cubic meter.

    That means that roughly 27.5 million metric tonnes of mass has been removed from the vicinity of Grímsvötn over this time… not including any sediment or rocks picked up along the way.

  4. This value seems a bit low. It’s about the same as 9100 cubic meters of dense basalt.

    Does anyone know if they change scales on the flow plot during times of higher than normal flow rates? There is a discontinuity in the data just before the 1800 on the 30th, it drops from roughly 340 cm (/s?) to 184 cm and rises from there.

    It seems like a scaling error in there somewhere.

    1. @ Lurking

      Yes, it looks like a switch in the scaling of that plot. On the other hand the conductivity plot and the water temperature plot also show ‘discontinuities’ at that time. Maybe something happened to the sensors in the water and they all had to be reset? Therefore, I wouldn’t put too much trust into the values before the October 31st.

    1. Renato,

      I think it’s the ‘watched teapot’ phenomenon. We’ll all have to go to bed before the volcano will do its thing…

  5. Maybe we are headed to a Hekla eruption. Watch that string of earthquakes west of Hekla and also to the east in Torfajokull. The depth seems to be indicating magma moving, no? Besides Hekla has been erupting every 10 years in past years.

    1. No, when Hekla erupts there will be absolutely zero announcements. These earthquakes are related to Torfajokull volcanic system and the faulting system near Selfoss.

      1. I think I heard someone here (I guess it was Jon) that before Hekla erupts, there is some eq activity near the Torfajokull region.
        Anyways, Hekla has been erupting every 10 years, last time 2000, but it doesn’t mean it will erupt again in soon.

  6. Well, it looks like I’m the last one up.

    It’s now past midnight PDT and the tremor is still high, the water level rising slowly, but no sign of the expected seismic events to start the show at Grímsfjöll. I expect things to look different tomorrow when I get to check back.

    Good night.

    1. And they are still crazy. A lot of fog on the Merapi webcam earlier, now it’s probably ash cloud.

    2. @ Renato Thank you for your vigilance…but do try to get a little sleep or you may miss the show

    1. And still no EQs! I’m starting to believe in a bigger (than normal or last time) start-up kaboom…

      1. That tremor is the glacier flood itself, i guess. The most important in my opinion is to follow the 0,5 Hz signal. Also the conductivity at the discharge waters should be really intersting to know.

      2. seismicity remains extremely low…and that sharp leap in the tremor….instrumental artifact??

  7. since my 1st post here ive been watching (http://live.mila.is/jokulsarlon/ ) consistantly.
    It seems to me the water flow is increasing & in the distance there are now neuromous more dark patches where is was earlier snow/ice.
    Also,im not sure though to the right it looks like steam billowing,although this may just be blur distortions.idk

  8. This is strange. The tremors are through the roof and yet no EQ´s.

    Might it be that IMO has yet to update and there really is a swarm going?

  9. Wednesday
    03.11.2010 08:45:15 63.663 -19.139 12.1 km 3.0 30.14 6.0 km ENE of Goðabunga

    1. Yes i saw it. However the quality seems a bit low so I would expect the magnitude and depth, location to be revised soon.

  10. Can anyone suggest a website for a live webicorder/seismograph for Grimsfjall?

    Thanks

  11. Daniel, the differense is that the Grimsfjall station is smack ontop of the action and the equipment for Eyjafjallajökull was not. But on the other hand, this is a much larger volcano so it might go rather higher methinks. But here I am a bit of guessing.
    My thoughts is that it is a sign that the eruptions are rather imminent. One short burst of quakes and we are running:)

    @Lurking:
    You did a calculation error above. 27,5 million tonnes in water would be the equivalent of 3,5 to 5 million cubic metres of basalt. This on the assumption that the specific weight of the basalt is between 5 to 8 kg per kubik decimetre (litre), which is within the normal range. You accidentally invented the new matter henceforth known as “heavium” with a weight of 3091,97 kg per litre:)
    I guess the metric system got the better of you;)

  12. The start of the expected swarm?

    Wednesday
    03.11.2010 10:20:34 64.811 -17.198 5.1 km 1.8 90.01 3.4 km N of Kistufell
    Wednesday
    03.11.2010 10:19:53 64.448 -17.333 1.1 km 1.8 72.26 5.6 km NNW of Grímsfjall
    Wednesday
    03.11.2010 09:03:10 64.416 -17.237 1.1 km 1.9 60.76 2.2 km NE of Grímsfjall

    1. It basically says, that there is no eruption yet and they think that the rapid rise in tremor has been caused by altering waterflows. But they cannot exclude the chance of an eruption – so there will be a control flight with the special equipped coast guard airplane with some specialists onboard this morning.
      In the meantime we have now four shallow quakes in the Grímsfjall area. Lets see, how this will develop.

  13. Simply hilarious if you know swedish:)

    Google does not like Icelandic to swedish translations:)

    Kustbevakningen flygplan ligger nu på elva i patrullen Grimsvötn, längs jorden från tjänsten och Islands universitet. Man tror att rasen till topp idag.

  14. Wednesday 3rd November 2010
    Grimsvotn Volcano, Iceland
    Melt water continue to flow from Grimsvotn volcano, Iceland. The rate has slowed compared to previous days. An increased in electrical conductivity in the Súla river indicates that geothermal water is draining from the western side of the Skeiðarárjökull glacier. Earthquakes continue to occur under Grimsvötn volcano indicating that floodwaters flow under the glacier. There is no indication the volcano is currently erupting.
    More on Grimsvotn volcano…
    http://www.volcanolive.com/news.html

  15. Seems like the EQ´s are starting to pick up. Wouldnt be surprised if we get to see a swarm coming soon.

    1. If a swarm starts we need to wake Renato he’d be devastated if he missed even a moment.

      1. Well, it doesn’t seem like anything really out of the ordinary so far. Pretty much just a slight increase in the concentration of the normal amount of quakes around Grmsvötn.

  16. Have been watching the Jokul cam for a few weeks now and it just shook like I have never seen it shake before….was quite dramatic.

    Either a really big truck came over the bridge or we will see a significant quake show in a few minutes……was around 12.41 Iceland time

    1. Well no quake and the camera is now down….probably someone working on it caused the shaky picture

  17. \This value seems a bit low. It’s about the same as 9100 cubic meters of dense basalt.\

    Um… where in there do I state \3,5 to 5 million cubic metres of basalt\

    Solid Basalt has a density of about 3011 kg/m³ http://www.simetric.co.uk/si_materials.htm

    Ahhh, I see. scaling error on my part.

    27,520,589 tonnes ≈ 27,520,589,000 kg

    27,520,589,000 / 3011 = 9,140,016 m³

    1. Ah, sorry if I was unclear, it was me with the 3,5 to 5 million square metres of basalt.
      I used the numbers from the horribly heavy scandian basalts of the Kiruna-malmen.

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