Grímsvötn Volcanic Eruption Causes Glacial Melt Skip to content

Grímsvötn Volcanic Eruption Causes Glacial Melt

Geophysics professor Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson said there are still consequences from the May 2011 eruption in Grímsvötn, a sub-glacial volcano in Vatnajökull in southeast Iceland, including more rapid melting of the icecap.


Grímsvötn. Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.

There is a 45°C (113°F) hot lagoon on the glacier’s surface, an uplifting by three centimeters has occurred as the icecap decreases and the water surface of glacial rivers continues to rise, Morgunblaðið reports.

“We assume that significant melt will occur in the western Vatnajökull this summer,” predicted Magnús Tumi, who recently returned from a research expedition to Grímsvötn on behalf of the Glacial Research Association.

During the expedition, researchers sailed on the lagoon in Grímsvötn. “It is remarkable because it’s very hot. In the crater there was a little stream with 45°C warm water. A few hundred meters wide part of the lagoon was at bathing temperature, 25-40°C.”

“The eastern part of the lagoon is considerably colder, yet lukewarm, which is noteworthy given that it is surrounded by a wall of ice,” Magnús Tumi continued. The high temperature is a leftover from the eruption last year.

And the ash fall continues. During dry and windy conditions, ash will blow across south Iceland this summer and even longer.

Large drifts of ash have accumulated by the Ring Road in south Iceland. Drivers are asked to be careful because the ash might blows across the road and block visibility, Fréttablaðið reports.

Click here to read more about the expedition to Grímsvötn.


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