More Grímsvötn Eruptions Expected in Near Future Skip to content

More Grímsvötn Eruptions Expected in Near Future

Eruptions in the sub-glacial volcano Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull, which last burst in 2011, can be expected every five to ten years in the coming decades, according to geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson. A group of scientists is currently studying the volcano.


The first day of the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption. Photo by Patrick J. Dorflein.

The geothermal area in Grímsvötn is clearly visible to the group, which comprises representatives of the University of Iceland Science Institute, Landsvirkjun – the National Power Company and the Glacial Research Association.

They traveled to Vatnajökull a few days ago to put up GPS monitors, take samples from the glacier and read meters, reports.

The crater that formed at Grímsvötn during the eruption last year measures 1.5 kilometers in diameter. It used to be covered in water but most of it has now evaporated. The water is hot and steam emanates from it.

Grímsvötn eruptions come in series, each of which lasts 60 to 80 years, Magnús Tumi explained. The last series began in 1996 with eruptions following in 1998, 2004 and 2011, which was the largest by far, causing extensive ash fall.

“One can expect the development to continue in the next few decades that regular eruptions will occur in Grímsvötn with approximately five to ten year intervals,” he said.

“However, Grímsvötn lie far away from human settlements and if they are on a small scale they don’t have much of an impact,” Magnús Tumi concluded.

Click here to watch RÚV’s footage from the Grímsvötn geothermal area and here to read other recent volcano news.


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