Is Eruption Imminent in Grímsvötn?

Vala Hafstað

There are indications that an eruption may soon occur in Grímsvötn volcano, located under the ice cap of Vatnajökull glacier, Morgunblaðið reports.

For this reason, a meeting of the science board of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management is scheduled for today. At the meeting, the latest data from the area will be discussed, as well as the situation on the Reykjanes peninsula, where seismic activity has increased since the end of May.

The last meeting of the science board took place June 10, but due to the situation in Grímsvötn, another meeting was needed.

“All this means is that we must review the situation in Grímsvötn... There is nothing that indicates this will occur right away,” states Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, professor of geophysics. It takes time, he adds, for an eruption to materialize – at least a week.

An eruption in the area, he states, is not unlikely. “It could occur, although that is not always the case. We need to be prepared for that to happen,” he adds.

When asked whether an eruption in Grímsvötn is reason for concern, he responds that it isn’t. An eruption in that area is not likely to cause much damage.

“Usually, these are small or medium-size eruptions,” he explains. “Grímsvötn is far enough from inhabited areas, and, therefore, an eruption there seldom results in much damage. On the other hand, there is a risk of volcanic ash fall from Grímsvötn, which would neither be good for inhabited areas nor livestock.”

Grímsvötn is Iceland’s most active volcano. Its eruptions usually cause a large glacial outburst flood.

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