The Hotness of Grimsvötn

As far as volcanoes go, we like to think of them as immutable giants that rarely if ever change. We like to see Grimsvötn as a glacier covered giant of a volcano, that almost always produce moderate ashy eruptions, that are relatively speaking short-lived. Yes, once upon a blue moon it will do something big,…

Volcano ecology

Space is a precious resource. We hoard it and guard it. Together with air, water, warmth and tomato ketchup, it is one of the essential ingredients for life. We are happy to share empathy, food, and money, but letting someone else invade our personal space is a big step well beyond that. Social distancing is…

Laki: the making of a fire

Laki was one of the defining events of Iceland’s history. Its impact went well beyond the nation, covering much of the northern hemisphere. It seems amazing that something that caused so much suffering was seen by so few people. This it shares with Eldgja, which was even larger and must have devastated Iceland, but of…

Laki deconstructed IV. A Timeline for Destruction

Before I start I would like to point towards the previous 3 parts. It might be a good read for those who missed them when I first published them. Prequel Laki deconstructed: I. prequel Part 2 Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption Part 3 Laki deconstructed III. Grimsvötn and Beyond The pre Skaftár Fires…

Laki deconstructed III. Grimsvötn and Beyond

Lakí deconstructed – Grimsvötn and Beyond We now continue our Laki series, first published in 2013. If you haven’t read the previous Laki instalments, I suggest that you do so first. Prequel – Laki deconstructed: I. prequel Part 1 – Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption Grimsvötn Fissure System The Grimsvötn fissure system is…

Laki deconstructed II. Anatomy of an Eruption

We continue Carl’s story of Laki. I highly recommend anyone who has not read ‘Central volcanoes of Vatnajökull’ to do so carefully, otherwise you will most likely be lost fairly quickly, see it as the prequel to this multi-part article. Previous Lakí research Up until 1993 research into the Skaftár Fires was based upon a…

The Grimsvötn eruption of 5 May 2021

38 per cent of all eruptions in Iceland come from Grimsvötn. It is an amazing number: this hidden volcano, invisible and unreachable to all but the most hardy explorer, is among the most active volcanoes in the world. Not the most active: the volcano with the highest frequency of eruptions is Mayon, which has erupted…

Lava Lakes – The Great Equilibrium Machine

A while ago Jesper Sandberg asked a question about if Grimsvötn could sprout forth a lava lake. I somewhat sloppily answered that I did not think that it was possible. Jesper then asked why not, and I got somewhat flustered since I did not have a ready answer. I promised to come back with a…

Strong tremor signal detected at Grimsvötn

At 19.03 local time the automatic SIL-system in Iceland picked up a strong tremor signal. When this type of tremor signal is visible in Iceland it is normally associated with either a large jökulhlaup (rapid glacial melt outflow) that can become larger than the output of the Amazon River, or it is associated with an…

Water, Grimsvötn and Stromboli

After a couple of rather hectic volcanic weeks in the world of volcanoes I thought I would write a little something about two of these events. Namely Stromboli and Grimsvötn, the reason I am cherry picking those two is that they have a common theme, water.   Stromboli Unless you have been to Stromboli you…