Evacuations near Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls?

The Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption on April 7, 2010.

Just as we were speculating that the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption might be over, Icelandic officials may have ordered an evacuation for towns (icelandic) in the area (but information in english is scant). There have been a recent swarm of shallow earthquakes underneath the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap - and if there is any chance that this could be signs of a new eruption under the ice, evacuations are justified. This could mean a jökulhlaup could be generated. These glacial floods are highly destructive, so getting people out of the way quickly is vital.

UPDATE 22:45 EDT 4/13/2010: More news about the evacuations, again in Icelandic.

If you see any news about the events tonight, please feel free to it here.

More like this

The steam and ash plume from the Eyjafjallajökull subglacial eruption that started early morning, April 14, 2010. Well, after the brief respite when there was speculation Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls eruption might be over, we now know what was going on. After the original fissures ceased…
The eruption at Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls continues on - the explosive spatter and bomb eruptions at the new central vent (on the second fissure) were impressive all night, making the hikers/cars/aircraft look like mites in comparison. This eruption has, so far, followed the pattern of…
Eyjafjallajökull, an ice-capped volcano in Iceland that last erupted in 1823. We talked a few weeks ago of signs that there were increasing signs that an eruption could occur on Iceland - increased seismicity on the Reykjanes Ridge suggested that magma might be on the move. Now, we have two pieces…
Lots to do! Tourists flock to the Eyjafjallajökull-Fimmvörduháls in Iceland. The media does love the term "supervolcano", and a number of Eruptions readers sent me a link to the article on the dreaded submarine "supervolcanoes". I would delve into this article from Live Science, but it sadly…

The twitter hashtag #icerupt has seen some local reporting.

Erik so far I am seeing only one Twit that is Twitting about floods and eruptions and giving a link to your site....do you know something we don't?

Randall - the only info I have is what i can gleen from the brief info in Icelandic, which using Google Translate mangles but does talk about evacuations. Any Icelanders want to chime in?

Hey at least the guy liked what I said the other day about the volcano:
Favorite blog comment of the day RE: new volcano in Iceland: "Yeah it's spitting up like a freshman at a frat party" 7:32 PM Mar 30th via Seesmic
LMAO....I didn't think anyone got that joke:)

This is what I call a rude awakening. But according to mbl.is they now believe that a new eruption has started in Eyjafjallajökull. They are not exactly sure where due to fog and such.

About 20 farms south of the Eyjaf glacier were evacuated as a precaution, breaking news on the radio now is that there is fear, and all measurements indicate that an eruption is about to start, and it has been decided to evacuate all around the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. There is however no visibility, and an eruption nor flooding has not been observed.

Well, I was referring to the content in Icelandic when I posted that hashtag. It seemed that there were locals with something to say but I can't read what they are saying. Was the only hashtag I found doing a search on the the name Eyjafjallajökull.

For those who didn't see my Jönkulhlaup Overview post Monday night... anticipating this could happen today I put a full review of Veðurstofa Ãslands jönkulhlaup papers back up - these offer good data about travel times, and expected volume, depth and flow.


The hazard potential is highest if the exit point is Gigajökull because its lowest exit point provides the opportunity for a high degree of outflow in the most abrupt way, as well as the most complete draining of Eyjafjallajökull if it comes to that... in other words, if an eruption is indeed underway, and is sustained, a Gigajökull exit point allows the most water to flow out into the Skarrá river valley and Markarfljöt.

The farms re-built since the 1820's could all be destroyed if Veðurstofa Ãslands projections are accurate, so let's hope for the best.

Another Icelander here, latest news (in Icelandic).

An Icelandic geologist (Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson) says that the eruption is probably under the volcano, because else they would've seen more water in the rivers by now. He doesn't expect a big flood if the eruption will be as big as the one at Fimmvörðuháls.

George yes and I wonder what they will find and what we can see on the cams when the sun comes up....that is if the weather will allow? Anyone seen a weather forecast for the area?

Seems that a new eruption is under way !!!!!
... under the eyja-glacier, lots of quakes and high tremor values.

Cool! Well, really, not cool, jokulhlaups are damaging and dangerous and unpredictable and breathtaking and phenomenal and amazing... and well, that makes them cool, unless you happen to be in the path of one, obviously. Guess we wait and see, eh?

Believe it or not, this page about the 1996 jokulhlaup caused by the Bardarbunga (which still sounds like an African volcano, not an Icelandic one) eruption is still there:

The 1996 Iceland jokulhlaup

Unfortunately, the link to the other pictures is defuncto. This sure brings back memories of the early days of the World Wide Web! I think I first looked at this page with Mosaic!

Almost 20 more quakes in the last hour....well something is still happening....whatever that may be.

"History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again."
Kurt Vonnegut

The Vodafone cams seem stuck on Fimvörduhals and show nothing of the area of interest. Also, seems the mast hill is shrouded in fog. Judging by the view from the only camera showing anything at the moment, Valahnjúk, it seems "normal".

Henrik yeah but all the action looks like it happened on the other side of the glacier/volcano.....at least most of the the quakes look like they were on the other side. Do you know of one on the south side of the glacier?

True Randall, but the lower Vodafone cam showed the crater in profile so even if we couldn't see the source, we'd see the phreatic explosions and ash columns (potential). A jökulhlaup, no. But to judge by the position of the wire, they seem to have been moved now. The fog has not.

On the matter of the professional vulcanologists - they seem to have been on their toes and responded very quickly! According to RUV (updated 06.11 GMT, eleven minutes ago), an eruption has already happened or is very likely imminent. According to the Rescue Services director, there would be some 20-30 minutes after an eruption untl water would star to run. It's not clear whether he meant a jökulhlaup or not.


There is a helicopter on the way to look at the situation on the glacier (source, in Icelandic of course ;) )

Ah, the suspense. Amazing things happen when you put the Icelandic news through the Google translator: some is translated "there is a new eruption underway but it's under the sea" (which I believe is not the case but it's under the ice). But the most hilarious translation comes out if you put in the page that Henrik has linked in post #25 --- it starts with "In all likelihood, considered to have a drink or to get under Eyjafjallajökull". I would refrain from either in the current situation.

The water level in Markarfljótsbrú is still rising. Not dramatically, but rather steadily. Since none of the other rivers or creeks seem to be rising, this may be the melting glacier?

Too bad they don't have a thermometer reading for Markarfljótsbrú.

Randall! (#22) There are a lot of good sayings on the same basic theme. Here's a couple of Swedish ones:

"Water boils at 100 degrees, but milk when you turn your back on it"

"Drive Nature out the front door with a pitchfork and She will sneak in through the back door keyhole"

Re your #6, only too well. We never were like that, were we! Of course not! ;)

I think I have discovered the mechanism driving this. Everytime I get a good night's sleep in something dramatic happens.

Just let me know if you want anything to happen.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

Quickly looking through the Icelandic media (Gaggle translation notwithstanding :) ), it seems the professionals believe the (possible) eruption to be a continuation of the Fimvörduhals one and small. The people who say this are not vulcanologists but rather chiefs of services likely to have had a direct briefing by them before being interviewed such as the Chief of the Rescue Services.

It would seem this is not, repeat not, the Götterdämmerung.

all the quakes are at 1 km depth or greater. Looks to me that the magma is still exploring a way to the surface.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

love the way google translate calls it drinks, as noted by Boris above. This time it says :"the most likely place for drinks" is south of the mountain.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

gosmökkur = volcanic (steam) plume, or something like that.

@Hjalti, glad you and Jón are here!! What is a vatnavöxtum then? an open fissure? lava?

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

And regarding the "drink", the Icelandic word "gos" can both mean eruption and soda drink. ;)

vatnavextir (you gave the dative) is increased water flow. (vatn = water, vextir = growth, increase). You'll be fluent in Icelandic when this is all over :)

@Randall (#28), difficult to say from a distance if even those who are close are still struggling.
But after all, things appear to be far from quiet over there. Again, if we saw a seismic activity as this last night at Etna, we'd lend it maximum attention and that's certainly what the colleagues in Iceland are doing. Let's hope that the weather conditions will improve and that it will be once more something small and nice - the latter is possibly a bit less likely if it really happens under the glacier.

Boris (#27), Bruce (#36)! It's a shame you don't know Swedish as the translation of this http://www.ruv.is/frett/gosbolstur-i-eyjafjallajokli article is even more, erm..., bizzare. If I do the honours:

"The most likely place for cocktails is Southwest Eyjafjöllajökull's roots in Stone Mountain."

"Magnús Tumi says that nothing has been proven by a volcanic eruption, hopefully it will be possible when the display or the glacier has been removed. He is one of the Coastal Guard's aeroplanes because (of) efforts to find this "gosstöð"."


It's been confirmed that an eruption has started, a modest one.

One thing is certain, we've had few eruptions so far that gave us as many reasons to enjoy and to have a number of real good laughs - let's hope it will continue like this.

Yes there are reports of low steam plumes, reaching about 300 m above the cloud cover. It is reported to be "of similar size" as the Fimmvörðuháls eruption.

Thanks! I love the words already. I told my wife this morning that there was now a grave risk of a jökulhlaup and she patted me on the head and said I was sweet... I don't think she takes my hobby seriously enough.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

I should add: All they've seen so far is some steam.

Here's a picture of Jón is talking about.

More good news, according to a report, the weather is clearing up somewhat. And the Coast Guard is sending an airplane to check the glacier in 20 minutes.

@Boris 45 .. precisely, let's hope this doesn't destroy those farms at the foot of the mountain. Micheal's references are very useful.. here's a good one on the hazards of a jökulhlaup south of Eyjafjallajökull.

Does anyone know if the new fissure is in the caldera or on the southern flank?

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

In the Valahnjúk webcam you can see black clouds moving from Right to left. Seems too dark to be cloud/fog. There have been a couple of times in the last 15 minutes where the webcam faded almost black and then came back over the period of about a minute. Link: http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-valahnjuk/

Big news. Well do we have an explanation now why the eruption at Fimvörduhals stopped? Because the magma found a new way - this time under the glacier at a higher level? Does this also mean that the eruption is getting bigger then? Unfortunately these are no good news, I would have preferred the old smaller show and not the eruption under the glacier with flooding and evacuations.

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

if Gigjökull is rising and reports state that the most likely site is to the SW then it sounds very much like the eruption is indeed in the caldera or very close to it. Hope someone turns the Vodafone cam to the south soon. Guess they might not have access now if they need to travel up the valley.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

According to the abstract posted by Michael the outwash plain of the Markarfljöt river (the main river north of the volcano) has 1600 inhabitants spread over a wide area. The scenario is based on a worst case eruption from Katla and assumes peak discharge of 300,000 cubic meters a second. Obviously a jökulhlaup from Eyja isn't going to be anything like this but the problem could be of predicting the exact direction of the flow on the outwash plain. If it happens, let's hope it is small enough to stay more or less in the existing channels.

Here's a link to the abstract:

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Jamie, that's just snow. No worries. Let's hope the weather clears so that we can see something.

@ Thomas, stunning photo. I fear the eruption is right up there in the caldera. Let's hope it doesn't shift too much ice!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

Glacier flood has been confirmed by sensors. But it is rising fast at this moment.

It is still unclear where the eruption is currently located at this moment due to cloud cover.

@ Klaas, nice pic! probably much much wetter! ;-)

Boy, that's some pretty serious cloud cover on the webcams at the moment. No fall-out or anything untoward. Just looks like an Atlantic squall passing through. Hope that Coast Guard plane gets to see something!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Peter Tibben Thanks for the link to the actual first pictures of the eruption (only steam clouds from far but the first visual proof published that we have a crater-eruption or a flank eruption close to the crater in the south - south-west!

By Thomas Wipf (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

09Z: Visible plume up to 12-14.000 feet. The webcams show nothing but clouds over the area.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Philipp, that would certainly explain why it is so dark.

Crikey, I'd give an arm and a leg to see what is happening at the caldera. Phreatic explosions? Steam generation? An open fissure?

If the bulk of that cloud cover is caused by ice melt, it might be a bit bigger than first thought. (I doubt it though as the Hekla webcam is also pretty grey).

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

News just in! Hole in the glacier in the SW in the caldera!

Bólstar is just the plume.

The river Markarfljót has risen by almost three feet. @Philipp: Bólstrar = cumuli.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Reynir 14ooo feet! In that wind! This is looking to be a bit bigger than I first thought. I imagine that is all steam but still, that's some serious heat generation to get a plume that high in that wind (which looks to be blowing between 30 and 60 knots at a rough guess).

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

The webcams at mulakot.net (a small airstrip in the area) show little due to overexposure.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Reynir - thanks for the info! My icelandic is very much non-existing!

@ Thomas - I don't think the picture in the article is a current one, as the weather is currently pretty bad, and there are no blue skies as in the picture.

With the EQs still happening a few km down doesn't that mean that there is additional magma on it's way up?

@bruce: That's what several airline captains estimated.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

As expected, there's a TV special bulletin scheduled on RUV-TV at 12Z, likely 8:00 at the blog's local time. You could try to access the WMV stream at http://dagskra.ruv.is/sjonvarpid/

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Philipp, Thomas just put up the picture to give us a reference for the expected location of the new eruption not to show what it looks like today. ;-)

as for fresh magma on the move. I think magma has been on the move ever since this whole sequence started. The experts don't think the volume is that large but it's been enough to cut its way up to the surface. I don't think we are looking at a large eruption here but the fact that is has moved to the icecap has put a whole new set of dynamics into play.

We can expect to see phreatic explosions as melt water interacts with hot magma and a large steam plume, possibly also a jökulhlaup, depending on how the melt water dams under the glacier or runs off slowly into the river.

Let's just hope there is no damage to anyone or their property and we can go on enjoying it as much as we have to date.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hi All. Thanks for opening this new thread. As someone who lives in a village on the coast of Wales which is built on a spit of shingle about 10 feet above sea level I watch the developments in Iceland with concern. I would like to know if the large volcano 90 miles south of Iceland, which was discovered in 2004, is also being monitored. The Icelandic evacuation is an example of efficient organisation. If there is another web source monitoring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge I would like to see it if possible. Any suggestions? I noted a few weeks ago there was seismic activity in the South and then the North of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and then a 2.7 earthquake in New York.
The lower Vodaphone camera has a dark area in the lower right corner. Is this a new smoke plume or a mark on the camera?

Aside: a'a' lava is "apalhraun" in Icelandic.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

Breaking news, in Icelandic

From the Coast Guard airplane:

Hole in the icecap with 200m diameter in the caldera.
There is a 1000m*600m depression around it, and grows rapidly. They don't see any fire or fissure, too much cloud.
Estimate (don't know how or why) a 500m fissure. Ash is falling eastwards, all the way to Fimmvörðuháls. The plume is up to ~22.000 feet.

@Alyson: Probably a speck, but the cams are sun-blind now. Re the http://eldgos.mila.is/ cams, the Ãórólfsfell link now shows the cam near Hvolsvöllur. Fimmvörðuháls appears to show flying ash. It's on the lee side of the new firehole.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 13 Apr 2010 #permalink

Indirectly, all that ash is going to melt much snow and ice due to reduced albedo, when the weather will clear up.

@Reynir, Chris, wow it does indeed! the ground is covered in ash. This is definitely bigger than I was expecting. I need Boris or someone here to explain why we are getting fragmentation. Is this simply water interaction or has the nature of the magma changed?

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

The ash fall is to east, in the direction of Fimmvörðuháls. The harmonic tremors continues to increase. The fissure is believed to be ~500 meters long.

The water continues to rise in Markarfljóti. The cloud has reached 22.000 feet.

Is that ash falling in the Vodaphone webcam?

By Dylan Ray (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

wow! there it is on the Hvolsvollur cam. Awesome.

Wow, look at the Ãórólfsfelli cam... They are going to need to point it up! things are really happening now.

@Dylan I can't see it there. But the Fimmvörðuháls webcam definitely has it - see post #82 from Reynir (this must be an absolute first, sitting amongst falling ash in real time, what an absolute ripper this eruption is proving to be!)

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Dylan: Most likely clouds. The cams are due north of the eruption.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

The Fimmvörðuháls web camera is getting hit by ash fall. Rest appears to be lost in fog.

The harmonic tremors in Eyjafjallajökull continue to increase at this moment.

@ Dylan i made a mistake in #58. Trick of the light makes the snow appear black i think. THought i was seeing the same at Fimmvörðuháls webcam but the ash on the ground kind of proves it. This has been a fascinating morning of webcam watching.

I've been looking at the weather. The rain radar shows something interesting around Eyjafjallajökull all morning. There is what appears to be a permenant shower. Could this be the ash and steam plume? http://en.vedur.is/weather/observations/radar/

@Jamie: Very likely.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

There's a flood coming from under GÃgjökull (Crater Tongue). A nearby footbridge is a few miles away from its place.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Jón, twenty minutes ago there were still patches of snow visible, now it is all uniform grey brown. Simply amazing. Do you have a link for water levels in Markarfljot?

BTW your gut feelings for this eruption are getting pretty uncanny!!

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Kin'ell! They're discussing breaking roads to save the bridges over Markarfljót.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

I only see weather clouds on the webcams so far.

@bruce stout, Last time I did the water levels at GÃgjujökull where 455,4 cm. But that number is outdated already. The eruption continues to gain strength.

There was also this morning a ML3.5 earthquake in GrÃmsfjalli. That might indicate a eruption starting there. But nothing confirmed yet. It might just be single event, they happen sometimes.

The harmonic tremors now appear on my sensor, as they overpower the wind noise at the moment.

I have had a long time to model this eruption. I am using that model, and it works in most of the time. :)

Are there any updates on the ash plume height? With apparently increasing tremors and the eruption still ongoing, I think it might now be much higher than the previously reported 22000ft.

Is it just me but when looking at the picture in post #103 it seems that there are 3 vents?

IFR flights at or below FL300 (30.000 feet) are now forbidden north and east of the eruption. The prohibition zone may even be enlarged all the way to Norway and Russia. Polar flights will very likely be vectored to the west.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Daniel: It's not just you.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Jón: Where do you get the water levels? When I log into vmkerfi.os.is I get only a blank page without any stations. Can you provide the direct link to the Markarfjlót station?

http://www.dv.is/ - According to info from the Met. Office, the water level gauge near GÃgjökull is likely gone along with the footbridge. There is a map of estimated flood direction and timing on this news site as well.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Jón Friman. You stuck to your guns and was proven right. IIRC Boris is now obliged to supply your family with some lovely bottles of Sicilian red, correct? Well deserved! And please Jón, don't predict any eruptions near to where I live, eh! ;)

On a serious note, let's hope it stays a small to moderate eruption with no more than a very modest jökulhlaup.

what a stunningly beautiful land of contrasts you guys have. Fimmvörðuháls just got hit with a snow shower that turned the background white though the foreground is still ash.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

On Valachniuk webcam the view is INCREDIBLE..... seems like the eruption is going fullscale... that's an explosive one for sure..

10 min ago, the view was all clear... then now it's gone totally dark.

It ain' over till the fat lady sings... now she's taking a deep breath..

Worse still, there is an even fatter lady to the east, which may decide to join in at any time... Ouch.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Jón: On your webpage you have some seismic charts which gets updated every 5 min (good site btw). I am looking at the Hekla chart at the bottom and I was wondering. Are those harmonic tremors? They seem quite constant. And what scale is it?

Is the seismomenters placed at hekla volcano or some distance away?
If they are indeed harmonic wouldnt that suggest an impending eruption?

Or maybe i am just wound up due to all activity going on.. :)

@Daniel, that appears to be a harmonic tremor. The wind is too small (5.7m/s) to make this level of noise.

Of the web cameras that I have connected to. There has been sighting of the cloud of the web cam that is named Eyjafjallajökull.

http://www.mbl.is/mm/frettir/ - A decision has been taken to sever the road east of the Route 1 bridge across the river Markarfljót to reduce the chance of losing the bridge.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

The webcam images are just STUNNING....

On the Fimmvördhuhals one, the ground went from black-ash to white snow in 5 minutes... then it's gonna rain ash on it and the ground will turn black again... then again snow...

When weather and geology cooperate...

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

http://www.heklubyggd.is/vedur.htm - The cameras on this link point towards Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull. Likely worth watching if the sky clears. Oh, and there's a link there to the owner's two seismographs.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink


What's going on at Hekla? Let's hope it's not preparing to erupt..

Hekla has a very nasty habit, not to warn about impending activity, only 2 or 3 hours before at most....

Then.... it goes to climactic Plinian phase before reverting to lava flow activity.

By Volcanophile (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hmm... reports of another (possibly large) flood heading south from the glacier.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Anyone got any links to these webcams showing the plume? All I see is one with low-lying clouds and no hint of a eruption event anywhere.

By SNOW_JOKE (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

I've only seen weather clouds on the webcams so far. No ash from what I can tell. But phreatic explosions should generate some ash so I would expect to see ash at some point if the lava is interacting violently with ice.

On the radio, we hear that the eruption is much larger than the one on Fimmvörduhals, fissure up to 2km, the floods larger than expected, and go north and also south near the Thorvaldseyri farm. People are safe, but too soon to tell if livestock is at risk...

The tremors at Hekla seems to get stronger if you look at the chart. Watching the http://www.ruv.is/hekla at the moment and if its not the wind you can actually see some movements.

@ Mike, http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-fimmvorduhalsi/ is the onen you want. When it first came back on line there patches of white snow in the foreground and ash was raining down (most definitely ash this time as the particles were black (not white or grey) and the snow patches disappeared as the ground got uniformly covered in brown ash. Then a snow shower went through and turned everything white. It was a useful exercise in telling the difference between ash and snow particles.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

It seems John Seach's first law of volcanology strikes again:

Seach's First Law of Volcanology:
You will miss the eruption.
Corollary four: The volcano will erupt while it is covered in clouds.

Seach's Paradox is also applicable to this eruption:

Seach's Paradox:
A decrease in eruptive activity increases the risk.
Corollary one: Beware of a quiet volcano.


Yes I see what looks like ash on the snow, thanks Bruce.

They just showed footage of the jökulhlaup on national television (RUV) and it's amazing to see the incredible power of Mother Nature. All this water is going to destroy everything in its path!

Wow. I think maybe scheduling a trip to the volcano for tomorrow suddenly became either the best idea ever..or the worst.

By James Jones (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Volcanophile, on my sensor the harmonic tremors from the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull appear on my sensor.

Currently there is nothing going on at Hekla.


Yes, enjoy!

The webcam on Valahnjúkur is intermittent right now, as it's being reset to look at Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

obviously a live stream so I guess I got lucky. Amazing footage of wild torrents streaming down the side of the glacier and a high plume. fantastic stuff.

@mike there is ash falling at fimmvorduahalsi right now if you are online.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Snow by Fimmvorduahalsi has turned black before our eyes on webcam!

@bruce: Oh, is there ever! Oh, and Valahnjúkur looks stable again.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Looking at the Fimmv. webcam Right now I see that something heavier than ash seems to be hitting the black ash-covered surface making small grey dust-spots? Could that be lapilli ? That would imply a quite violent eruption since it is some distance away from the new eruption crater?

Am feeling sooooo happy I went there while it was only the small eruption going on. On saturday 3rd of April We drove by the Gigjökull glacier lake and crossed the bridge over Markarfljöt several times. Guess it's not going to happen again anyday soon....


By Heidi Ritterbusch (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

The ash fall at Fimmvörðuháls appears to be quite high, I think that the camera is getting burred down by the ash. At least it looks like that from the camera view.

Sorry - think my observation before was a trick of the eye... seems to be just ash particles.

@Heidi - I think those grey/white patches are a new snowfall - I see them too but I think it's flakes going back cam?

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

I checked one of the webcams (Valahnjúkur) and just saw two goofy faces staring back at me in the snowfall! I guess those guys aren't too worried about an eruption.

Turrialba seems to be more active now as well on the Turrialba webcam.

Looks like Valahnjúkur is already getting glimpses of the plume. Heh.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

From valahnjukur webcam the plume is now VERY visible

Look at the Valahnjúkur cam now (clear weather for a few min.), can clearly see the eruption plumes! Let us hope the weather clears even more this afternoon.

By Christian (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Wow, stunning - look at that plume!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

No one can doubt that there is summit activity now!

Oh yes, I'm getting goofy guys now, too! Lucky people!

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hats off to the guys for getting up there and moving the cam. This is amazing footage.

Again, thanks, Erik Klemetti and knowledgeable commenters, for an outstanding site. Seeing unusual (in one human lifetime) Icelandic geological history in the making while enjoying early morning coffee from the warmth of the West Coast of California -- awesome, humbling. Earth's forces are way beyond our understanding, yet what we strive for becomes more and more breathtaking (e.g., my first image every day -- http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/). My volcanology files are expanding rapidy.

If only our governments would desist with the fraudulent human-caused global warming and put all those resources towards real science -- and not PC made-up model-fantasies -- how much more understanding we would have today. And how many real scientists and real research would be supported.

Thomas Wipf's #56 photo of Gigjokull-Side extraordinary. I reurn to my coffee and hot milk with web cams on-line. With gratitude.

By pyromancer76 (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hear, hear, Pyromancer76. Amazing site with amazing folk. I am sat here (it's 1.16am Thursday morning) in New Zealand totally absorbed in watching Mother Nature's show. Thanks to all for allowing me to do so.

By Helen Leggatt (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

The webcam at http://eldgos.mila.is/eyjafjallajokull-fra-valahnjuk/ keeps having people dance in front of it, perhaps an offering of thanks to the tourist gods? No really, the plume looks impressive. When I went to bed last night the comments were only down to #20 and today at school I knew something was up just by the sheer volume. This is just awesome!

Seems to me that the view from the Katla Watch cam has changed. Panned to look further west?

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Heidi! Great to see you around here again!!

I was reading Chapter 5 of your thesis just the other night and wondering why people think ignimbrite eruptions can't happen under glaciers? Watching the ash rain down here while I write makes me wonder even more!! (btw I think you might be right, some of those particles look pretty big to be just ash!)

Secondly, why do we think we are getting fragmentation here? Is it all due to phreatomagmatic activity or do you think the magma is more gas rich?

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@bruce: There are two translations for the word 'impossible':
1. I've never seen it happen before.
2. I don't wanna do it.

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

Expect another news special on RUV-TV at 1710 UT (1:10 PM, blog's local time). It's possible that the flood from under GÃgjökull has peaked already. One can always hope...

By Reynir Heiðbe… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Bruce 158

Don't ask so many questions :-) You end up forcing me to read my own thesis again. (To be honest I don't remember too much of it by now since I've been busy learning all kinds of new stuff since I wrote it).

I guess a pyroclastic flow deposit(ignimbrite)could be formed from an eruption under a glacier - IF the eruption is extremely explosive, involves large amounts of acid magma and blows the entire top of the volcano. Including whatever glacier lying there. I think Reynir in post 160 may be right about the "impossible" meaning that it perhaps just hasn't been seen before...?

More effusive eruptions (like the one going on now???) under ice will more likely cause phreatic explosions including somewhat smaller amounts of magma and involving more fragmentation of particles into fine ash.

Everyone please feel free to argue that...

Thanks for the many useful links posted here! Hoping NASA EO comes through with an undated satellite image for us today.

@ Heidi I am waaaay better at questions than answers :-) Great thesis by the way!! Really got into the structures of pf's in Chapter 4. Absolutely mind-boggling how big some eruptions can become.

Back to this one.. amazing how constant the ash fall is at Fimmvörduhálsi which is, what, 10 km from the vent? That's quite a bit of fragmentation going on to spread ash that far so constantly. I was expecting isolated bursts from phreatomagmatic explosions and not such constant ashfall so far from the vent (ok 10 km is nothing but it's a lot more than what we've seen so far for such a small eruption).

By bruce stout (not verified) on 14 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Heidi 163:

If I recall correctly, history suggests that the system under Eyjafjallajökull is capable of producing more rhyolitic magma... I'll be interested to see the chemistry of the current eruption products. But the seismology suggests that the Fimmvörðuháls eruption was a branch from the main conduit, which has now found a more direct route to the surface, so maybe it won't be much different in composition.


As far as I know they believe the magma composition is much the same as before. Seeing as this is the central volcano, though, I'd say there is a definite possibility of rhyolitic activity.

I'm here at the university right now so I'm trying to find out as much as I can. If I get anything new, you'll hear about it. :)

First of all, why don't we decide to continue the discussion here on the latest thread on this blog: scienceblogs.com/eruptions/2010/04/subglacial_eruption_underway_a.php


@Henrik (#112) - Jón is THE man here no doubt. While I never excluded that he was right I always insisted on being cautious which is a central issue in the moment that you are a volcanologist working for a government institution and Civil Defense and every word you say is amplified a thousand times. In that position you do count on every possibility but do so with discretion because it's a terribly sensitive issue. A false alarm can have an impact nearly as bad as an unheeded alarm, maybe less in terms of human victims than in economic terms but unfortunately there are people out there who consider the latter more than the earlier.

I must say Jón is a generous winner because I understood he doesn't touch alcoholic drinks - so in that case we'll have to find out what sort of drinks (or other gourmandises) he prefers and if there is something specific I could offer him from Sicily.

@Bruce (#87) - fragmentation is a classic in subglacial eruptions. It happens due to the encounter of magma and ice, especially if some of the water produced by the melting of the glacier can mix with the magma in the vent(s). This is why during subglacial eruptions such as Gjálp in 1996 and GrÃmsvötn 1998 and 2004 there was exclusively explosive activity at the surface, and you wouldn't see much incandescent material even at night.

Holy cow! The tremor charts have spiked, this looks like the most powerful spike we have seen yet.