Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grimsvotn Webcam, Live Iceland Volcano Eruption Cam

The Grimsvoetn volcano that is located under Iceland's largest glacier began erupting on Saturday 21 May 2011, sending a tall plume of smoke rising from the crater.

This live webcam feed is watching the volcano as it erupts:

Grimsvotn volcano webcam

Location Information:

The Grímsvötn lakes are lakes in Iceland. They lie in the highlands of Iceland at the northwestern side of the Vatnajökull glacier and are covered by its ice cap. Beneath them is the magma chamber of a volcano called by the same name. The location of the lakes is 64°25′N 17°20′W, at an elevation of 1,725 m (5,659 ft).

Grímsvötn has a southwest-northeast-trending fissure system, and the massive climate-impacting Laki fissure eruption of 1783-1784 was a part of the same fissure system. Grímsvötn was erupting at the same time as Laki during 1783, but continued to erupt until 1785. Because most of the volcano lies underneath Vatnajökull, most of its eruptions have been subglacial.

Harmonic tremor was recorded twice around Grímsvötn on 2 and 3 October 2010, potentially indicating an impending eruption. At the same time, sudden inflation was measured by GPS in the volcano, indicating magma movement under the mountain. On 1 November 2010 meltwater from the Vatnajökull glacier was flowing into the lake, suggesting that an eruption of the underlying volcano might be imminent. On 21 May 2011 at 1925 UTC, an eruption began, with 12 km (7.5 mi) high plumes accompanied by multiple earthquakes. Subglacial eruptions regularly give rise to glacial bursts as jökulhlaups. Eruptions may melt enough ice to fill the Grímsvötn caldera with water, and the pressure may be enough to suddenly lift the icecap, allowing huge quantities of water to escape rapidly. Consequently, the Grímsvötn caldera is monitored very carefully by scientists. When a large eruption occurred in 1996, geologists knew well in advance that a glacial burst was imminent. It did not occur until several weeks after the eruption finished, but the monitoring let the Icelandic ring road (Hringvegur) be closed when the burst occurred. A section of road across the Skeiðará sandur was washed away in the ensuing flood, but no one was hurt.