A lot of ash has been falling around the Vatnajokull glacier and nearby towns this evening. It is expected to continue through the night and maybe into tomorrow, according to Icelandic Met Office geologist, Hjorleifur Sveinbjornsson. The ash is much coarser than that which came from Eyjafjallajokull last year.
Sveinbjornsson told mbl.is that there has been little change in the eruption since it began and that ash is falling on the towns of Kirkjubaejarklaustur and Hofn i Hornafirdi — as well as nearby farms. He added that the volcano is a basalt eruption and that it is a good thing that the ash is less fine than last year; which will prevent it from spreading so far.
The eruption seems to be taking place very near to the site of the 2004 volcano. Sveinbjornsson says that there was very little warning of an eruption today: no warning at all at 17.00 as he was preparing to go home from his shift. At 17.30 it was clear that something was happening; and then earthquakes at 18.00 confirmed suspicions. Residents of local towns and farms reported visual confirmation of the eruption at 19.00.
It seems the lava did not have much ice to melt through, as the ash cloud was very quick to form. The sizeable ash cloud can be seen from far and wide — and has even been seen from Reykjavik.
Grimsvotn is in the Vatnajokull National park, which is the biggest national park in Europe. The famous Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon is also in the park and is being affected by the ash cloud. Mila provides a free webcam of Jokulsarlon here. At the time of writing the camera was showing a completely black screen — despite the fact that it no longer gets completely dark at night time at this time of year.
(Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs)