Volcano in Iceland seems to be calming down

Icelandic geomorphologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson has flown over the erupting Grimsvotn volcano today and says it seems to be becoming less intense. The ash fall on local farms and the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur has yet to let up, however.

Gudmundsson flew over the volcano this morning: “It is likely that it has begun to slow down,” he told RUV. “There is a lot of lightning accompanying it and a wide ash dispersal,” he added.

Although the eruption seems to be slowing, it is already clear that emergency response teams will be busy in the coming days, as ash fall to date is already having an impact on people and farm animals in the immediate vicinity.

Scientists need to fly under a sizeable volcanic cloud to reach the volcano. Small aircraft are less affected by the ash than jet planes. Gudmundsson says that the eruption is bigger than has been seen in recent decades.

He likens it most to the eruption at the same location, Grimsvotn, in 1837. That ash producing eruption caused disruption for only a few days — but it did not stop altogether for seven months. That appears to be what is happening now, the professor predicts.

“It is not a long eruption crater. Maybe 500-800 metres long,” Gudmundsson explained; adding that the eruption is nevertheless very intense.

People are being urged not to travel to the area to see the volcano. The area is currently unsafe and visibility is too poor to clearly see anyway.

More information on the Grimsvotn eruption can be found on the following websites:

Volcano-related advice and news for travellers in Iceland
The University of Iceland Institute of Earth Sciences
The Icelandic Met Office
The Police Civil Defence Agency

(Photo: Sigurlaug Linnet // mbl.is)

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