Iceland volcano intensity dropping fast

The eruption at southeast Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano has been getting steadily weaker since yesterday. The ash plume is now reaching a height of three-to-five kilometres and the production of volcanic material is massively lower than at the weekend. A very strong northerly breeze is still blowing in the area, which is drawing ash to the south; but the wind speed is expected to drop later today, according to the Icelandic Met Office.

Every second, 100 tonnes of volcanic ash, lava, gases and vapour are being produced by the Grimsvotn volcano. Yesterday evening that figure stood at 1,000 tonnes per second. And the volcano was producing 10-20 thousand tonnes of material per second on Sunday. Activity within the crater itself has not diminished, however.

There have been no deep earthquakes or lightening around the volcano since the middle of yesterday. The ash plume is now down to three-to-five kilometres high, compared to eight at the same time yesterday, Visir.is reports.

Geomorphologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson says that there is enough ice in the Vatnajokull glacier to prevent the formation of a new visible vent and that while lava flow cannot be ruled out completely, it seems most likely that it will remain a purely ash eruption throughout.

Volcanoes are extremely difficult to predict; but Grimsvotn is known for its explosive starts. It is considered quite possible that nearly all negative effects of the volcano will be over for local residents and airline passengers alike very soon, but that the eruption itself will not be declared over for several months. It is therefore possible that the eruption could become a tourist attraction of sorts. It is, however, impossible to accurately predict what will happen at this stage.

See a video of the volcano taken on Saturday by Stod 2’s Jon Olafur Magnusson, here. The music is Saeglopur by Sigur Ros.

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

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