Grimsvotn volcanic eruption in Iceland officially declared finished

Scientists declared yesterday that the volcanic eruption at Grimsvotn in southeast Iceland is officially over. They set the date and time of the official end of the eruption at 07.00 on Saturday, 28th May.

A situation report from the Icelandic Met Office and the University of Iceland Department of Earth Sciences states that by 06.30 on Saturday, volcanic activity at Grimsvotn had decreased massively and had stopped altogether at 07.00. The intensity of the eruption had been extremely low since Thursday, mbl.is reported.

The delay in declaring the official end of the eruption was partly due to its inaccessible location, under Europe’s largest glacier; but also because scientists need to be totally certain they are not speaking too soon. Yesterday expedition leaders of the Glacier Research Association of Iceland (GRAI) were able to confirm the end of the eruption visually when they arrived at Grimsvotn on their spring visit. There is a research station at Grimsvotn and accommodation for scientists. The station even has what GRAI members claim to be the world’s highest steam room. Hot water is abundant, but cold water can only be obtained by melting glacial ice (when it is not covered in volcanic ash).

In other news, scientists have discovered that a tracking device at the volcano moved 50 centimetres towards the crater and 25 centimetres downwards when the eruption began. The amount of movement came as a surprise and it is hoped that monitoring the devices closely will be able to give advanced warning of upcoming eruptions in the future and/or confirm the exact time a new eruption starts.

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