Iceland eruption stable for now, producing less ash

The eruption taking place at Grimsvotn, underneath Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier, is currently stable and the ash and smoke plume is reaching a height of some 10 km. This is lower than at the peak on Saturday night.

Emergency services co-ordinators in Reykjavik say that local teams in the southeast have been able to respond to all calls for help and all farms in the area have been visited. Dust masks have been provided to those in the worst affected areas and rescue workers helped some farmers to herd their animals back inside.

There has still been no glacial flooding which usually occurs within 10-12 hours of an eruption at Grimsvotn. As a glacial flood occurred without an eruption in 2010, glaciologists now believe there may be no flooding at all this time. The situation is being monitored and roads in the area closed.

Route 1 is closed from Vik i Myrdal all the way east to the south of Vatnajokull; Europe’s biggest glacier, which is inside Europe’s biggest national park bearing the same name. The road closure was originally a precaution against the expected flooding, but is now necessary due to poor visibility caused by ash.

RUV reports that drinking water to the 1,000 local residents most affected is still safe and that several tonnes of water have been sent to the area just in case. Emergency community centres were open on Saturday but it was not considered necessary last night.

According to the Earth Sciences department of the University of Iceland, Grimsvotn was producing 10,000 tonnes of ash, smoke, lava and vapour per second at its peak on Saturday. That had dropped to 2,000-5,000 tonnes per second by yesterday afternoon. The eruption is currently stable.

The photo with this article shows the ash cloud reaching Reykjavik yesterday evening. This live webcam from the city centre shows that there is no ash fall any more and that it is a fairly standard Monday in the city. Ash has fallen in small amounts over much of the country, with the exception of west Iceland and the Westfjords. Ash fall in the worst affected areas, including the small town in Kirkjubaejarklaustur, continues and visibility is extremely poor.

See a truly mesmerising 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

(Photo: KMH // IceNews)

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