Flood from Bárðarbunga May Be Imminent

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Flood from Bárðarbunga May Be Imminent

The Eyjafjalljökull eruption in 2010

From the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

As reported, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson said that a significant amount of ice has melted in Vatnajökull, yet earthquake monitors show no signs of a big eruption in Bárðarbunga.

“Around 30-40 million cubic meters [1,1-1,4 billion cubic feet] of water have flowed from under there but we don’t know whether this has been happening in the past days or just today [yesterday]. However, by what we can see on earthquake monitors there are no indications of a great volcanic eruption taking place,” Magnús stated.

“We don’t know what has happened with this water, whether it is flowing somewhere now or whether it has flowed down to Grímsvötn. We will have to find out once further observations have been made, he concluded.

After carrying out a surveillance flight on TF-SIF yesterday, scientists said that a row of four 10-15 m deep cauldrons (also known as lows or calderas) have formed in Vatnajökull glacier, cautiously indicating that an eruption may have started or may already have taken place.

Should the water flow to Grímsvötn, glacial lakes on Vatnajökull, that might indicate a possible flood to the south or southwest of the glacier as happened in Gjálp in 1996 when a bridge was swept away, thus closing the Icelandic Ring Road temporarily.

Up until now, most scientists and the Civil Protection Department have worried about a big flood in Jökulsá á Fjöllum, a glacial river to the north of Vatnajökull.

A new surveillance flight is planned at 9:00 am this morning.

The area directly north of Vatnajökull is still closed for safety reasons.

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