Volcano Alert : Grímsvötn (Iceland)

The volcano alert level of Grímsvötn was raised from yellow to orange this morning, December 6, following a magnitude 3.6 earthquake that has been followed by a few aftershocks.

Grímsvötn is a subglacial volcano where water, that melts due to the heat rising up from the geothermal area builds up over time below the ice cap. This water usually releases in glacier floods (aka. jökulhlaup) that take place every 2-3 years. 

Grímsvötn is situated below the NW part of Vatnajökull glacier and is the most active volcano in Iceland, erupting every 10 years on average. It is considered to be right on top of the massive mantle plume rising up from the depths of the Earth below Iceland, continuously building up volcanic pressure. 

Under the right conditions, e.g. when the volcano has been building pressure for some time without erupting, a glacier flood from Grímsvötn can release a lot of pressure (imagine the weight of more than 1 square kilometer of water and ice) and this sudden pressure release can trigger a subsequent volcanic eruption.

@ Icelandic Lava Show

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