Report on Grimsvotn (Iceland) — 2 November-8 November 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
2 November-8 November 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Grimsvotn (Iceland). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 November-8 November 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
64.416°N, 17.316°W; summit elev. 1719 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 9 November Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) lowered the Aviation Color Code for Grímsvötn to Green (the lowest level on a four-color scale) noting no short-term increases in activity, though long-term trends remained above background levels. Seismicity continued to be characterized as unusual, with an increasing number of earthquakes that were also intensifying over the past months. The levels of deformation had already exceeded the level measured before the last eruption in 2011.
Geological Summary. Grímsvötn, Iceland's most frequently active volcano in recent history, lies largely beneath the vast Vatnajökull icecap. The caldera lake is covered by a 200-m-thick ice shelf, and only the southern rim of the 6 x 8 km caldera is exposed. The geothermal area in the caldera causes frequent jökulhlaups (glacier outburst floods) when melting raises the water level high enough to lift its ice dam. Long NE-SW-trending fissure systems extend from the central volcano. The most prominent of these is the noted Laki (Skaftar) fissure, which extends to the SW and produced the world's largest known historical lava flow in 1783. The 15 km3 basaltic Laki lavas were erupted over a 7-month period from a 27-km-long fissure system. Extensive crop damage and livestock losses caused a severe famine that resulted in the loss of one-fifth of the population of Iceland.