Grimsvotn volcano erupts in Iceland
May 21st, 2011
05:36 PM ET

Grimsvotn volcano erupts in Iceland

[Update: 6:57 p.m ET]

The Grimsvotn volcano under the Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland was erupting Saturday, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

A dark cloud of smoke was rising from the glacier, and scientists were flying over the scene to evaluate the event, according to CNN affiliate TV2 Iceland.

The last eruption of the volcano was in 2004, TV2 Iceland reported.

Last year, another Icelandic eruption, of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull, attracted worldwide attention after its ash cloud disrupted air travel across Europe.

Sitrun Kapitola, manager of the Islandia Hotel Nupar, which is close to Saturday's eruption, said she could see a cloud of smoke over the mountains, and ash was falling around the hotel.

Police were telling her and others that there was no need to evacuate and there was nothing to fear, Kapitola said.

"We see it very well," she said.

"It's nothing compared to the other one," she added, referring to last year's dramatic eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull.

Tourists at the hotel were excited to see the eruption, watching the events unfold while eating dinner, she said.

"It happens every 10 years," she said. "It mostly produces water."

Grimsvotn is Iceland's most frequently active volcano. In 1783, a 16.7-mile fissure system from the volcano produced the world's largest known historical lava flow over a seven-month period, damaging crops and livestock, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. A resulting famine resulted in the loss of one-fifth of Iceland's population, according to the Smithsonian website.

The eruption is small, an eyewitness at a hotel within eye shot of the volcano told CNN.  "It's nothing compared to the other one," said hotel manager Sitrun Kapitola, referring to the Eyjafjallajkull volcano, which erupted in 2010 and stopped air traffic in Europe.

Grímsvötn is located in Vatnajökull Glacier, which is the largest ice cap in Europe. Geologists have been expecting an eruption after monitoring seismic activity for some time.

While a plume of ash is visible from a distance, it is still too early to tell how big of an eruption it will be, reports Ice News, quoting Icelandic police.

The Grímsvötn volcano last erupted in 2004.

Iceland has experienced several earthquakes within the past 48 hours. Authorities are watching for a quake-driven flash flood, called a joklahlaup.

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Filed under: Volcanoes • World
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. Pix

    Ummm...didn't Old Weird Harold *get* all of his predictions *from* the Bible?
    It's open for interpretation, and he did just that.
    Just as everybody who says "it's all in the Bible" does.

    Hope Iceland can endure this latest installment of WHAT HAPPENS THERE FREQUENTLY!!!

    May 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • gypsum

      i know right.......aparently we have had an apocalypse every ten years.......who knew

      May 22, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sverrrir

    You can see it here

    May 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RobertInFlorida

    I still have gas

    May 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ellis

    Pix picks his nose

    May 22, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ellis


    May 22, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. god

    See and some of you thought that preacher was just blowin hot air i will show you hot air

    May 22, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. god

    Watchout you nonbelevers

    May 22, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gordon Wagner

    How about a PHOTO? I think you can do that on the web these days...

    May 22, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy

    I'm glad there was minimal damage and no loss of life.

    Once again, same as it ever was, here.

    May 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |

      It's a great thing that minimal damage occurred.
      I've traveled to Iceland, but never seen this area.... now I'm going to be more cautious next time.

      July 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Geneo

    Anybody blamed Bush for this yet?

    May 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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