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North Atlantic Logbook

Looking at "Big Time"... from 20,000 BC onward

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Grimsvötn Lava Flood history is impressive
prehistoric, bone, totem, incised, BearGod
Grimsvötn volcano - under the Vatnajökull glacier in southeastern Iceland - has erupted periodically and often destructively. Its burst floods, created when the "kettle" of boiling water and steam under the glacial lid boils over and spills down the open flood plain of Skeíðarásandur, has swept away the main intercoastal highway and its bridges, as well as the Internet and electrical lines connecting east shore Icelandic communities to the rest of Iceland and the world.

The deeper connections of Grimsvötn to the magma chambres beneath it, and the large lava flood fields it can generate, have been part of a larger study from the University of Edinburgh titled "Historical Lava Flood Eruptions: The 1783-84 Laki and 934-40 Edlgjá Events" (presented at the 2008 IAVCEI General Assembly), authored by Thor Thorsardson of the University of Edinburgh, Gudrun Larsen of the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland; and Christopher Hamilton, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawaii. [image below is excerpted from that paper.]

In that paper are some useful references to the past eruptions of Grimsvötn, and some useful reference material for anyone who might wish some illustration of the possible forces at work. This present 2011 may prove to be a rather "tame" affair, or perhaps not. It's always helpful to be mindful of the range. [image below from above paper.]

A useful wall chart of the region (pdf) focussing upon jönkulhlaup precursors might also be interesting as a reference -


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