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Volcanic eruptions beneath the ice cap Vatnajökull

 
         
 

The volcanic rift zone of Iceland runs from the southwest to the northeast of the country, meeting the hot spot in the eastern part of the central highland. Maximum volcanic production rates are found in this area of the neovolcanic zone. Most of this region is covered by the ice cap Vatnajökull.

The rift zone is split into volcanic systems which may be defined as a "spatial grouping of eruption sites with particular tectonics, petrographic and geochemical characteristics". In some volcanic systems fissure swarms are the dominant structures, while in others the central volcano(es) is(are) more productive.

The volcanic systems below Vatnajökull have been fairly active through historical times. Available information on eruptions and associated floods are tabulated here with references.

Data on the subglacial topography of Vatnajökull has been collected and processed, leading to detailed information on subglacial volcanic eruption sites.

 

   

Available information on eruptions
and jökulhlaups

Central volcanoes:
    
 1 - Grímsvötn
      2 - Thordahyrna / Pálsfjall
      3 - Hamarinn
      4 - Bárdabunga
      5 - Kverkfjöll
      6 - Gjálp
      7 - Esjufjöll
      8 - Örćfajökull

   
   
 
 

Together with the knowlege of earthquake activity and jökulhlaups, a  map of volcanic systems and central volcanoes has been made (see figure above).

For information on a particular central volcano, click on the appropriate number in the figure or the name in the box above the figure.

 

 
         

 

 

   
 

Reported volcanic eruptions and jökulhlaups
in and from Vatnajökull

 

 

Year of eruption Volcanic System Accompanying jökulhlaup References
~

900

Veidivötn fissure swarm Bárdabunga

Larsen, 1984

~

905

Grímsvötn system

Larsen, 1982

~

940

Bárdarbunga system

Larsen, 1982
~

1000

uncertain

Larsen, 1982
~

1060

Grímsvötn system

Larsen, 1982
~

1080

Bárdarbunga system

Larsen, 1982
~

1159

Bárdarbunga system

Larsen, 1982
~

1354

Grímsvötn system

Larsen, 1982
 

1332

(Grímsvötn)

(Skeidará)

Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1341

(Grímsvötn)

Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1362

Örćfajökull

various rivers

Thórarinsson, 1958

 

1410

Bárdarbunga system

Larsen, 1982

 

1477

Veidivötn fissure swarm-Bárdabunga

Jökulsá á Fjöllum

Larsen, 1984
Larsen, 1982

~

1500

Grímsvötn system

Larsen, 1982

 

1598

Grímsvötn

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1603

Grímsvötn system

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Larsen, 1982

 

1619

Grímsvötn

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Larsen, 1982

 

1629

Grímsvötn

Skeiđará

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1638

(Grímsvötn)

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1659

Grímsvötn

Skeiđará

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1681

unknown

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1684-85

Grímsvötn system, (Dyngjufjöll)

 Thórarinsson 1950
og 1974

 

1697

Bárdarbunga system

Skeiđará

Steinthórsson, 1977

uncertain

1702

unknown

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1706

(Grímsvötn), Bárdarbunga system

 Thórarinsson, 1974 
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1707

Bárdarbunga system

Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1711-12

Bárdarbunga system

Jökulsá á Fjöllum

 Thórarinsson 1950
og  1974
Steinthórsson 1977

 
 

1716

(Grímsvötn)
Bárdarbunga system

Jökulsá á Fjöllum

 Thórarinsson 1950 og 1974,  Steinthórsson 1977

 

1717

Bárdarbunga system

Jökulsá á Fjöllum

 Thórarinsson 1950
og 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977
 Larsen 1982

 
 

1720

Bárdarbunga system

Steinthórsson, 1978

 

1725

Grímsvötn

Skeiđará

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1726

Dyngjufjöll, near Grímsvötn

Jökulsá á Fjöllum

 Thórarinsson 1950 og 1974

 

1727

Örćfajökull

various rivers

 Thórarinsson, 1974

uncertain

1729

Jökulsá á Fjöllum

 Thórarinsson 1950

 

1739

Bárdarbunga system

Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1753

Sídujökull

Djúpá, Hverfisfljót, Skaftá

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1766

Bárdarbunga system

Thjórsá

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1768

uncertain

Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1769

Grímsvötn system or
Bárdabunga system.

Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1774

Grímsvötn

Skeiđará

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1783

Grímsvötn - Laki fissure swarm

Skaftá
Thjórsá

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Thórđarson, 1990

 

1784-85

Grímsvötn system

Núpsvötn
Skeiđará

 Thórarinsson 1974
Steinthórsson 1977
 Thórarinsson, 1984
 Thórđarson, 1990

uncertain

1794

W-Vatnajökull

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1797

NW-Vatnajökull, (Dyngjuháls)

 Thórarinsson, 1974
 Jónsson 1945

uncertain

1807

(NW-Vatnajökull)

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1816

(Grímsvötn)

 Jóhannesson, 1987

 

1823

Grímsvötn-Thórdarhyrna

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1838

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1854

Grímsvötn system

Steinthórsson, 1977

uncertain

1861

(Grímsvötn)

Skeidará

Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1862-64

Tröllagígur, Bárdabungasystem

Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1867

Grímsvötn-Háabunga-Thórdarhyrna

Skeidará

Thórarinsson, 1974

uncertain

1872

(Dyngjuháls)

Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1873

Grímsvötn, (Thórdarhyrna)

Skeidará, Djúpá

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1883

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1883

Grímsvötn (Kverkfjöll)

Skeidará

 Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1887

(Thórdarhyrna)

Súla

  Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1892

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

  Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977
 Björnsson, 1988

 
 

1897

Grímsvötn

  Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1902-1903

(Dyngjuháls)

Skjálfandafjlót
 Jökulsá á Fjöllum

 Thórarinsson 1950 og 1974

 

1903

Thórdarhyrna, (Grímsvötn)

Skeiđará, Súla

  Thórarinsson, 1974
Jóhannesson, 1983

uncertain

1903

unknown

Jökulsá á Brú

 Thórarinsson, 1974

 

1910

Easternmost Loki Cauldron

  Thórarinsson, 1974
Jón Jónsson 1986

 

1922

Grímsvötn

Skeidará, Súla

Thórarinsson, 1974
  Steinthórsson, 1977

 

1927

(Esjufjöll)

Jökulsá á Breidamerkursandi

 Björnsson 1977

 

1933

unknown

Skjálfandafjlót

 Áskelsson 1936
 Jóhannesson 1983 og 1984

 
 

1933

N of Grímsvötn

 Áskelsson 1936
Jóhannesson 1983 og 1984

 
 


1934


Grímsvötn

Skeidará, Súla,Skjálfandafljót, Jökulsá á Fjöllum

Áskelsson 1936
  Thórarinsson, 1974
Steinthórsson, 1977
 Jóhannesson 1984

 
 

1938

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

  Thórarinsson, 1974

uncertain

1939

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

 Jóhannesson, 1983
Stefánson, 1983

uncertain

1941

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

Jóhannesson, 1983

uncertain

1945

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

 Áskelsson 1959
 Jóhannesson, 1983

uncertain

1954

Grímsvötn

Skeidará

 Áskelsson 1959
 Jóhannesson, 1983

 

1983

Grímsvötn

 Grönvold og
Jóhannesson, 1984
 Einarsson og
Brandsdóttir, 1984

 
uncertain

1984

Grímsvötn

uncertain

1986

Easternmost Loki Cauldron

Skaftá

 

1996

Grímsvötn

Skeidará Súla
Skjálfandafljót Jökulsá á Fjöllum
 
 

1998

Grímsvötn


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References
 
Áskelsson, Jóhannes. 1936 On the last eruptions in Vatnajökull. Soc.Sci.Isl. 18, Reykjavík, 68 pp
Áskelsson, Jóhannes. 1959. Skeiđarájökulhlaupiđ og umbrótin í Grímsvötnum 1945. Jökull  9, 22-29
 
Björnsson, Helgi. 1988. Hydrology of ice-caps in volcanic regions. Soc. Sci. Isl. 45, Reykjavík, 139 pp
 
  Björnsson, Helgi and Einarsson, Páll. 1990. Volcanoes beneath Vatnajökull, Iceland: Evidence from radio echo-sounding, earthquakes and jökulhlaups. Jökull 40, 147-168
Björnsson, Sigurđur. 1977. Jökulhlaupiđ á Breiđamerkursandi áriđ 1927. Jökull 27, 94 - 95
  Einarsson, Páll og Brandsdóttir, Bryndís. 1984. Seismic activity in Vatnajökull 1900 - 1982 with special reference to Skeiđarárhlaups, Skaftárhlaups and Vatnajökull eruptions (Jarđskjálftar í Vatnajökli 1900-1982, tengsl Theirra viđ Skeiđarárhlaup, Skaftárhlaup og eldgos í jöklinum). Jökull, 34, 141-150
 
  Grönvold, Karl and Jóhannesson, Haukur. 1984. Eruption in Grímsvötn 1983: Course of events and chemical sutdies of the tephra. Jökull 34, 1-11
Jóhannesson, Haukur. 1983. Gossaga Grímsvatna 1900-1983 í stuttu máli. (A brief review of the  volcanic activity of theGrímsvötn volcanic system 1900-1983). Jökull, 33, 146-147.
Jóhannesson Haukur. 1984. Grímsvatnagos 1933 og fleira frá Thví ári. (The Grímsvötn eruption in 1933). Jökull, 34, 151-158.
 
Jóhannesson Haukur. 1987. Grímsvatnagos 1816. Náttúrufrćđingurinn 57, 157 - 159
Jónson, Jón. 1986. Eldgós í Vatnajökli 1910. Suđurland Dec., p 13
Jónsson, Ólafur. 1945. Ódađahraun 2. bindi. Bókaútgáfan Norđri, Reykjavík, 447 pp
  Larsen, Guđrún. 1982. Gjóskutímatal Jökuldals og nágrennis. In: Eldur er í Norđri. Festschrift for Sigurđur Thórarinsson. Sölufélag, Reykjavík, p 331-335
  Larsen, Guđrún. 1984. Recent volcanic history of the Veidevötn fissure swarm, southern Iceland - an approach to volcanic risk assessment. J. of Volcanol. and Geothermal Res., 22, p 33-58
Ragnarsson, Stefán. 1983. Skeiđarárhlaupiđ 1939. (The jökulhlaup in Skeiđará in 1939). Jökull, 33, 148.
  Steinthórsson, Sigurđur. 1977. Tephra layers in a drill core from the Vatnajökull ice cap. (Gjóskulögin í Bárđarbungukjarnanum). Jökull, 27, 2-27
Thórarinsson, Sigurđur. 1950. Jökulhlaup og eldgos á Jökulvatnasvćđi Jökulsár á Fjöllum. Náttúrufrćđingurinn 20, p 113 - 133
 
Thórarinsson, Sigurđur. 1958. The Örćfajökull Eruption 1362. Acta Naturalia Islandica II, 2, 100 pp.
Thórarinsson, Sigurđur. 1974. Vötnin stríđ. Saga Skeiđarárhlaupa og Grímsvatnagosa. Bókaútgafa menningasjóđs, Reykjavík. 254 pp.
 
  Thórarinsson, Sigurđur. 1984. Annáll Skaftárelda. In: Skaftáreldar 1783 - 1784. Ritgerđir og heimildir. Mál og Menning, Reykjavík. p 11 - 35
  Thórđarson, Thórvaldur. 1990. Skaftáreldar 1783 - 1785. 4. árs ritgerđ. Háskóli Íslands, Háskólaútgáfan og Raunvísindadeild, 187 pp.
 
   
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