Eyjafjallajokull

You know the one! The towering glacier-capped strata volcano Eyjafjallajokull is probably the most famous volcano in the world today.

Eyjafjallajokull is one of the smaller ice caps of Iceland. The volcano has erupted relatively frequently since the last glacial period, most recently in 2010. Eyjafjallajokull consists of a volcano completely covered by an ice cap. The ice cap covers an area of about 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi), feeding many outlet glaciers. The main outlet glaciers are to the north: Gigjokull, flowing into Lonid, and Steinholtsjokull, flowing into Steinholtslon. The mountain itself, a stratovolcano, stands 1,651 metres (5,417 ft) at its highest point, and has a crater 3–4 kilometres (1.9–2.5 mi) in diameter, open to the north.

On March 20, 2010, after being dormant for more than 180 years, Eyjafjallajokull began spewing molten lava in an uninhabited area in south-west Iceland. On April 14, 2010, after a brief intermission, the volcano resumed erupting from the top crater in the centre of the glacier causing flooding which required an evacuation of 800 people. This second eruption threw volcanic ash several kilometres up in the atmosphere, which led to air travel disruption in north-west Europe for six days from 15 April to 21 April 2010 and again, in May 2010, including the closure of airspace over many parts of Europe. The eruptions also created electrical storms. On 23 May 2010, the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Commission declared the eruption to have stopped. The volcano continued to have several earthquakes daily, with volcanologists watching the volcano closely. As of August 2010, Eyjafjallajökull was considered dormant.

Today the aftermath of the volcanic eruption can be seen in Thorsmork Glacier Valley, the natural oasis that lies just behind the volcano.

 

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