Icelandic Eruptions All Done – For Now

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This table shows how the quality of each CREST model input varies at differing spatial resolutions (2m, 30m, 90m, and 2m resampled to 90m). The Drainage Direction Map (DDM), produced with the D8 algorithm, shows flow direction of each cell to the steepest adjacent slope, and the Flow Accumulation Map (FAM) displays surface rainfall from each upslope cell. Data sources included the U.S. Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Geological Survey and NASA.
Google earth image of the volcano erupting.

Photo Source: Google Earth Blog

Compared to the more impressive explosion at Eyjafjallaj̦kull Volcano in 2010, the ash plume that erupted from Grimsvotn was relatively small. Still, photography from land and from orbit provided intriguing visuals for both tourists and researchers. For example, Google Earth offers up an opportunity to “fly through the visualization to see how the ash spreads differently at different elevations, and you can also animate the entire cloud to see it in motion.”

NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), aboard the Terra platform, shows the towering ash plume at 1:00 p.m. local time on May 21, 2011. Beneath the ash plume, you can see clouds as well as lingering snow. In the lower right portion of the image, you can see brown ash covering the Vatnajokull Glacier near the Atlantic coast.

Satellite photo of the ICelandic volcano erupting. Photo Source: NASA

Photo Source: NASA

According to the Iceland Review, the recent eruption is likely to be just one in a series. The site quotes geologist Helgi Bj̦rnsson: ‰ÛÏWhat our studies have shown and what we believe will come true is that there will be increased volcanic activity in GrÌ_msv̦tn until the middle of this century, perhaps peaking mid-century, but then it will subside.”

While rapid-fire volcanic eruptions may not be ideal for air travel, some believe that the outcomes will include increased ecotourism in Iceland. According to, which offers a list of Top Volcano Destinations, “Last year’s Eyjafjallaj̦kull Volcano also affected booking earlier but the volcano became the center of attraction and brought Iceland on the world tourism map.” This year’s eruption promises to have a similar attractive power – a very good thing, assuming that tourists keep a safe distance from the pyrotechnics.