Volcano near Eyjafjallajökull

Last night a volcano erupted near Eyjafjallajökull, a glacier in Iceland. A few hundred have been evacuated from nearby homes, and flights grounded. I was not far from there in 2006 and again in 2008, and the photo attached was taken near a waterfall which runs off from the glacier.

Rainbow at the Seljalandfoss waterfall near Highway 1

Iceland is a volcanic island, so eruptions are to be expected - but there is the added hazard of a volcano near a glacier causing a melt, a so called jökullhaup. This is a dramatic event, and the road at the south of the island shows the result of such an event. The landscape is scraped clean, and there is evidence by the roadside showing the power of the geological event, as girders used in manufacturing bridges over the many streams have been installed by the roadside as a token of the last event. When these events happen, it takes time to melt the ice, and so there is enough time to move people.

Girders on Skeiðarársandur

Eumetsat has satellite photos from last night, taken from an equatorial geosynchronous satellite, showing the Ash cloud appearing in the early hours of the morning. Latest photos are here.

Icelandic Ash as seen from satellite

The black spot is the ash cloud which emerged from the volcano.

I've seen a few odd comments online about this (I won't dignify with a link). It's nothing to do with alignments of planets and gravitational tugs thereof, nor is it evidence for or against man-made global warming. Frankly, both of these would be laughable assertions, if they weren't so earnestly held.

Via Bjarki, I learn some more details. The rift is 1km long and between two glaciers (though it can spread along the faultline). Photos are available here, and video here. The evacuation is complete, and emergency centres opened in three nearby villages, Hvolsvöllur, Hella and Vík.