Flooding began in the Gigjukvisl river in the south of Iceland last week after a small earthquake occurred at the Grímsvötn volcano in Vatnajökull.
Gunnar Sigurdsson, a Hydrographic specialist working for the Icelandic Met Office (Vedurstofa Islands), told mbl.is that it may take 4-5 days for the flooding to reach a peak. Sigurdsson said, “The river flow is currently measuring 140 cubic meters per second which is about two times higher than a normal glacial river but it is still not very high compared to other floods. However, I except this number to increase over the coming days.” Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, also told mbl.is that the likelihood of the Grímsvötn volcano erupting following the end of the flood is not unlikely, although, it is somewhat difficult to predict at this early stage.
“In 2004, sufficient pressure accumulated in the magma chamber under Grímsvötn volcano. The same thing is happening now – there is currently a lot of magma in the magma chamber under pressure and it is therefore possible that the events of 2004 will repeat themselves.” (The flood in 2004 lasted five days and ended with an eruption that disrupted European air traffic) Hydrographic specialists will continue to monitor the flood and activity at the Grímsvötn volcano will also be monitored.
Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier: www.vatnajokull.is/english/