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Volcanic Eruption by Vatnajökull Glacier Imminent?

Hundreds of small earthquakes have been detected in the region Upptyppingar since Friday last week, located about 20 kilometers east of the volcano Askja and north of Vatnajökull glacier. Experts say a volcanic eruption may follow. Most of the earthquakes occurred at a depth of 13 to 15 kilometers. If their source moves closer to the surface by a few kilometers, the likelihood of a volcanic eruption increases. There were, however, fewer earthquakes in the area on Thursday than in the days before, but that may only be a temporary condition. The area north of Vatnajökull glacier is volcanically active though there has not been an eruption there for 1,000 years. The volcano Askja last erupted in 1961. Because geologists have no experience of volcanic eruptions in Upptyppingar, it is difficult for them to predict whether there will be an eruption there in the near future. Other signs are likely to appear before an eruption begins, like shallower earthquakes. Upptyppingar is a popular tourist spot in summer but few go there in winter. No one lives nearby, so a volcanic eruption would probably not cause much danger or damage. Never the less, the area will continue to be under surveillance.


NASA/Earth Observatory
Differences between the number of melting days in various parts of Greenland in 2007 and the average number of melting days from 1988 to 2006

Molten Lava May Be Melting Greenland's Ice Cap - Global warming may not be the only thing melting Greenland. Scientists have found at least one natural magma hotspot under the Arctic island that could be pitching in. In recent years, Greenland's ice has been melting more and flowing faster into the sea — a record amount of ice melted from the frozen mass this summer — and Earth's rising temperatures are suspected to be the main culprit. But clues to a new natural contribution to the melt arose when scientists discovered a thin spot in the Earth's crust under the northeast corner of the Greenland Ice Sheet where heat from Earth's insides could seep through. The corner of Greenland where the hotspot was found had no known ice streams, rivers of ice that run through the main ice sheet and out to sea, until one was discovered in 1991. What exactly caused the stream to form was uncertain. "Ice streams have to have some reason for being there, and it's pretty surprising to suddenly see one in the middle of the ice sheet." The newly discovered hotspot, where Earth's crust is thinner allowing hot magma from Earth's mantle to come closer to the surface, is just below the ice sheet and could have caused it to form. What caused the hotspot to suddenly form is another mystery. "It could be that there's a volcano down there, but we think it's probably just the way the heat is being distributed by the rock topography at the base of the ice."

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