diamond geezer

 Monday, June 27, 2011

Walkabout on the lava-filled lakebed beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, then a jeep ride down the valley fording meltwater streams.

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland (one year on)
Eyjafjallajökull's main outlet glacier, Gígjökull

Remember all that flight disruption last year? This is the culprit, this is Eyjafjallajökull. When the volcano erupted in 2010 it sent a plume of fine ash high into the atmosphere, threatening an entire continent's jet engines. It also heated the glacier which covers the volcano, 200 metres deep, sending torrents of meltwater down the Markarfljot valley. This photo shows the snout of Eyjafjallajökull's main main outlet glacier, Gígjökull. The glacier used to be sparkling and white, but is now dirty and impregnated with ash. In the foreground there used to be a large meltwater lake, but that's been completely filled in by several metres of ash, creating an eerie grey volcanic landscape topped with an unstable layer of grey. Here and there the ground has subsided, creating a deep pit in the ash, and these holes are likely to grow and coalesce until the rocky surface where I was standing to take this photo no longer exists. [five photos] [nearby waterfall]

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