Oh No! It’s Happening Again!

Farmer Erlendur Björnsson and his wife Þórunn Júlíusdóttir were in Reykjavík celebrating their son’s high school graduation when the subglacial volcano Grímsvötn began erupting on Saturday evening. “We were eating dinner when we got the message and we simply thought, ‘Grímsvötn, that’s nothing. It has erupted over the last few decades and we’ve never had any ash.’”

While Grímsvötn is Iceland’s most active volcano, its eruptions have typically been small and short-lived. Not overly concerned, Erlendur and Þórunn left Reykjavík just after midnight, got back to their farm Seglbúðir at 3:30 AM, and went to sleep. In retrospect they said they were fortunate to get back that night while it was still possible to see through the ash.

The eruption turned out to be ten times larger than the 2004 Grímsvötn eruption, and it produced more ash in the first 24 hours than the entire forty day long Eyjafjallajökull eruption, which just one year ago paralysed air traffic and stranded travellers all over Europe.

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