Icy eruption

Published: Friday 15 November 1996

a volcanic eruption under Europe's largest glacier -- Vatnajokul -- threatens to cause massive flooding across Iceland's southern plains. The eruptions which began early last month are filling the Grimsvoetn subglacial lake with water and could eventually crack the icy cap of the glacier. "The lake rose some 80 metres in the first four days of eruption, but we believe it has increased perhaps by 15 meters in the five days since," said Magnus Gudmundsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland. The volcano below the 200 km glacier continues to spew huge clouds of gas and steam. Barriers have been enforced along river banks in anticipation of the expected torrent of water and Icelanders are ready to dig channels through roads in the threatened region to let the water have a free flow.

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