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Grimsvotn Volcano Iceland
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Grimsvotn Volcano, Iceland

November 12, 2004
Iceland's Grimsvotn Volcano began erupting on November 2, 2004, forcing officials to divert air traffic from the region to prevent ash from damaging aircraft engines. The volcano sits beneath the Vatnajokull Ice Cap, Europe's largest glacier, and is Iceland's most frequently active volcano. This eruption may be connected to the draining of a glacier lake in the volcano's caldera. Buried under a 200-meter thick ice shelf, the lake is under extreme pressure. Melting water fills the lake, and when levels are high enough, the water lifts the ice dam, draining the lake. Grimsvotn Lake drained in mid-October, lifting some of the pressure from the volcano. The flood was followed by a series of earthquakes, and on November 2, an eruption. As of November 3, the eruption was still occurring, and ash was reported to have drifted as far northeast as Finland. The Terra MODIS instrument captured these views of the erupting volcano.


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