Minimize Vatnajökull - Iceland, October/November 1996
Vatnojoekull eruption

Late on the evening of 30 September 1996, an eruption started beneath the Vatnajökull glacier in central Iceland. A fissure 4km long under the ice heated the glacier, and caused part of it to melt.

Vatnajoekull Map

By 14 October, the eruption was effectively over, but the trapped meltwater had raised the level of the Grímsvötn lake by some 100 m by the time it eventually broke out to the south, causing devastating floods in the Skei?arársandur region before draining into the Atlantic Ocean.

Vatnajoekull map

This map shows the affected regions. The map was scanned from aeronautical maps of the area and shows elevations in feet - divide by three to get a rough equivalent in metres.

The Vatnajökull glacier is the largest glacier in Iceland, covering more than 10,000 square km. The smaller rectangle marked on the map shows the approximate location of the volcanic event, and measures about 20 x 20 km.

The Eruption

Learn more about the eruption and view a series of SAR images acquired by the ERS-1 and 2 satellites. Also featured are interferometric views of the eruption, compiled using ERS data.

The Flood

Learn more about the flooding caused by the melting ice and view ERS SAR images of the area before and after the flooding.