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Grimsvoetn volcano#

Grimsvoetn volcano
Image courtesy of NASA., under PD
On 21 May 2011, Grimsvoetn volcano rumbled to life and sent off a plume of ash and steam about 20 km (12 mi) into the atmosphere. Above Grimsvoetns summit, volcanic ash formed a circular brown plume that towered above the surrounding clouds.

In the southeast, ash colored the snow surface dark brown. Ash from the volcano also reduced visibility to about 50 m (160 ft) in some areas, causing night-like darkness in the middle of the day.

Southern coast of Iceland#

Southern coast of Iceland
Licensed under PD

A river with volcanic black sand banks meanders to the sea through farm fields near the southern coast of Iceland.

Iceland (2)#

Iceland (2)
Image courtesy of NASA., under PD
Summer is winding to a close on 9 September 2002, but even Iceland is still showing some summer color, its perimeter tinged with green, while its large permanent ice caps stand out brightly against the volcanic rock surrounding them. The largest ice cap, Vatnajokull, actually rests on top of three active volcanoes.

The heat from these volcanoes causes the underside of the ice cap to melt, slowly filling the calderas. Eventually the caldera spills over and releases a torrent of water known as a glacial melt flood. This volcanic activity happens because a tectonic boundary runs roughly northeast-southwest through the island country, and the two plates are pulling away from each other, causing magma to well up from deep in the Earth.

The brightly colored lakes and coastal waters are the result of very fine, and highly reflective sediment that is ground to bits by the immense weight of the glaciers and washed out with glacial runoff.

Thundering waters of the Gullfoss Waterfall#

Thundering waters of the Gullfoss Waterfall
Licensed under PD

The thundering waters of the Gullfoss Waterfall.

More pictures of Iceland