Flowing lava is spreading fast North of Vatnajokull glacier. Lava has already flowed into Jokulsa river in which the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall is found. PIC Bruce McAdam

Flowing lava is spreading fast North of Vatnajokull glacier. Lava has already flowed into Jokulsa river in which the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall is found. PIC Bruce McAdam

T here is no shortage of fantastic photos, videos and interactive maps showing interested parties exactly what is happening in the volatile area in Vatnajokull glacier and North of that same glacier. But what´s with all the different and confusing names?

Anyone that has followed the rumblings and rifts forming in in Iceland these last few weeks has probably heard about Drekagil canyon, Holuhraun rift, Vatnajokull glacier, Dyngjujokull glacier, Grimsvotn lakes, Bardarbunga volcano and Askja volcano. Why can´t it be something as simple as Eyjafjallajokull glacier ;).

Well, in Iceland names have been given to most areas of the country down to the smallest dust or grain of sand. Almost. This can be quite confusing for foreign visitors to comprehend. For example, both Bardarbunga and Dyngjujokull are in reality a part of Vatnajokull glacier itself although Bardarbunga is the name of a specific old volcano hidden underneath the glacier. Dyngjujokull is simply the northernmost tongue of ice sliding from Vatnajokull.

We have marked the different places on the map below but as of this moment it´s anybody´s guess what happens next. The fissure in Holuhraun, hard to translate but Lavahole is the exact translation, is continuing to gush forth tons of lava and that flow has reached almost 20 square miles at time of writing. It has actually reached the glacial Jokulsa river which feeds, among others, the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall. In fact, some predict the flow of lava to continue for years even. That will certainly close down a huge chunk of land for tourism or anything else in the near future and have massive implications.

Likewise rumblings and earthquakes are non-stop at Bardarbunga volcano and scientists fear that could turn into eruption at any time. Most likely that would be a tremendous volcano and ash clouds would follow. Worst perhaps, not an eruption per se but the tremendous amount of poisonous gases gushing forth as well. Already, people in the East of the country are experiencing deteriorating air as dangerous gases from Holuhraun fissure are blown eastward. And that is just a fissure.

Interesting times here in Iceland folks 😉


View The volatile volcanic area in Iceland in a larger map