Vatnajökull ice cap

February 24, 2005


Provided by: Helgi Gardarsson
Summary authors & editors: Helgi Gardarsson; Jim Foster

The above photo showing part of the Vatnajökull Ice Cap in southeast Iceland was taken February 5, 2005. This impressive ice cap is the largest in Europe and covers an area of about 8,100 square kilometers (3,127 square miles). Vatnajökull encompasses about 8% of Iceland and has an average thickness of approximately 400 m (1,312 ft). Seven volcanoes lie beneath this huge cap, including Grimsvotn, Iceland's most frequently active volcano. When Grimsvotn erupts, large volumes of glacial melt-water partially fill its caldera. As pressure from the melt-water increases, catastrophic outburst floods periodically occur.

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