Record of Recent Volcanic Eruptions in Icelandic Icebergs

March 04, 2024


Photographer: Carlos Di Nallo   
Summary Authors: Dr. José Pablo López; Carlos Di Nallo 

By exploring this beautiful iceberg in the Jokulsarlon Lagoon of Iceland it’s possible to observe the record of explosive volcanic eruptions. Interspersed between the layers of pure ice, with their eye-catching bluish colors, other layers with charcoal and grayish tones (center) correspond to accumulations of volcanic ash expelled by explosive volcanic eruptions. The ash was deposited on the frozen surface of a glacier, and eventually, upon reaching the lagoon, broke off forming this iceberg, which stands over 100 ft (30 m) tall.

The development period of a valley glacier in Iceland is of the order of a few hundred years (generally 200 to 400 years), from the time snow falls in the accumulation zone, upper part of the glacier, to the time it reaches the ablation zone, at the foot of the glacier. Ash layers trapped in the iceberg allow us to gain important details about the origin and magnitude of the volcanic process as well as valuable information about its chemical composition and likely impact on the environment during the recent past. Photo taken on September 30, 2023.

Jokulsarlon Lagoon, Iceland Coordinates: 64.070278, -16.211667

Related Links:
Jokulsarlon Iceberg Lagoon, Iceland
Icelandic Eruption and Crescent Moon