One of our readers sent us this video that he shot of the eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano, situated under a glacial lake of the same name in Iceland. The volcano erupted on 21st of May and managed to release more ash in 48 hours than Eyjafjallajökull did during its entire eruption last year, which has earned it 4 (VEI4) rating on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. The volcano is currently busy disrupting air travel in Iceland, Greenland, Scotland and Norway.
The video was shot using Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc in 720p by Thor E. Bachmann. It was taken a mere 1km away from the volcano from the top of Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Iceland. Now usually you would need to add a couple of zeros to that figure to consider it a safe distance, but due to the peculiar nature of the volcano, i.e., it being situated under a lake, it seems to be relatively safe to be in such close proximity to it. Not entirely safe though – “…we were getting some ash fall and lava rocks were hitting us frequently”, said the author of the video.
Thor also adds a fun fact from his experience:
…I actually dropped the phone while filming at one point, it skid across the glacier in the storm heading for the ash plume that turned day into night… I caught it after running for half a minute…
It survived without a scratch. That was the only time I’ve cursed the lightweight of the phone…
Now our reader’s name would typically be a pretty good explanation of the lightnings in the air, but he adds there’s a perfectly scientific explanation:
These are lightnings because of extreme hot lava ash colliding with cold air (keeping in mind that the plume rises to 20 km in the air). Specialists are saying that they have never experienced so much disturbance in the air before around an eruption.
Thor also sent us several shots from the place, taken with the same Xperia Arc cameraphone (we’ve downsized them to 1000px):