What if all the ice at Vatnajökull should suddenly melt?

What if all the ice at Vatnajökull should suddenly melt?

The Bardarbunga volcano caldera lies under a 700-meter-thick ice cover,

says reader Markus Free. A flow of magma there can happen since it looks like crust is breaking and moving to that area.

700 meters! That’s 2296 feet – almost a half-a-mile, straight up – of ice!

Even if the volcano does not erupt catastrophically, what would happen if all of that ice should suddenly melt?

Sea-level rise, perhaps?

Ah, but I forget. Sea-level rise only counts if it was caused by humans.

Vatnajökull – Map of earthquakes during the last 48 hours

Vatnajökull earthquakes past 48 hrs-21Aug14


Thanks to Markus Free for this link

32 thoughts on “What if all the ice at Vatnajökull should suddenly melt?”

  1. I have been watching this since before the swarms started. The earthquakes where forming a line from west to east across the bottom 1/3 of Iceland and they were getting stronger. I thought if the quakes kept going the island would split but they stopped then Vatnajökull started swarming. At the web site Iceland geology, Jon Frimann states that “There are now clues that Bárðarbunga volcano caldera is getting lower.” and “There has also formed a 25 km long dyke trench in the crust that goes north-east at the moment.”


    This one has me a little scared.

  2. The Vatna Glacier is the largest in Iceland.
    Area 13,600 km.
    Over 3,100 cubic Km. of ice.
    Average thickness of the glacier is over 900m.
    What happens when melted magma rips through nearly half a mile of ice?
    Is it possible that we may soon see the largest steam explosion in historic times? Only time will tell.

  3. Here’s a thing what was the tipping point if you pump a sudden hundred of tones of fresh water into the north Atlantic gulf stream that’s right it shut it down so evidence has proven if a sudden huge in flux of fresh water that shut up the alarmists if it goes here comes the mini ice age

  4. It isn’t sea-level rise or Iceland splitting into separate parts….it’s all that freshwater that gets dumped into the North Atlantic, diluting the saltwater’s heat carrying capability. That could interrupt the ‘Atlantic conveyor’.

    see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_conveyor_belt

    Probably what has help seriously trigger, along with the Sun, ice ages in the past….when all “the stars were aligned”.

    • If the crust cracks and the water rushes into the molten lava it can create a massive explosion. Read up about the smallish Mammoth craters and imagine 100x worse.

    • was at north palm beach last weekend, funny, we used to float north as we swam since 1960 till, well, not now, what happened to the current?

  5. look to history to see what has taken place before, for instance the lowering of the temperature in the northern hemisphere, reduced food production, poison gas clouds and more, this event has the potential to change the world in the most dramatic of ways – an ash cloud disrupting air travel would be the least of our worries

  6. Did you see where Lund University, Sweden has found a remarkable find??
    WOW!! Sun activity was responsible for the last Great Ice Age(LOL).

    See Ya

  7. If you lower the mountains and raise the valleys across the globe to the same level you would have over 1 mile depth of water across the globe.
    If it were to melt would only give more water to be froze north and south.

  8. My thoughts – which could be completely wrong. Happy to be corrected.

    If large amount ice of suddenly melts, I imagine there would be dramatic increase in precipitation. As snow, it could have a significant albedo affect.

    If it is cold enough at the time of eruption there could be a large sudden increase in ‘lake effect’ snow, and a significant unmixed freshwater layer around the coast which is much easier to freeze, creating large local sea ice extent.

    As for sea level rise, even if 11 cubic KM of ice melted, and flowed to the coast, it would add grand total of 30 microns to global sea level.

    • The only problem I see is that Iceland glaciers are not large enough to cause any major disruptions due to ice melting only.
      Now, the cooling potential of a powerful eruption, like VEI6+, on our *present situation* (low solar cycle + all oceans already cooling + polar icecaps already rebounding or systematically increasing + NH snowfall amounts getting larger in recent winters + record cold temps being measured in both poles, etc.) I believe it’d accelerate the cooling like the huge La Nina of 1999-2001 but times 2 or 3, like pushing a vehicle downhill that is already starting to move.

      • We’d have a “first glimpse” of what LIA conditions mean for a couple of years after the explosion, then the temperatures would gradually return to normal, but the “normal” would already be shifted to 0.2-to-0.5 C below our present levels.
        A typical case of step change, I think.
        It’d be a very interesting climatic event, if it happened.

  9. According to Britannica from the link above, the whole glacier has (8,400 square km) with an average ice thickness of more than 3,000 feet (900 Metres) meaning there is 7840 cubic km of ice. Total global surface area of oceans according to Wikipedia is 361 million sq k. Breaking down 1 cubic km of ice into 0.1 mm cubes you will get 10 million so were looking at 78 million sq k covered with an added depth of 0.1 mm. So flatten 78.4 million sq k of 0.1 mm thickness out to sit on top of 378 million. You are looking at 0.002 millimeters of sea level rise, and that’s if all the ice melted from the whole glacier which it would not. You can not even measure that so don’t let any warmists tell you otherwise when any old glacier retreats a bit.

    • Actually would be even less than 0.002 millimeters because water expands when it becomes ice. So 7840 cubic km of ice will not equal 7840 cubic km of water. Might not be much less because of how compact it becomes. Can anyone answer that?

      • Would have to get the Co2 and ash content for starters. Then calculate the actual melt off verse evaporation.
        Who knows lol

  10. at 7pm aussie time east coast the quakepage for there showed they had a 5 quake in the last 12 hrs
    biggest yet by far. if things subside into the magma they wont stay down long,
    be a spectacular steam and other debris coming right back up ..fast! id reckon.
    at least their govt is on the ball evacced early and dont muck around.

  11. The quakes are not only increaing but also getting bigger in magnitude. A 4.7 magnitude qauke occurred last night at Bárðarbunga volcano caldera! Not a good sign!

  12. Based on the documentaries I have seen over the years losing the ice sheet would allow the volcanoes under the ice to erupt much more easily than with the weight and coldness of the ice on top. The glacier acts like a cork in the bottle of champagne. Release the cork and the fire works start. The only problem with that theory is that there are other volcanoes in Iceland that are not covered in ice and they are not erupting all the time. An example is Hecla. No ice and no eruption yet. Could it be that there is not enough pressure to drive significant amounts of magma up the mantle plume because it is being relieved all along the Mid Atlantic ridge?

    • The Antarctic holds over 90% of the planets ice. Greenland holds most of the rest. R.O.W. contains a relatively small percentage of ice compared to the “Big Two”

  13. Observations are now showing the beginning of deflation in the caldera. There is a 25 kilometer dyke (or trench) under the ice where magma is flowing.

    Deflation is not a good thing – lets hope it stabilizes. The last thing that the planet need would be a caldera collapse with all that ice on top.
    The resulting phreatic explosion and then eruption would be catastrophic. You would hear the bang both in the lower 48 and Europe.

    If reports are issued of rapidly continuing Bardarbunga volcano caldera deflation be prepared to start to hold goodbye parties.

    Another reminder. The largest eruption of the Holocene (this era) was at the Bardarbunga volcano caldera

  14. It is erupting now. If it is a moderate size eruption it should melt through the ice in about 24 hours.

  15. ALERT! Color Code now raised to Red! It is believed that a small subglacial lava-eruption has begun under the Dyngjujökull glacier. The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to RED.

  16. Volcanic eruption in Iceland has begun. A small lava-erupti­on has been detected und­er the Dyngju­jök­ull glacier. Dyngju­jök­ull is a part Vatna­jök­ull, not far from Bárðarbunga. The aviation color code for the Bárðarbunga volcano has been changed from orange to red.
    Scientists at the Icelandic Met Office believe that a small sub-glacial volcanic eruption has now started under the icecap of Dyngjujökull glacier in the Northern part of Vatnajökull glacier. Following this news the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has raised the alert phase to emergency phase. The Icelandic Met Office has also raised the aviation color code from orange to red and thereby closing the air space around the eruption site.

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