Journal article

An unusual jokulhlaup resulting from subglacial volcanism, Solheimajokull, Iceland

Andrew J Russell, Fiona S Tweed, Matthew J Roberts, Tim D Harris, Magnus T Gudmundsson, Oskar Knudsen, Philip M Marren



Jökulhlaups (glacial outburst floods) are frequent in glaciated terrain. Jökulhlaups exhibiting a sudden rise to peak discharge have not been subject to detailed investigation. A volcanically-generated flood burst from Sólheimajökull, Iceland in July 1999. This paper accounts for the causes, characteristics and impacts of this flood. Pre- and post-flood fieldwork was carried out at Sólheimajökull allowing the reconstruction of mean flow velocities and peak discharge. Flood onset was rapid, rising to a peak discharge of 4.4 x 103m3s-1 (± 1.2 x 103m3s-1) within one hour. High basal water pressures resulted in floodwater bursting through the glacier surface. Ice rip-up clasts containing glacial..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by UK NERC

Funding Acknowledgements

Fieldwork in July and August 1999 was supported by a UK NERC urgency grant (GR3/12969) awarded to AJR and FST. OK was funded by grants from the Icelandic Public Roads Administration and the Icelandic Power Company. Research grants from the Department of Geography, Staffordshire University, supported fieldwork by MJR and TDH. We are grateful to Oddur Sigurosson, Helgi Johannesson, Tomas Johannesson, Helgi Bjornsson and Samuel Etienne for communicating observations and interpretations of the events of the July 1999 jokulhlaup, and to Reynir Ragnarsson for facilitating aerial reconnaissance during October 1999. Paul Carling provided valuable comments on a previous version of this manuscript. Vic Baker and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for their constructive comments on this paper. We thank Jim Rice, Lucy Rushmer and Richard Waller for their assistance with field data collection, and Ian Wilshaw for laboratory work. Andrew Lawrence (Keele University) and Rosie Duncan (Staffordshire University) helped to produce the diagrams.