Vatnajökull (Vatnajokull)

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Vatnajökull (Vatnajokull)

Vatnajökull , also known as the Vatna Glacier in English, is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland. It is located in the south-east of the island, covering more than 8 percent of the country. The name Vatnajökull is derived from vatna, the genitive plural form of vatn which means “water” in Icelandic but is also used to refer to a lake, and jökull, the Icelandic for glacier.  With an area of 8,100 km², Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Europe by volume (3,100 km³). On 7 June 2008, it became a part of the Vatnajökull National Park.

The average thickness of the ice is 400 m (1,300 ft), with a maximum thickness of 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2,109.6 m (6,921 ft)), is located in the southern periphery of Vatnajökull, near Skaftafell National Park.

Under the ice cap, as under many of the glaciers of Iceland, there are several volcanoes. The volcanic lakes, Grímsvötn for example, were the sources of a large jökulhlaup (glacial lake outburst flood) in 1996. There was also a considerable but short-time eruption of the volcano under these lakes at the beginning of November 2004. In May 21, 2011 a volcanic eruption started in Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull National Park at around 7 p.m. The plume reached as high as 20 kilometres (12 mi). During the last ice age, numerous volcanic eruptions occurred under Vatnajökull, creating many subglacial eruptions.

The glacier was used as the setting for the opening sequence of the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.  Several other films, including another in the Bond franchise, have been filmed on or using Jökulsárlón, the terminal lake of the Breiðamerkurjökull outlet from Vatnajökull.  In November 2011, the glacier was used as a shooting location for the second season of the HBO fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.

 

Vatnajökull National Park