Vatna Glacier is the largest glacier mass in entire Europe and in Iceland, it is the greatest too. The glacier is almost 1000 m thick and covers around 8300 square km area. The volume of the entire glacier is near to 3300 cubic km. the incredible glacier and its surrondings were declared as a park in 2008. It is said that this park covers almost 13% of the Iceland in total. Thus, it is quite evident that Vatna Glacier is definitely termed as the largest glacier for a reason. Moreover, this glacier is has been researched upon the most in Iceland and has received the most attention as well. 60% of the surface of Vatna glacier is above ELA (Equilibrium Line Altitude). The icecap of Vatna glacier covers a large area though. It is said that the icecap reaches 600 to 800 m altitude.
The research on Vatna Glacier began in 1934, when it erupted. This was the major reason of the birth of Glaciological society in 1950. Since then, it has been continued around every year. The latest eruptions that were recorded happened in 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2011. These eruptions have happened from one major volcano that lies beneath the Vatna Glacier icecap.
It is said that some volcanoes are located beneath the Vatna glacier icecap. It is also said that majority of these volcanoes are active. The most major two volcanic centers lie underneath the ice. These two are Bardarbunga and Grimsvotn volcanic center. Bardarbunga extends almost 100 km towards the south and is 50 km towards the north of the Vatna glacier. The last eruption that occurred in Bardarbunga is quite ancient now. It happened in 1910 but still it is considered dangerous. However, Grimsvotn is one of the most active volcanoes of Vatna glacier ice age. It has been the most active from the Middle Age. It has erupted a lot of times and did recently just 3 years back in 2011. It also erupted in 1996, 1998 and 2004 (as mentioned above).
Not only these two but the northern side of Vatna glacier contains another active volcano known as Kverkfjoll. This is a larger and central volcano. This volcano is powerful and has amazingly high temperature which marks it as a dangerous one. It is filled with hot springs, steam blow holes, warm lake and mud holes. The area of the hot springs is almost 3 km long and has a width of 1 km. it is said that underneath the glacier lies an ice carven system which is several km long.
These latest eruptions in Iceland and the glaciers has definitely lead to several impacts on the entire world. Even when the impacts have not been identified properly, it is said that it has left a lot on the world. Various scientists and journalists met in Iceland to make discoveries at the time of these eruptions. The studies done on major volcanoes has led to deep researches being done on various volcanoes that are lying beneath the glacier. Scientists are trying their best to unleash a lot of other secrets that lie beneath the glaciers and bring the secrets of the planet to light. However, it is sad to say that all the studies and measurements that have been recorded during the eruptions from the Vatna glacier have not led somewhere specific. It cannot be applied to other lands or other planets as they all behave quite differently in comparison to Vatna glacier.
If you are planning to visit Iceland, then you know where you need to rush off to first.