Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jökulhlaup - Geological Word of the Day

So I was looking over the Icelandic volcano information the other day (btw the Eruptions blog has been doing a phenomenal job of following this) and I decided, what the hell, I'll try to pronounce it. Well that didn't get too far, but what did catch my attention was the ending of the volcano's name, Eyjafjallajökull. I recognized the end of the name as something I learned a while ago and I have had a previous geological term floating in my head for days now, Jökulhlaup (it is pronounced like Jackelope but the first syllable is Jacques, like the name. So Jacques-elope). I knew it was an Icelandic term and it had something to do with glaciers and flooding.

Well I finally was able to look it up after a while of searching (the spelling is a bit ruff). And I was right. The word refers to a glacial outburst flood, usually due to the sudden melting of glacial water. It is actually a term that is used by American (at least) geologist to describe this phenomina, not just Icelandic geologists. And the reason the volcano reminded me of it is the last part, jökull, is an Icelandic word meaning glacier. So to top that off I have attached a video of the jökulhlaup that was due to the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull. Check out the full Wikipedia definition here.


  1. A great word and a lovely post. And this has made me more determined than ever to go to Iceland. Thank you for that.

  2. I'm glad you liked it. Iceland is one of the top places on my list as well.

  3. That spot at 0.50 makes me think of the loch ness monster for some reason!!! I know that's not very geological :D

  4. Haha, Geology Barriers, you are right. It does look like Nessy. Good call.


Due to the large number of spam comment (i.e. pretty much all of them). I have turned off commenting. If you have any constructive comments you would like to make please direct them at my Twitter handle @Jazinator. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.