A stirring Icelandic giant

This guest blog provides us with an interesting update about the Icelandic volcano called Katla, which has been predicted to erupt shortly after the eruption of it’s ash bellowing neighbour Ejafjallajokull.

The 2010 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Ejafjallajokull, produced dust clouds which played havoc with air travel in North West Europe, as airlines had to err on the side of caution. This volcano is close to the southern coast of Iceland, immediately to the west of the Myrdalsjokull, (jokull is Icelandic for icecap), which buries the larger notorious volcano called Katla.

Icelandic Ash ,015646

Historic records show that when one of them erupts, the other follows suit within a year or two. The magma plume is probably shared by the two volcanoes, hence the relationship of eruptions. Last July, Katla showed signs of life with a small jokullhlaup, or flood of meltwater across the flat sandur plain before emptying into the sea. On 5th of October there began a swarm of tremors up to about 3.5 Richter Scale, emanating from about 5km beneath the icecap. Although there is little evidence of an immediate eruption, it may well be, that one will occur in the near future.

The whole coastline of Southern Iceland has been shaped into smooth curves by countless jokullhlaups over the course of time, as vast floods of meltwater – temporarily exceeding the discharge of the River Amazon they carry immense loads of loose material to the sea. The main hazard for Icelanders lies in the cutting of road communications across the plain, as the water washes away bridges and embankments.

Sent by
Gordon Hensman
Black Country Geological Society Chairman
Dudley, West Midlands

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