Glaciologist Helgi Björnsson is concerned that the current volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier could cause the neighboring volcano Katla to erupt as well, which could have much more serious consequences.
The volcano Katla is located underneath the Mýrdalsjökull icecap. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“The maximum flow in glacial bursts caused by Katla can be fifty or one hundred times more voluminous than what we have seen flow out of Gígjökull [an Eyjafjallajökull glacial tongue]. When the flood comes you better make a run for it,” Björnsson told mbl.is. Katla is hidden underneath the Mýrdalsjökull icecap.
“There are eruption channels between Eyjafjallajökull and Katla and magma could shoot into the Katla volcano. Katla might only need a nudge,” Björnsson said.
The glaciologist added that what we are witnessing now is a multiplex and unique spectacle of fire and ice. As the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull is still going strong, people should be aware that it might behave similarly as in the last eruption, in 1821.
At that time the eruption began shortly before Christmas in 1821 and carried on for more than a year, until after New Year’s Eve 1823, Björnsson pointed out.