Earth scientists who flew across Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, which covers the volcano Katla, this morning noticed cracks in two calderas in the southernmost part of the glacier. However, there were no indications that a volcanic eruption had started underneath the glacier.
A ski-doo tour on Mýrdalsjökull. The glacier is now off limits. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“There are signs of flooding from two calderas in the southernmost part of the Katla crater and indications of activity elsewhere,” geophysicist Einar Kjartansson told mbl.is. He believes the glacial flood which destroyed the bridge across Múlakvísl on the Ring Road last night has subsided.
The Múlakvísl flood came from underneath the glacial tongue Höfdabrekkujökull and Kjartansson said the glacial ice is considerably cracked where the flood emerged. Glacial ice is stranded in a large area which indicates that the flood is coming to an end.
While there are no indications that a volcanic eruption has started in Katla, Kjartansson would not rule out that it could have happened last night. The Icelandic Meteorological Office’s automatic sensors show changes which could indicate a small eruption. But that isn’t certain.
“We will continue monitoring the situation closely,” Kjartansson said. Earth scientists last studied Mýrdalsjökull on Wednesday, at which point there were no indications of seismic activity. However, sensors showed some disturbances and therefore Mýrdalsjökull has been under observation in the past days.
The Civil Protection Department has declared Mýrdalsjökull a danger zone and has prohibited all traffic on the glacier, ruv.is reports.
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