Haraldur Sigurdsson, Icelandic volcano expert, has been blogging about the Askja area, but scientists have noticed that Öskjuvatn (Lake Askja) has not frozen this winter. Haraldur points out in an interview with mbl.is that British scientists predicted an eruption in Askja in 2010. “The level of the lake was going down every year until 2007, indicating that magma was floating away from the area. After that the surface leveled and even started to rise again. The scientists predicted an eruption was to be expected, but did not say when.”Lake Askja. Photo: Benedikt Jóhannesson/Iceland Review
Scientists will inspect the Askja area after Easter, but the public safety commissioner and the sheriff in the area have both warned against going close to the lake for fear of carbon dioxide in dangerous levels.Víti crater. The dots are people swimming in the warm lake. Photo: Benedikt Jóhannesson/Iceland Review
Haraldur points out that there has not been an increase in earthquakes in the area. However, the Aksja area is an active volcanic area. The crater last erupted on October 26, 1961, just over fifty years ago. Lake Askja was formed in the 1875 eruption, but the lake is the deepest lake in Iceland. On July 10, 1907, two German scientists, Walter von Knebel and Max Rudloff disappeared while exploring the lake in a small boat. The lake and nearby crater Víti (meaning Hell) are a popular tourist attraction in summer.