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Katla Volcano: Civil Protection Uncertainty Phase Declared

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Katla Volcano: Civil Protection Uncertainty Phase Declared

Seismic activity in Iceland, September 30, 2016

The green star indicates the location of earthquakes larger than magnitude 3, in this case at Katla. Photo: Icelandic Met Office.

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police and the District Commissioner of Police in South Iceland have declared a Civil Protection Uncertainty phase due to seismic unrest in Katla volcano in Mýrdalsjökull, as stated by the Scientific Advistory Board of the Department of Civil Protection in a factsheet sent to the press this afternoon.

The contingency plan for an eruption in Mýrdalsjökull has been activated accordingly. Uncertainty phase means that a course of events has started that may lead to natural hazard in the near future. Monitoring, assessment, research and evaluation of the situation is increased.

As reported earlier today, increased seismic activity started on September 29 and is still ongoing. Following the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Department of Civil Protection this afternoon, it was concluded that the seismic activity is caused by magma movement within the Katla caldera.

The three most likely scenarios are:

- Seismic activity dies out with no further consequences
- Glacial outburst flood, jökulhlaup, will emerge from the glacier due to a small eruption
- An eruption starts in Katla that reaches the surface of the glacier and is accompanied by glacial outburst floods and ash fall.
- Other scenarios cannot be excluded.

Accordingly a warning has been issued for travelers in the vicinity of Mýrdalsjökull, especially around glacial rivers, RÚV reports.

The Aviation Color Code for Katla has been changed from green to yellow, meaning that the volcano is experiencing signs of elevated unrest above known background levels.

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