Volcanoes in Iceland Preparing to Erupt

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Volcanoes in Iceland Preparing to Erupt

The Icelandic volcanoes Hekla and Grímsvötn are likely to erupt shortly, according to geophysicist Páll Einarsson. Katla, which lies underneath the icecap of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, has been quiet ever since a period of six years of unrest ended in 2005, but Askja should be paid close attention to, he said in an interview on the radio program Morgunvaktin on Rás 2 on Tuesday.

Hekla. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“Volcanic eruptions happen every two or three years in Iceland in general. There are many volcanoes where one should be prepared for everything. Some of them are preparing their next eruptions, including Hekla and Grímsvötn,” Einarsson said.

However, Einarsson said people should not take it for granted that Hekla will erupt every ten years as it has done for the past decades.

“Katla is a more complicated mountain than Hekla. Katla was rather regular in its eruptions for the past 300 years and, according to that rule, it was supposed to erupt around 1960. That Katla eruption has yet to happen,” Einarsson said.

Einarsson added that there had probably been a minor eruption underneath the Katla icecap in 1999. Now Katla is silent, but there is some unrest near Askja and Upptyppingar that requires attention, he said.