Giant Iceland volcano Katla 'about to erupt'

Christopher Davidson
September 24, 2018

The large volcano in southern Iceland has not erupted violently for 100 years, but according to Sarah Barsotti, co-ordinator for volcanic hazards at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, Katla volcano is now "ready to blow".

A similar volcano eruption left millions of passengers stranded across the globe in 2010.

Experts fear that Iceland's Katla volcano is about to erupt and cause fresh travel chaos with a giant ash cloud.

Ms. Barsotti explained that the volcano's impact on air travel will "depend on the intensity of the eruption and the direction of the winds at the time".

The most famous and active volcano in Iceland is mount Hekla, which has erupted 18 times since 1104, the last time in 2000.

Ilyinskaya and her fellow scientists - whose report in to the volcano was published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters - found that Katla was releasing between 12 and 24 kilotons of carbon dioxide every day. Early reports, that were pushed in the Geophysical Research Letters journal have found that it is now releasing between 12 and 24 kilotons of carbon dioxide every day, which makes it one of the 'largest volcanic sources of CO2 on the planet'.

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Researchers from Leeds University in the United Kingdom said that the volcano, Katla, is due for an eruption.

Scientists in Iceland have warned that a "highly hazardous" volcano is set to erupt and that the explosion would dwarf the one that disrupted air travel worldwide eight years ago.

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Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, a professor in geophysics at the University of Iceland, said that more research is needed before any conclusions can be made about the volcano's imminent eruption. In a Facebook post, he said there is a lack of historic data on gas emissions from the mountain. "This is significant in a context of a growing awareness that natural Carbon dioxide sources have to be more accurately quantified in climate assessments and we recommend urgent investigations of other subglacial volcanoes worldwide", reads an abstract of the study.

"The measurements do not tell us (...) how big the next eruption will be, since the author's writings nowhere in the article mention anything about this".

There are over a hundred volcanoes on the central plateau which have not erupted in the past thousand years and between 30 and 40 that are active, meaning that they have erupted within last few centuries.

He added: "More measurements are the only way to get a reliable estimate of the total emissions of the volcano".

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