by 👨💻 Adam Yardley
In 2010, Icelandic and other European travellers were brought to a standstill for a sizeable period thanks to the eruption of an immense volcano. That volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, caused severe disruption which, thankfully, hasn’t been matched since. However, if recent reports are to be believed, we could be heading towards another Icelandic volcano event which many are hoping will not be a repeat of the 2010 eruption. While Iceland is a famously humble and peaceful nation, it is well-known for its volcanoes and its intensely cold temperatures (hence its name!).
Scientists are growing concerned about the presence of Katla, which is reportedly long overdue for an eruption. The volcano had erupted once every 50 years – roughly – up until 1918, and we haven’t heard from it since. Based in the south of Iceland and near the coast, if it does erupt any time soon, it could offer similar concerns to those experienced in 2010. Those undertaking research into Katla have found that there may be a larger, regular output of CO2 from the source than initially believed – meaning that, all around, the message is to ‘be prepared’.
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It’s been around 100 years since Katla last erupted, though there’s no doubt it is still active. It is unleashing up to 24 kilotons of CO2 into our atmosphere on a daily basis – meaning that it is hardly dormant, and scientists have referred to the volcano as ‘highly hazardous’ as a result. However, while we are on tenterhooks to see whether or not Katla will explode in the near future, many experts are downplaying worries. Caution is generally being urged, though many agree that there is little data available for scientists to confirm whether or not it will erupt in the near future. Evgenia Ilyinskaya, acting as research fellow at Leeds University’s Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics, has advised that the unusual nature of Eyjafjallajokull’s eruption means it will be unlikely to be paralleled. She does, however, confirm that keeping a ‘close eye on Katla’ is greatly advised.
Responsible for up to a staggering 5% of volcanic emissions on Earth, Katla promises to be a force to be reckoned with – but when will it let off some steam? A 50-year delay in eruption is certainly remarkable – which means it may be worth taking your vacation in Iceland now while you still can!