Published July 9, 2014
Geologists flew over Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which covers the active volcano Katla, yesterday to investigate sudden glacial flooding in Múlakvísl river and Jökulsá river, reports RÚV.
“It is obvious that [the floodwater] is originating from Katla, but there is nothing that points to a major event,” said geophysicist Björn Oddsson.
Although glacial flooding in the area is not expected to be heavy, travellers and tour companies are being told to stay vigilant of sudden rises in water levels and are advised to keep their distance by going no further than Múlakvísl river.
“In large quantities sulphur pollution [rising from the glacial flood] can be dangerous and people can pass out from it if they venture too close,” geologist Gunnar B. Guðmundsson told Vísir.
Glacial floods can be caused by any number of factors – rising lava, eruptions, steam vents or newly opened hot springs can all cause glacial ice to quickly melt, accumulate under the glacier, and then release. The effects can range from minor flooding to powerful destructive forces.
There have been no recorded earthquakes around Katla that might indicate an impending eruption though scientists will monitor the situation in the coming days.