President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said many things to the BBC last night with regards to the volcanic eruption. Things that have apparently been reprinted across numerous news sources. The president, however, is not a geologist. In particular, the president told BBC television’s Newsnight that the current eruption was just a warm-up for the eruption of Katla, adding that it’s not a question of if and but when Katla will erupt. He then said that Europe should prepare itself for the Katla eruption, as it will be devastating.
In reality, there has not been any reported activity in or near Katla. Erna Hauksdóttir, the director of the Icelandic Travel Industry association, told Vísir that already many tourists have cancelled their trips to Iceland due to the president’s remarks. Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir added that she believes actual volcanologists should be the ones to make predictions on what volcano will erupt and when. No one seems to know why the president said what he did. Maybe he just wanted to sound important and informed in the midst of an interview. That’s understandable. But there is no geological activity being reported near Katla. So don’t cancel that flight to Iceland just yet.