East Iceland’s volcanic crater lake Öskjuvatn thawed over in March, an unusually early time for the surface ice to melt, possibly indicating evidence of seismic activity.
Lake Öskjuvatn is over 200 metres deep – the deepest lake in Iceland – and is located on a relatively high elevation. For this reason, it is usually utterly covered with a sheet of ice well past spring.
However, Morgunblaðið reports that the surface of the lake actually thawed in March. The entire month has been unusually warm, but Öskjuvatn appears to be the only lake in the Highlands to be devoid of any ice.
What makes the lack of ice on this lake of particular interest to scientists is that it rests in the crater of the volcano Askja. Rising water temperatures could mean a slight increase in seismic activity there, and scientists are now deciding whether or not to watch the area more carefully.
Significant seismic activity was last detected there in 2010 and its last eruption was in 1961, but an eruption in 1875 was so severe that ashfall devastated the country, instigated a massive emigration from Iceland.
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