There are signs that Katla could erupt. A geophysicist told Stöð 2 (Channel 2) that he is reluctant to say whether it could happen in one year or fifty years. Halldór Geirsson, geophysicist and associate professor at the Faculty of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland, is part of a team who use a number of seismic devices and GPS around Katla to determine if the volcano may soon erupt.
Close to a breaking point
“There are gauges on the caldera, they show signs of slow overheating in the volcano, but it’s probably at shallow depth,” Halldór said. He went on to say that the amount of earthquake activity around Katla is interesting because the crust doesn’t move much in that area. “One way of interpreting this is that the volcano has actually come close to the breaking point, so when only a small amount of magma comes in, there are a lot of earthquakes.” That would explain why they have to frequently measure the seismic activity around Katla.
But what does it mean!?
Could this possibly mean that the volcano will erupt soon? “Well, it might, if the magma chamber is shallow. There might not be much of a prelude. But there can also be all kinds of other eruptions that can come from Katla. It has such a diverse eruption history, like Eldgjá.” It certainly won’t happen in weeks or months, but there is no degree of certainty when it will happen. “Although it varies from year to year, there is still considerable earthquake activity and this indicates that the volcano is so slow to prepare. But whether it is one year or ten or fifty years in the next eruption, it is just extremely difficult to say.”
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