New seismic activity has emerged under Iceland’s most dangerous volcano. Another false alarm? or does the emergence of new, strong activity under Barðarbunga strengthen the threat?
This coincides with high river warnings on Múlakvísl. This is a river coming directly from the Myrdallsjökull Glacier (Home of the Katla Volcano). This river flooded in 2011 after the ash from the Summer’s Grimsvötn eruption covered the glacier surface. This caused a high melt rate and broke the bridge connecting East and West Iceland. A Katla eruption is going to break the bridge again, and a lot more than the bridge.
The map shows the river in relation to the glacier (and volcano). The high waters could easily be indicating heat under the glacier.
A witch called Katla
Katla Volcano got its name from a pair of Magic Pants. In a nearby village, the chief owned a pair of pants. These were magic pants because you could run all day and not get tired. In the village was a witch called Katla who was accused of adultery. To avoid punishment she stole the Magic Pants and run up into the glacier. Soon after, a mighty flood burst asunder and the people in the village blamed the flood on the witch.
The most terrifying aspect of a Katla eruption (last experienced in 1918) is the threat to the town of Vik on the South Coast. As most people who have visited Vik will know, the church is built up on a hill. In case of flood, the villagers can run up to the church for safety.
Update: 9th Sept 2016
The Icelandic Met office released a flood warning:
A minor glacial flood began in Skaftá river on 8 September. It is likely that the flood originates from the western Skaftá ice cauldron, which last drained in June 2015. The discharge of Skaftá at Sveinstindur is presently 350 cubic metres per second. The flood is not expected to cause any downstream disruption.
The flooding river comes from the Vatnjökull glacier. This suggests some lava close to the surface near Bardabunga. People report a dark colour and strong smell of sulfur coming from the river. The earthquake activity continues under both volcanoes.
Update: 21st Sept 2016
The trembling has spread to our back yard!
Hengill is our nearest volcano. Hengill is just 20 km from Reykjavik and view from most parts of the city. It is her hot rocks that produce steam creating hot water and electricity for the city. The last eruption at Hengill was 800 years ago. Past volcanic eruptions at Hengill have been small scale, but has produced lava flows right up to the city limits. The main inconvenience following a Hengill eruption will be the poisoned water supply. Reykjavik gets it’s drinking water from the foot hills of Hengill.
Update: May 2019 – nothing happened – yet.