Volcano Activity in Iceland on January 28 2017 04:56 AM (UTC).
On top of a wall of blue ice is the outflow of a massive glacier that sits on top of Katla, one of Iceland's most active volcanoes. An intricate system of sensors monitors the glacier's every move, because when Katla erupts, it won't be fire but flood waters that will engulf the valley below it. In Iceland, travelers come revved up for adventure. They board oversized Humvees or snowmobiles to crisscross glaciers thousands of years old. One is called Mýrdalsjokull. Bjorn Hafsteinsson has been leading glacier tours for the past three years. He drove us about 5,000 feet up, scaling the glacier that holds a secret. Underneath all the ice, Katla is ready to blow, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. To understand his concern, go back to 2010 when the volcano next door blew up. Eyjafjallajokull drove plumes of hot ash into the sky, crippling global aviation. "Does Katla have the potential to be just as dangerous?" Miller asked Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, who's with the University of Iceland. "It could be much more dangerous because of the potential for very massive big floods," Gudmundsson said. Over the past thousand years, Katla has erupted at least once if not twice a century - extending Iceland's coastline every time. A mountain is called Peters' Island because it used to be completely surrounded by water. Scientists predict that when Katla erupts, the massive ice sheet sitting on top of it will melt, creating a flash flood that could wipe out everything in its path. That includes the town of Vik - the picturesque village of around 300 that now hosts up to 3,000 tourists a day. Katla last erupted in 1918 when it sent a torrent of water, mud and ice into the valley below. In the past year, a series of stronger-than-usual earthquakes put everyone on high alert. Hafsteinsson said on average, they get three a day. Earthquake sensors have been installed throughout the region to make sure the people of Iceland - and those who are visiting - are ready to evacuate when Katla comes to life. "You have to realize, if you're going on to the part of an active volcano... you're always taking a small chance. That's life," Gudmundsson said.
Iceland is known for having numerous volcanoes in its country. With 130 volcanoes that include both active and inactive ones, the place is always closely monitored by geophysicists. Now, reports say that four of Iceland's biggest volcanoes are showing signs of a near eruption. The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano did not only cause physical damage to the nearby locations but it did cause some damage to the economy as well. According to the Daily Mail, a huge number of flights were canceled which affected more than 10 million air passengers that amounted to losses of $4.9 billion in the European economy. With four volcanoes about to erupt namely, Katla, Hekla, Barbarbunga and Grimsvotn, there's going to be a lot at stake. Experts even state that it will definitely cause chaos in world travel which could affect the world economy. IFLScience! reported that any of these volcanoes might erupt within the next few years. As of now, the four volcanoes are having some pre-eruptive activities with its minor lava flows. Barbarbunga, one of the most recentl-active volcanoes, showed some signs of activity that happened back in 2014-2015 where lava flows came out of the volcano. Katla has been exhibiting tremors as well that goes along with some minor lava flows. Grimsvotn, which is just a nearby volcano to Barbarbunga, last erupted in 2011. There are also some consistent seismic activities happening because its magma source is the same with Barbarbunga.
"Katla has been showing this kind of behaviour for as long as we know. There is always seismic activity in Katla but some years show more unsteadiness than others," says geophysicist Pall Einarsson speaking with Morgunblaoio. As previously reported, scientists now believe that there's a greater likelihood for an eruption in Katla. Tour operators are stepping up their response plans. "There's certainly been unrest in Katla in previous years but this is turning into the most unrestful year," adds Einarsson.