The seismologists warn of two earthquakes hitting the Katla volcano from Iceland, showings the first signs of activity in four decades.
The earthquakes had 4.6 and 4.5 in magnitude, and they had been followed by aftershocks. The last earthquake had been registered back in 1977 when a 5.1 event hit the glacier.
The first movement was recorded at 1:30 am, and it involved ten seismic movements. The second more powerful earthquakes took place at 1:41 am, including the two 4.6 and 4.5 events. Since then, the area remained in silence.
The specialists from the Icelandic Met Office said that the activity was only limited to crust movements, as no volcanic activity or glacial floods had been registered near the glacier’s volcano.
Katla last erupted in 1918, and the event caused flooding and ash fall. The eruption from 1755 is said to have been created a flood discharge estimated at 14.1 million cubic feet/second, which is more than the discharge of the Nile, Mississippi, Amazon and Yangtze rivers all combined.
It is the largest volcano in the south of Iceland. The volcano is supposed to be very active, with twenty eruptions occurring between 930 and 1918.
In the last years, the volcano had some small eruptions that did not even break the ice cover.
The Katla volcano has a height of 4,961 feet, and it is covered by the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The system also includes the Eldgjá canyon. The top of the Katla mountain is covered with almost 2,300 feet of ice.
It is believed that the Katla volcano created the Vedde Ash, which reached the sites of Norway, Denmark, North Atlantic and Scotland and had been dated to 10,600 years BP.
In 2011, the volcano showed signs of activity and the tremors cracked the ice covering the caldera. It is believed that a small eruption took place. Two rivers had been flooded, and a bridge was destroyed. The researchers declared that it was indeed a subglacial eruption, even if there had not been any visual evidence.
Other minor eruptions took place in 1955 and 1999. Most of the events had been followed by glacial floods.
Before the construction of the 1974 Ring Road, people were afraid of the frequent glacier bursts. The area is also covered by deep rivers that are difficult to cross. The Ring Road connects the cities through most of the inhabited parts of the country, traversing a few glacial plains. Because of that, several portions of the road and its bridges had to be rebuilt.
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