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Katla Tremors: Is an Icelandic Volcanic Eruption Bigger Than Eyjafjallajokul About to Occur?

Posted on the 17 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Katla tremors: Is an Icelandic volcanic eruption bigger than Eyjafjallajokul about to occur?

The Eyjafjallajokul eruption was "small" Photo credit: wstera2

In May last year, Eyjafjallajokul erupted in Iceland, spewing a gargantuan ash cloud into the air, which severely disrupted the world’s aviation industry. Now, seismic activity has scientists scared that a bigger eruption is on the way, which could “dwarf” last year’s, reported the Associated Press. Clusters of earthquakes around Katla, located in the South of the country and significantly larger than Eyjafjallajokul, may be precursors to an eruption. After the panic that well, erupted, following last year’s eruption, there is considerable fear that a dramatic sequel could bring the world to its knees.

Overdue. Katla’s last major eruption was in 1918, and since records indicate that the volcano has historically exploded roughly twice per century, it is long overdue, reported the The Guardian. The risk is sufficiently real that evacuation plans are in place for the local area, but in the event of an eruption “many fear they may have less than an hour to evacuate.”

Newser’s stories of previous Katla explosions paint a grim picture: “turning day into night … a torrent of water that some accounts have said measured as wide as the Amazon … poisonous gasses killing thousands of people with toxic fumes in the British Isles.”

Plane pains. The “small” Eyjafjallajokul eruption cost the aviation industry more than £1 billion, and afterwards Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson advised that engines that are less sensitive to ash be developed, but the aviation industry has said there is little that can be done. As The Daily Telegraph today reported, flights in Buenos Aires have been grounded by ash from Chile’s Puyehue volcano, so the prospect of the problem spreading with any upcoming eruptions is severe.

Unsure. There’s no need to cancel your flights and hide underground yet. Dr David Rothery, from the Open University, told The Daily Telegraph that despite the “unrest”, it is “more likely than not” that the quakes will subside and no eruption will occur. Locals are even less concerned. Local shop owner Thorir Kjartansson told the Associated Press that he’s been waiting for an exciting eruption for years: “We’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and we know that it will come one day”, he said. “Until then, there’s no point in worrying about it.”

Watch some spectacular footage of Eyjafjallajokul:

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