Volcanologists have warned that previous Eyjafjallajökull eruptions have triggered eruptions of neighbouring Katla, one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland. Katla erupted every 40 to 80 years in the thousand years before the last eruption in 1918.

“The eruption is long overdue at Katla and there is quite a bit of anxiety in Iceland about the potential size of eruption,” says Dave McGarvie of the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.

The three eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in the last 1100 years – in 920, 1612 and 1821 – have all triggered larger Katla eruptions.

The larger volcano, beneath the larger Mýrdalsjökull glacier, has a reputation for triggering huge jökulhlaup – the Icelandic term for the sudden release of meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets. Its last eruption generated a peak discharge of 1.6 million cubic metres per second within 4 to 5 hours and moved so much debris that Iceland’s coastline was extended by 4 kilometres.

A quarter of the island’s population died from the famine that resulted from the 1783 eruption of the Laki volcano, the worst in modern times in high latitudes. It sent a huge cloud of haze across Europe and parts of North America, triggering dramatic climatic changes, from the largest recorded snowfall in New Jersey to one of the longest droughts seen in Egypt.

From New Scientist..

We have a flight back to the UK this weekend, but after reading this, I am feeling less sure about it:

Iceland volcano: RAF suspends Typhoon flights after finding ash deposits



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