Is Iceland's Katla volcano about to erupt? Here is the ultimate discovery


Katla, a giant volcano in Iceland is apparently showing signs of an imminent eruption and could even dwarf 2010 ash cloud, as per many media outlets. This volcano is a close neighbour to Eyjafjallajokull which erupted in 2010 causing disruptions in worldwide air travel.

As Katla's cone is hidden beneath a gigantic glacier on a 5000 feet peak, it is quite difficult for experts to monitor its activities. However, using airborne measurement techniques, a team of researchers from Britain and Iceland recently found that Katla is releasing carbon dioxide vigorously.

An eruption is overdue

Evgenia Ilyinskaya, a research fellow at Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics at Leeds University revealed that an eruption is already overdue to Katla. In 1918, Katla last erupted and as per its history, the previous eruptions took place every 50 years on average.

Evgenia and team's study report published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters reveals that Katla is releasing carbon dioxide between 12 and 24 kilotons.

"Through high-precision airborne measurements and atmospheric dispersion modelling, we show that Katla, a highly hazardous subglacial volcano which last erupted 100 years ago, is one of the largest volcanic sources of CO2 on Earth, releasing up to 5% of total global volcanic emissions," wrote the researchers in the study report.

A threat to air travel?

Experts could not predict the approximate time when the catastrophe will take place. Sarah Barsotti, co-ordinator for volcanic hazards at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, The Sunday Times reports, "There is no way of telling when it will erupt, just that it will."

What experts actually stated?

As per the volcanologist Evgenia, "I said explicitly that we are in no position to say whether or not Katla volcano is ready to erupt; and that air traffic disruption in case of an eruption is unlikely to be as serious as in 2010."

"The real shame here is that the true version of the story was already very important and interesting in itself. We discovered something totally unexpected and mind-blowing about Katla volcano AND the discovery may help forecast its eruptions better in the future," she added.

This article was first published on September 24, 2018