Katla is among the world’s most powerful volcanoes. Katla volcano is found in Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the southern part of Iceland and just north of Vík í Mýrdal. The volcano last erupted in 1918, but since, has only had a few smaller eruptions.
According to scientists and volcanologists, another explosive eruption is inevitable in the next few years. Both Katla volcano and Myrdalsjokull are under tight monitoring. The caldera of the Katla volcano has a diameter of 10 km and is covered with 200–700 metres of ice.
The flood discharge of the melting ice before a large eruption would be comparable to the average water discharge of the world’s largest rivers combined.
The volcano and Mýrdalsjökull glacier is about 600 km sq. large, and it is the fourth largest glacier in Iceland. Katla volcano is by nature a sub-glacial volcano. Ranked one of the most powerful in the world.
In 1999, activities within the Mýrdalsjökull glacier were noted and concerns by geologists were voiced about a potential eruption in the near future.
Katla volcano has not erupted violently for over 95 years. However, in the historical eruptions, farms have been swept away by the outbursts.
During the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions where Katla volcano is just to the west of the glacier, Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson said “the time for Katla to erupt is coming close … we [Iceland] have prepared … it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over Europe and the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption”. (Wikipedia)
In the southern part of Iceland around the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, there has been more activity in the form of a seismic swarm of recent. The two events measured a magnitude of 4.5 on the northern Katla caldera rim.
Of course, this is nature’s play at its best. Not only does this make Iceland geologically exciting, but also a spectacular, exploration playground for visitors.