Myrdalsjokull glacier (Myrdalsjökull) covers an area of around 596sq.km. It’s the fourth largest glacier in Iceland and the southernmost glacier in Iceland. It’s located to the north of Vík Í Myrdal and to the east of Eyjafjallajökull and, the popular Fimmvörðuháls Pass hiking route lies between the two glaciers.
The highest altitudes of the Myrdalsjokull glacier ice cap are seen on the caldera rim and include; Goðabunga, Háabunga, Austmannsbunga, Entukollar and Enta. The ice is hundreds of meters thick within the caldera.
The upper area of the large volcano; the Katla caldera is covered by Myrdalsjokull ice cap. Katla is believed to be 30km diameter while caldera is believed to be 10km diameter.
Eruptions may occur in different regions either outside or within the caldera causing enormous glacial floods and violent outbursts.
A major activity happened within Myrdalsjokull glacier caldera on the 18th July 1999. A violent flood in the glacier river, Jokulsa river on Solheimasandur, which was later followed by a burst of seismic tremor was witnessed.
The flood was a result of melted water from a depression formed on the glacier surface within the ice drainage basin of Solheimajökull glacier. Due to the increased geothermal activity, the depressions deepened during the summer, and their number increased.
The most powerful Katla eruption witnessed was in 1918, but there is proof of other smaller eruptions. With the expectation of another eruption of Myrdalsjokull glacier and the Katla caldera in the coming few years, Icelandic volcanologists have been closely monitoring them.
Iceland’s volcanoe eruptions covered by glacier ice caps have greatly helped in volcanology and glaciovolcanology studies by providing vital and sufficient materials of study.
The study of Icelandic glaciovolcanoes deposits is facilitating the scientists to gain advanced understanding of the earth’s long-term climate cycles and core structure. This is because shards and geo-materials offer hints about the climates of the past.
Therefore, Iceland nature is a great asset for research about the impacts of volcano-ice relations to the environment.