The highly hazardous Katla volcano in Iceland is ready to erupt for the first time in 100 years, with a massive explosion that experts fear could be worse than the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
The Katla volcano has previously been identified as one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, with major activity levels after earthquakes in the area last year. The volcano's eruption, scientists say, is not a matter of "if," but rather of "when."
Iceland Volcano On The Brink Of Major Eruption
Scientists have issued a warning that the highly hazardous Katla volcano in Iceland is preparing to erupt, according to signs that they have detected.
The cone of Katla is hidden underneath a glacier on a 5,000-foot peak, which makes it more difficult to monitor its volcanic activity. However, airborne measurements have revealed that Katla has released carbon dioxide on a massive scale, which indicates that its magma chambers are filling up to prepare for a volcanic eruption.
"There is no way of telling when it will erupt, just that it will," said Icelandic Meteorological Office volcanic hazards coordinator Sarah Barsotti.
Katla is one of the largest volcanic sources of carbon dioxide on Earth, responsible for up to 5 percent of total global volcanic emissions. It is releasing dozens of kilotons of carbon dioxide daily, causing concerns that it may eclipse the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eight years ago.
When Eyjafjallajokull erupted in 2010, thousands of passengers were stranded because the ash plume from the volcano suspended all air travel across Europe. Scientists are wary that Katla's eruption will have the same effect, though it will depend on the intensity once the eruption actually happens and the direction of winds at the time.
Skepticism Against Katla Volcano Eruption
University of Iceland geophysics professor Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, however, remains skeptical that the Katla explosion is imminent.
According to Gudmundsson, more research is required before any conclusions may be made regarding Katla's eruption. The professor said that the gas emissions of the volcano may be coming from magma deep under the southern part of the volcano belt, with Kalta only serving as an exhaust channel.
Nevertheless, when there are reports that there is a volcano about to erupt, people living near the area should stay on the safe side and prepare for an explosion. In addition, if the Eyjafjallajokull eruption will be considered, an explosion from Kalta will be felt around the world, not in terms of the ash plume but due to its expected effect on global transportation.