Volcano ash: Threat of second volcano Katla '10 times the strength'
A second volcano in Iceland could erupt with 10 times the force of Eyjafyoll if history repeats itself, scientists have warned.
By Caroline Gammell
Published: 7:00AM BST 21 Apr 2010
Katla lies next to the volcano currently causing worldwide travel chaos with molten lava and ash shooting into the sky. The last time Eyjafyoll erupted in 1821-23, Katla followed shortly afterwards. The same pattern occurred in 1612.
Katla erupts approximately every 60 years but has not done so since 1918, when it was 10 times as powerful greater than the ongoing activity in Eyjafyoll.
Assistant professors Andy Hooper and Joris Melkert, from the University of Delft in the Netherlands, said the ongoing activity could cause trouble for months.
“If Katla were to erupt, the potential for travel chaos and economic damage would be much greater than has occurred in the last few days,” they said. “A new volcanic dust cloud potentially heading towards the United Kingdom underlines the very real danger that Eyjafyoll could potentially sputter on for months or even more than a year.
“Even in the scenario that Katla doesn’t erupt, disruption could be continuous for many months to come from Eyjafyoll.”
Profs Hooper and Melkert said in 1783-4, the eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland caused temperatures to fall by three degrees Celsius, killed a quarter of the population and led to thousands of deaths in the Britain due to poisoning and cold temperatures. The last time Katla erupted on such a scale was in 934 AD.
The scientists said all the signs suggested that new magma was still being produced deep within the earth’s crust which meant the volcano would continue to erupt for some time to come.
They added that global warming only increased the level of volcanic activity