“New Icelandic Volcano Eruption Could Have Global Impact”

In the News (from BBC News): “Hundreds of metres under one of Iceland’s largest glaciers there are signs of a looming volcanic eruption that could be one of the most powerful the country has seen in almost a century.

“Mighty Katla, with its 10km (6.2 mile) crater, has the potential to cause catastrophic flooding as it melts the frozen surface of its caldera and sends billions of gallons of water surging through Iceland’s east coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. …

“There were more than 500 tremors in and around the caldera of Katla just in October, which suggests the motion of magma. …

“The last major eruption occurred in 1918 and caused such a large glacier meltdown that icebergs were swept into the ocean by the resulting floods.

“The volume of water produced in a 1755 eruption equalled that of the world’s largest rivers combined. …

“In 1783 volcanoes in the area erupted continuously for eight months, generating so much ash, hydrogen fluoride and sulphur dioxide that it killed one in five Icelanders and half of the country’s livestock.

“‘And it actually changed the Earth’s climate,’ says Mr Cochran.

“’Folks talk about a nuclear winter – this eruption generated enough sulphuric acid droplets that it made the atmosphere reflective, cooled the planet for an entire year or more and caused widespread famine in many places around the globe.’”

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