Something quite common worldwide is that every single nation has their own motto. When people think about Iceland, they immediately think about ice. Well, I just cannot blame them, our own name includes that word. But Iceland is not just about Ice, it is also about fire, and here is where volcanos take the lead role. Let’s get to know this fiery Katla volcano, South Iceland.
The word “volcano” comes from the Roman god of fire Vulcanus. After him, Aeolian island’s volcano got its name. This volcano had a regular activity in ancient times. It was so active that the natives of the surrounded area refered to it as the forge of the fire god. Locals even thought that the eruptions were a sign that the god of the blacksmith was making new weapons.
Today, the term “volcano” has lost this kind of romantic, mythological meaning. Its current definition is all about discharges of hot, molten rock on the surface of the earth. Most volcanoes come in the shape we all know. Mountain like land towering over the place they are in. The shape of the volcanoes , their eruptions and the resulting products are completely different. Volcanoes throws valuable materials to the earth’s surface and are often the source of valuable soils and minerals.
Even when their eruptions have, sometimes, catastrophic effects on civilization, they are, in the long run, the foundation of prosperity. Many important cities are currently built around them.
This is exactly the case of Katla Volcano. The name may not ring any bell but we know it will not take too long (in geographical terms) for it to make its guest appearance. When you think about Iceland volcanoes, you probably may remember that one with a weird name: Eyjafjallajökull. This one basically paralyzed Europe for months by expulsing ash everywhere an anywhere into the continent’s air space. Katla Volcano is located in Southern Iceland close to Vik. Its name comes from ketill which means kettle. This one is not exactly a sleeper, it has been active for quite a while but have not had a violent outbreak for more than a century.
From all of the Icelandic volcanos, Katla has been recently sending signals of an upcoming awakening. Volcano activity and earthquakes are not really unusual in Iceland. The island itself is formed from volcano lava. However, in the case of some volcanoes, we Icelanders are careful and pay a lot of attention. Katla Volcano is, of course, included in the team.
“Sleeping” Katla Volcano Can Wake Up Faster Than Thought
The reason for this is its position right under the Mýrdalsjökull ice sheet, which makes it difficult to have certain data and a proper observation of the volcano’s behavior. In the case of an eruption, the glacier would melt causing an important water avalanche and flooding. Having an important city as Vik close by also makes the situation more complicated.
We really do not know when this giant will decide to show us what it is capable of. There is something we do know; we must be prepared so the consequences can be minimized. Whenever it may be, it does not matter how close we are, the nature must always keep its course.