Potential Volcanic Eruption Leaves Citizens of Iceland Worried


September 25, 2014

Bárðarbunga (Oddur Sigurdsson)
Bárðarbunga (Oddur Sigurdsson)

Hundreds of earthquakes shocked the land around the Strato volcano of Bárðarbunga in South Eastern Iceland in late August. Many of the Icelandic citizens are highly concerned because of the eruption of Eyafjallajökull in 2011 which caused great damage both of material things and financially for the country. The eruption of Bárðarbung would be a catastrophic repeat of the eruption in 2011. The aftermath of an eruption from Bárðarbunga poses major problems, because the country’s most extensive glacier, Vatnajökull, sits atop the volcano,and if it erupts, massive floods could overwhelm Iceland.

After the grouping of earthquakes in August, scientists began monitoring the volcano more intensely, watching for signs of moving magma below the surface of the volcano and depressions in the glacier. In the past few weeks, both moving magma and depressions within the glacier were detected, making the threat of an eruption imminent. If the volcano erupts a large ash cloud could be released into the atmosphere creating many issues for the country as Eyafjallajökull did when it erupted. Eyafjallajökull caused millions of dollars to be lost due to thousands of flight cancellations.

This was the highest level of air travel disruption since the Second World War. The flight cancellations destroyed the country financially. ”

If Bárðarbunga erupts, it poses the same threat on a more severe level. ​ ​After a 5.5 magnitude earthquake shook the ground beneath Bárðarbunga unexpectedly in early September, Iceland’s Civil Protection Department began preparing for the great flood that would follow an eruption. Major roads have been closed to the public, and many citizens have evacuated their homes as the country begins to prepare for the massive destruction that the volcano could bring. If this volcano erupts in the near future as predicted, Iceland will see more destruction and difficulties in the land than ever before.

Icelandic Met Office map of earthquakes around Bárðarbunga

Icelandic Met Office map of earthquakes around Bárðarbunga (www.bbc.com)




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