Iceland’s largest volcano could be about to erupt following a ‘series of tremors’, according to reports.
The 6,591ft Bardarbunga is a ‘stratovolcano’, located under Vatnajökull – Iceland’s most extensive glacier, standing at 2,009 metres (6,591 ft) above sea level.
Páll Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland said pressure in the volcanoes magma chamber is ‘increasing’.
An Icelandic volcano eruption caused major disruption to travel in 2010:
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The earthquakes, measuring 3.9, 3.2 and 4.7 on the Richter scale, struck the region last weekend, suggesting magma could be building up below the surface.
Mr Einarsson said tremors mean Bardarbunga is ‘clearly preparing for its next eruption’ which he expects will take place ‘in the next few years’ and could create an ash cloud, causing travel problems, report the Daily Mail.
This follows 2010’s eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which caused major travel disruption, leaving more than 10 million air passengers stranded as a result of the consequential ash cloud, costing the European economy an estimated £4 billion ($4.9 billion), according to the Mail.
A similar scenario could take place if Bardarbunga, one of Iceland’s 130 volcanoes, were to erupt.
In 2014, a ‘record-breaking eruption’ from Bardarbunga spewed lava and ash for nearly six months, leaving behind the largest caldera formation ever observed.
This eruption was hailed as the ‘strongest of its kind in Europe’ for more than 240 years and released two cubic kilometres of volcanic material.
The volcano is now showing signs of ‘restlessness’ yet again, after being rocked by the four large earthquakes.
According to Oregon State University, most earthquakes directly beneath a volcano are caused by a ‘movement of magma’, which builds pressure until it cracks the rock.
Magma then moves into the crack and begins building pressure again – every time the rock cracks, it makes a small earthquake.
Einarsson added the ‘latest earthquakes were part of a series, which have been in progress for two years’.
In February, Einarsson warned there were four volcanoes, Katla, Hekla, Bardarbunga and Grímsvön, all preparing for eruptions which would lead to travel disruptions.
Dr Simon Day, of University College London, said the activity could ‘precede a large explosive eruption and consequent widespread ash fall’, but said it’s ‘statistically unlikely’.
The Icelandic Met Office has listed activity levels at Bardarbunga as ‘high’ but has not yet put a warning in place.
Earlier this year, a daredevil photographer went into land, underneath the active volcano of Mount Sinabung, in Indonesia, where seven ghost towns stand, devoid of any human life.
Although the Indonesian government has marked these areas too dangerous for habitation, as the volcano continues to spew molten lava and ash, photographer Keow Wee Loong, wanted to explore the untold stories of the people who once lived in the ramshackle ruins of the homes there.
Keow Wee Loong told UNILAD, although the media have reported on the continuous eruptions of Mount Sinabung, not many had explored the story of the towns now lying abandoned in its shadow.
Loong has visited the area, which used to be home to 10,000 people before the first eruption devastated the area in 2014, saying, ‘It used to be a very busy, lively town’.
The young, intrepid photographer continued:
But now I am back again and everything has changed. It is just an empty, dead town with a lot of personal belongings remaining inside the residents homes.
Loong visited the towns of Gurukinayan, Sukanalu, Sigaranggang, and Laukawar Suka Mariah.
They were once a fertile hub of agriculture on the Indonesian island of Sumatra but in 2010, disaster struck when the Sinabung volcano, which had been dormant for 400 years, erupted.
For the next four years, the volcano spewed ash and debris.
However, in 2014, a fierce eruption caused fatalities – after an evacuation was ordered, authorities allowed residents to re-enter the red zone once it was deemed safe, but just days later, Mount Sinabung erupted once more, killing at least seven islanders.
According to Keow, Mount Sinabung – which is still active to this day – erupted seven times when he was in its vicinity over the course of 48 hours.
It’s one of 129 volcanoes sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire – a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean.
He slept rough, along with his wife Marta, in one of the abandoned homes for two nights in his endeavours to bring you these photographs.