Katla – the name means kettle – is one of Iceland’s largest volcanoes. It erupts every 40-80 years, sending a plume of ash, smoke and ice high into the North Atlantic atmosphere dwarfing the Eyjafjallajökull cloud that grounded aircraft across the Atlantic in April 2010. Katla has been dormant since 1918. An eruption is long overdue.
As Fishguard Trains commenter Irishman points out in a recent comment, if and when that happens, “All sorts of things are possible” – such as refugees from Ryanair streaming to Rosslare in their thousands … or indeed transatlantic passengers from England queuing for sea crossings to Ireland, should the ash cloud close UK air space but leave Ireland unaffected. In 2010, Irishman “listened to the Icelandic president’s interview on tv and he emphasised the need for good planning for such an event. I’m not convinced that the authorities on either side of the Irish Sea have sufficiently planned for such a scenario.”
As an encouragement to good planning, Fishguard Trains now offers this link to live earthquake and eruption information from the Icelandic Met Office. This page shows the Katla volcano, covered by the massive Mýrdalsjökull glacier. To the left you can see the Eyjafjallajökull glacier and volcano that closed our airspace two years ago. The earthquake data on the map and the chart beneath it are both near real-time (red spots show earthquakes in the past four hours). So if you monitor the page, you could be the first to spot an eruption, long before anyone in Wales or Ireland knows anything about it. Tell us quickly if you do!