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Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull Glaciers, Iceland

63.6N 19.1W

August 26th, 2009 Category: Volcanoes

Iceland - August 13th, 2009

Iceland - August 13th, 2009

Two glaciers in the south of Iceland appear as dark patches in this orthorectified image: Mýrdalsjökull (larger, right) and Eyjafjallajökull (smaller, left).

Mýrdalsjökull, literally meaning the ice cap in the marsh valley, is situated to the north of Vík í Mýrdal. Its peak reaches 1,493 m in height and in 1980 it covered an area of 595 km².

The ice-cap of the glacier covers an active volcano called Katla. The crater of the volcano has a diameter of 10 km and the volcano erupts normally every 40 – 80 years. As the last eruption took place in 1918, scientists are monitoring the volcano very carefully.

Since 930, 16 eruptions have been documented. The Laki craters and the Eldgjá being part of the same volcanic system, it can be regarded as one of the most powerful in the world.

The icecap of Eyjafjallajökull, one of the smaller glaciers of Iceland, situated to the north of Skógar, also covers a volcano. The volcano is 1,666 m in height and has erupted relatively frequently since the Ice Age. The last eruption was from 1821 to 1823, causing a fatal glacier run.

The crater of the volcano has a diameter of 3-4 km and the glacier covers an area of about 100 km². The south end of the mountain was once part of the Atlantic coastline. As the sea has since retreated some 5 km, the former coastline has left behind sheer cliffs with a multitude of beautiful waterfalls.

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