Myrdalsjökull Glacier & Katla Volcano

Myrdalsjokull is a glacier located in the south part of Iceland. It is situated to the north of Vik i Myrdaland to the east of Eyjafjallajokull. The peak reaches a height of 1,493 mtrs and when glaciologists measured it in the year 1980 it had covered an area of 595 kms. It is the fourth biggest glacier in Iceland and most tourists visiting it never miss the ‘Ice Walks’ ‘Snow Mobile tours’ ‘Super Jeep tours’ ‘Dog Sledding’ and ‘Ice Climing tours’. Guides always warn the travelers to be extremely careful about crevasses. Weather can dramatically change and high winds and snowstorms can appear in a flash all throughout the year.

It is one of the most awesome sights in the whole world and just as some poet described “it is a view of Heaven”. It takes around 2 hours from Reykjavik and one has to move towards the east and instead of turning to Thorsmork one has to follow Highway No. 1 further east. Most guides have modified vehicles so that the tourist can go right up to the glacier and even on it. It is accessible all year around, unless there is a weather emergency. Between Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull lies one of Iceland’s hiking trails Fimmvorouhals. This trail begins at Skogar where there is the wonderful waterfall Skogarfoss. Also, as you keep moving, before you reach Vik, if one takes a short detour, one can reach Dyrholaey.

For information, the volcano Katla in theMyrdalsjokull glacier has erupted with an average gap of 70 years. Katla is one of the most powerful volcanoes in the world and probably the largest active volcano in the northern hemisphere.

The last eruption has been recorded in 1918. The eruptions at Katla are taken very seriously by Icelanders and its eruptions have serious consequences for Iceland and the surrounding regions. What happens during an eruption is this: the glacier right above the volcanic vent melts away and the melted ice collects under the ice-cap until it makes its way out under the edge in a massive gushing flood. These gushings are called “Jokulhlaup”. The rock is abraded and huge quantities of ice, rock, silt, debris and sand are carried by the floodwater. It is to be noted that most of the Myrdalssandur sand plain has been created by flood deposits. Tourists flock to Katla as the volcano has been showing signs of agitation. Scientists conjecture that a massive Katla eruption in the very near future is a possibility.