Saturday, April 12, 2008

Underwater volcano discovered in Iceland

Volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson from the University of Iceland and a team of scientists recently discovered a giant volcano off Reykjanes peninsula, southwest Iceland, almost as as large as the peninsula itself, and expect it to erupt at any time.

In the center of the volcano there is a caldera measuring ten kilometers in diameter.

“People shouldn’t be surprised if there would be an extensive volcanic eruption underwater there soon. Nothing has happened for hundreds of years and it is in fact only a matter of time before there will be an eruption,” Höskuldsson told DV.

Since the volcano is at a depth of 1,500 meters eruptions would not have any effect on Iceland, except perhaps causing earthquakes.

The volcano’s discovery is considered significant because geographers believed it couldn’t exist in that area. “Such large volcanoes are not located on oceanic ridges. They are always drifting apart and that prevents a volcano from being created. This is why the volcano’s existence came as a surprise,” Höskuldsson said.

In summer, Höskuldsson and his team will present the conclusions of their studies at the annual conference of the International Association of Volcanologists, which will be held in Iceland. Nine hundred people have already registered for the conference.

In summer 2009 they plan use a small submarine to undertake more detailed research of the underwater volcano.

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