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Glaciers of Southern Iceland

Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull, Tindfjallajökull, Torfajökull and Hekla

Part of the Atlantis Advances in Quaternary Science book series (AAQS,volume 2)

Abstract

This chapter has a detailed description of the types, shapes, sizes, locations, and all relevant scientific data of the glaciers in southern Iceland, as well as their recorded local histories, folklore and legends: Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull, Tindfjallajökull, Torfajökull and Hekla. Three of them are well-known for their glacier-volcanic interaction during both historical and recent times. Beneath Mýrdalsjökull (540 km2) is the Katla caldera, which has erupted 20 times since the settlement of Iceland and produced some of the most tremendous jökulhlaups on Earth, some of which are described here. Katla has also been the inspiration for many stories and legends in Icelandic culture. The last eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (70 km2), in 2011, produced ash that caused problems for air traffic worldwide. Tindfjallajökull (11 km2) covers a dormant volcano; its caldera was partly formed in a catastrophic event during the last glaciation. Torfajökull (10 km2) is situated in one of the largest geothermal areas in Iceland, and from the 15th to 18th centuries was shrouded in myths concerning highland bandits. The volcano has not erupted since the last glaciation, but has shown some activity with injections of magma through fissures to the northeast. Hekla, the most famous volcano in Iceland, has small glaciers on its summit and northern ridge and has produced jökulhlaups during eruptions. It has erupted 20 times since 1104, most recently in 1991.

Keywords

  • Flood Wave
  • Volcanic System
  • Outburst Flood
  • Outlet Glacier
  • Kettle Hole

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

The finest leaf in our laurel band, Katla, greatest wonder of this land ….

(Ólafsson 1832, p. 200).

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Björnsson, H. (2017). Glaciers of Southern Iceland. In: The Glaciers of Iceland. Atlantis Advances in Quaternary Science , vol 2. Atlantis Press, Paris. https://doi.org/10.2991/978-94-6239-207-6_5

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