An article published in the national British newspaper, The Guardian, today, detailing the possible eruption of the Iceland volcano, Katla, is a prime example of the media over reacting, yet again.
It is true that a recent increase in cluster earthquakes led scientists to question whether an eruption was starting. However, research flights over Katla suggest that the most likely cause of the small earthquake, which have since subsided, was geothermal melt-water pouring down into a heated crevasse.
Magnus Gudmundsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, who has been monitoring Katla, explained to Icelandic media that increased levels of heat under the glacier and more regular earthquakes could be a long-term warning of an eruption; however, there are no immediate signs to be concerned about.
Furthermore, so far this year there have been numerous media-led eruption ‘scares’ surrounding two other Iceland volcanoes; Bardarbunga and Hekla. Nevertheless, neither has yet resulted in an eruption.
Photo: Oli Kristinn – http://flickr.com/olafur
Paul, seems to me that Katla erupting would have far more impact than any news article. While the media does overplay such threats, this threat is far larger than even the media can imagine.
TC, I don’t believe that there is any denial over the fact that Katla will erupt at some point in the future. What the article points out is the way that the media continues to hype up the situation, using adjectives such as “devastating” and “wreak havoc.”
What the media fails to realise is that there choice of overly strong words and scare tactics just to sell a few more newspapers could potentially be damaging to Iceland and its tourism industry.
Yes, you are right, it’s not going to erupt. And the levies will never be breached. And mortgage backed bonds are as safe as houses. And a tsunami higher than 6.6m will never hit the Fukushima coast.