Vík fears Katla eruption floods

Photo: Golli

The South Iceland town of Vík has petitioned the Icelandic Parliament (‘Alþingi’) for funds to build flood barriers to protect the town against possible glacier river floods resulting from an eruption of Katla.

Ásgeir Magnússon, Director of Vík local council, says that a flood is only matter of time and that “each day that passes just brings the event closer.”

Long-standing concerns about Katla

Locals have long been worried about the next Katla eruption, says Magnússon.

No real data on the possible consequences had been available until recently, when the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration conducted Katla eruption flood simulations to study the possible effect on transport infrastructure.

“The findings show that there is a real danger of flood waters from a Katla eruption breaking over existing defences and into the town of Vík,” warns Magnússon.

No large-scale defences needed

“Fortunately, flood waters would be slow and no higher that 1-1.5m high […]. Even a low flood barrier would be sufficient to stop the water reaching Vík.”

Katla is a large, very active volcano to the north of Vík in South Iceland and is partially covered by the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. It last erupted violently in 1918.

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