Earth scientists have discovered a previously unknown caldera on Hofsjökull glacier in the central highlands and believe that they have for the first time managed to locate a geothermal area underneath the icecap.
Hofsjökull. Photo: Wikipedia.
It is uncertain whether this will increase the likelihood of a glacier outburst flood from under the glacier in the coming years, ruv.is reports.
Employees of the Icelandic Met Office went on an expedition to Hofsjökull last week, among other objectives to examine a dark spot seen on satellite photos of the glacier earlier this autumn.
This proved to be a large caldera in the glacier’s northern edge at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,580 feet).
Geologist Oddur Sigurðsson said this was without doubt caused by geothermal heat which melted the glacier from below. “The caldera has definitely not been there in the past decades.”
The geothermal area below Hofsjökull has been known as sulfur can often be detected around the glacier. In the summer a minor glacier outburst flood occurred in Vestari-Jökulsá, which originates in Hofsjökull.