Volcanic eruptions can begin without warning, but they are usually preceded by earthquakes that can be detected by seismograph. Eruptions can cause danger by lava flow, toxic gas and ash fall. The ash from a single eruption can fall throughout the country depending upon the weather. The falling ash can be unsafe because of poisonous gases and materials, and is hazardous to consume. It especially poses a threat to animals. Clouds of ash can cause disturbances to air traffic. If an eruption starts under a glacier, it can generate a sudden surge of water that can damage man-made structures.
- Always wear a helmet in the vicinity of eruptions.
- Avoid areas where ash is falling, because of the danger of lightning, and keep in mind that the falling ash can create total darkness. If hit by falling ash, take the shortest way out by moving perpendicular to the direction of the wind.
- Wear a dust mask or keep a wet cloth over your nostrils and mouth.
- Stay where the wind blows and do not go into low areas were gas can accumulate. The gas is a lethal poison, which in most cases has no smell and is difficult to detect.
- Shut windows in the path of the eruption and prevent fallen ash from entering the house through the chimney
Health effects of short-term volcanic SO2 exposure and reccommended actions (PDF table)
Warning information: Eruption Emergency Guidelines Katla and Eyjafjallajökull
Katla information poster
- HEKLA information poster
- Update on the volcanic activity in Eyjafjallajökull
The Grímsvötn eruption 2004 Information from the Icelandic Meteorological Office
- Katla Volcano and Eyjafjallajökull on youtube.com