Iceland has been placed on high alert as its biggest volcano is set to erupt for the first time in 290 years.
The Icelandic Met Office has warned that a massive ice cauldron measuring one km in diameter has formed at the epicenter of the Öræfajökull volcano.
Dailystar.co.uk reports: Stunning satellite images taken during a flyover of the region show the new ice cauldron has developed within the volcano in the last week.
This suggests that activity at the volcano, located in Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, is increasing, according to the Icelandic Met Office (IMO).
A river in the glacier has been spewing sulfuric gases and seismic activity has been on the rise in the region in recent months, the forecast said.
“This data indicates increased activity of the volcano which has not erupted since 1727,” the IMO said in a press release published on November 17.
There are no signs of an imminent eruption, the IMO said.
However, the spike in activity has raised the eruption warning level to yellow – the third highest level out of five.
The IMO said it has “increased surveillance of the area and is monitoring the volcano closely”.
A yellow warning code denotes the volcano is “experiencing signs of elevated unrest above known background levels”.
Memories of the 2014 eruption and the flight chaos caused by the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano the may worry airlines and locals.
Seven years ago Iceland’s massive Eyjafjallajökull erupted and spewed a choking veil of ash across Europe.
The deadly volcanic dust wiped out skies and grounded 100,000 flights, resulting in the economy losing £4 billion.
Should an eruption of Öræfajökull take place, it’s possible there could be a repeat.
Last month Iceland’s biggest volcano, 6,591ft tall Bardarbunga, was rattled by the four largest earthquakes since it last erupted in 2014.
Páll Einarsson, a volcanology expert at the University of Iceland, said the latest quakes are part of a series that have been “in progress for two years”.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, he said the volcano is “clearly preparing for its next eruption” within the next few years.