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Existing lowland ice caps are usually considered the best analogues for formerly glaciated areas and as such Icelandic glaciers have been intensively investigated with regard to process-orientated sediment-landform interrelationships. Much work has been directed towards understanding the interaction between volcanic activity and glacier response i.e. water outbursts - jokulhlhaups and sudden events of rapid flowing glacial ice surges.
The Myrdalsjokull ice cap is located in south central Iceland and is centered over a large caldera hosting the Katla central volcano that encircles an area of 100 km2. Eruptions from the Katla volcanic system occur on average twice a century and belong to the most violent geological events observed associated with an enormous outburst of water with strong influence on the ice cap and surrounding areas. During eruptions, huge quantities of tephra and volcanic gasses are also emitted. The ice cap drains into several basins via a series of outlet glaciers that terminate onto different forefields.
Since the turn of the previous century Myrdalsjokull has retreated from its Little Ice Age maximum by frontal or areal retreat only punctuated by abrupt minor advances or temporary stagnation. Either way this does provide a unique opportunity to investigate a diversity of glacial environments and its coupling to volcanic activity. This book covers all aspects of the ice cap and volcano dynamics. It includes comprehensive reviews with updated results.