Iceland on alert as earthquakes raise eruption fears

Iceland is on alert after two large earthquakes hit one of the country's largest volcanoes, raising concerns of a possible eruption.

The Katla volcano has not erupted since 1918, but scientists have said it is overdue.

The volcano, situated in southern Iceland, was rocked by quakes of 4.5 magnitude and 4.6 on Monday morning.

It also experienced similar seismic movements in 2011.

A car drives through the ash caused by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 Credit: PA

The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) confirmed the unusual activity but said an eruption could be decades away.

Natural hazards scientist at IMO, Matthew Roberts, told reporters: "It is quite a dynamic situation now, in the next hours and days following this, but as we speak at the moment we do not see any signs that there is an imminent hazardous unrest about to happen."

Roberts explained how an ice cap on the volcano should, in the event of an eruption, typically contain lava for approximately 60-90 minutes - giving enough time to alert the local population and international air traffic.

In 2010, ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano shut down most of Europe's air space for six days causing travel chaos around the world.