Katla was a name I saw repeatedly when I arrived in Iceland. It was the name of the Icelandair plane that I flew on, the brand of Icelandic vodka I happened to pick up at the duty free when I arrived in the country, and came up regularly in tourist centres, museums, and in pamphlets.
Why? Katla is a massive volcano. Remember that volcano that erupted in 2010? The one that held up air travel for several days? That one was so small it didn’t even have a name. It was referred to by the name of the ice cap that covered it, Eyjafjallajökull.
Katla erupts every 13-95 years. It’s overdue now, at 97 years since the last eruption. Because of this, Icelanders are waiting for it to happen any day. In the south, they are prepared to evacuate within 45 minutes at the signal.