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Images Show the Shrinking Ice Caps of Iceland.

Satellite images reveal Iceland's shrinking ice caps


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 5:30 PM - Startling images released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) show a significant decrease in Iceland's ice cover between 1986 and 2014.

The ice caps are located atop two active volcanoes, Mýrdalsjökull -- the larger cap in the video above -- and Eyjafjallajökull, the smaller cap situated to the left.

The ice that's left behind in the 2014 image looks brown and dull, the result of volcanic ash from previous eruptions that have become visible due to years of receding ice.

"More than 40 years of Landsat [satellite] observations have allowed many of the Earth's glaciers to be accurately mapped, and changes to these features are being monitored over time," the USGS says.

Scientists are keeping a close eye on the region.


RELATED: Chile's Villaricca volcano erupts


Mýrdalsjökull erupts every 40 to 80 years, with the last occurring in 1918. Geologists say the crater is due for another large eruption soon.

Eyjafjallajökull made headlines when it erupted in 2010. While the event was relatively small compared to previous volcanic activity, it caused massive travel disruptions across Europe for six days, with local delays continuing until May.

An estimated 10 million travellers were affected.

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