Earthquakes in Katla volcano. Earthquake swarm continues close to Herðubreið. Other earthquake activity

This morning there was a short earthquake swarm in Katla volcano caldera. This earthquake looks like a minor dike intrusion did take place this morning. Current series of events did start on 28. April 2012. With a small earthquake event and a small glacier flood that did follow it. Along with harmonic tremors coming from the glacier flood and possibly Katla volcano caldera (hydro-thermal activity boiling or something of that nature). I do not yet know if there was any glacier flood following the event this morning. But so far there is nothing that suggests a small glacier flood did take place following the earthquake swarm this morning.

The earthquake swarm this morning took place on an location that did erupt on 8 and 9th of July 2011. So it is clear the area that erupted last year is picking up activity again. But there was an drop in activity from end of November 2011 until end of April 2012.

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano this morning. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

This earthquake activity did appear well on my geophone at Skeiðflöt farm.

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano caldera this morning on my Skeiðflöt geophone. There is a lot of noise on this geophone. But earthquake activity can still be seen on this. The earthquakes are marked by red (some noise is also marked by red). This picture is released under Creative Commons Licence. See CC Licence page for more details.

It is clear that Katla volcano seems to be warming up to an eruption. But it is impossible to know when such eruption might happen, or how big it is going to be.


Earthquake activity continues south-west of Herðubreið. But almost all of the earthquakes have been less then ML2.0 in magnitude. Earthquake activity has been slowing down all day. At the moment, it appears this earthquake swarm is close to being over.

The earthquake activity close to Herðubreið mountain. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.

This area is well known for for earthquake activity. So this is not something that is new in this area.

Reykjanes Ridge

According to EMSC and USGS there have been several earthquakes with the magnitude of Mb4.5 to Mb4.8 on the Reykjanes Ridge. Earthquake activity is common on the Reykjanes Ridge. But because of the location and depth (around 2km) it is impossible to know if there any volcano eruption taking place at this location. It might well be, or not.

Kolbeinsey Island

Over the past weeks there has been some earthquake activity close to or in Kolbeinsey Island. The largest earthquakes have had the magnitude around ML3.0, with some underestimates due to distance from the SIL network. At this moment it is impossible to know if this earthquake activity is related to possible eruption activity. But it believed that an eruption (or dike intrusion) took place on Kolbeinsey Ridge in the year 1999. It started off with a large earthquake swarm.

17 Replies to “Earthquakes in Katla volcano. Earthquake swarm continues close to Herðubreið. Other earthquake activity”

  1. Your Skeiðflöt farm geophone is easier to desipher than it used to be.

    1. There has been less wind in the spring. That is the reason. It seems that southern wind that are often in Iceland during the winter create a lot of wind and wave noise on it and IMO SIL seismometers.

      1. Thanks for that Jon! Wind is currently 10kph, The cam shaking is only up ond down – no side-to-side movement.

        Must be a wobbly mount! Makes it look dramatic, anyway.

  2. Iceland seems to be a popular place to shoot movies now.

    Ben Stiller is making a movie called “The secret life of Walter Mitty”.

    Tom Cruise will be starring in a movie called “Oblivion”.

    “A court martial sends a veteran soldier to a distant planet, where he is to destroy the remains of an alien race. The arrival of an unexpected traveler causes him to question what he knows about the planet, his mission, and himself.”

    And Russell Crowe will be starring in a movie called Noah.
    I wonder if thats the only religious movie of those 3.
    Tom Cruise in the Science Church, and they are more far reaching in their ideas than many others.

    Iceland will be swamped with superstars this summer.

  3. Could we possibly see an eruption in the Askja area anytime soon?

      1. How are you certain that it is not currently doing a small eruption?

  4. Another long time lurker, excellent blog Jon, thank you.

    The swarm is continuing near askja. the graph plot of earthquakes here is in a straight line from surface down to 20km. There is a bulge around 5km depth – is this a magma chamber?

    Katla: I notice at the Hydro station V089 the PH levels following katla tremors This week have dropped from ph8 to ph0, currently 0. What is the cause of this? Are we seeing the surface release of magma or gases? Is this abnormal for this station.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. The plot is what the research team were investigating along with temperature rises in lake.

      The thermo imaging viat satellite appears interesting but not without historical reference points.

      Given that the glaciers must be blocking a large part of that data, it is logical to assume it extends beneath them into the areas of activity.

      They are monitoring radar reflectivity from the glaciers, so I presume that is to observe accelerated change should it occur.

      1. Scots John;
        There is some historical data for the last two weeks via this link;

        The background temperature difference of the surface (I think this is what the following picture shows) is only seen when an area is free from cloud and ice so you have to go back to May 4th to get a decent view of the area around Askja;

        Without further historical data I have no idea whether or not this is normal but my guess is that it probably is normal.

  5. Yes thanks I did study this, I wish I could translate the data in the parent directory too.

    The troubling thing about the thermal image is that it is directly above the hypothesised mantle plume. Whether or not that is a reality has been brought to the fore again with the seismic blip that occurred on almost every Icelandic SIL station, most actively centered over the plume.

  6. Múlakvísl; V089
    Water temperature has a half hour is rising or at least maintained at + – 5 C, not whether it will be some anomaly, but looking at the historical temperature rise is usually about 2 C in the afternoon, if a data irrevelante , tell me.

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