Earthquake activity in Katla volcano

This article is going to be updated in the next 24 hours if needed. Details are few at this moment.

A magnitude 3,6 earthquake (automatic magnitude estimate) has happened in Katla volcano. Few other earthquakes happened before the largest earthquake and few minor earthquakes took place after it. At the moment activity has dropped down (as it appears on my geophone) to nothing. That might change without warning.

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. This image does not have the magnitude 3,6 (automatic magnitude estimate) in it. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

At the moment no harmonic tremor has appeared on the SIL stations around Katla volcano. This means that eruption has not started. Until an harmonic tremor appears, this is just an earthquake activity.

This article is going to be updated if needed in few hours (around 16:00 GMT/UTC due to my current day plan).

57 Replies to “Earthquake activity in Katla volcano”

  1. I started commenting on it in the latest article on TFZ, but realized I should should find the most recent one on Katla instead. The early alert showed some strong readings that didn’t seem caused by anomalies.. Nice to see you were fast on the case, Jon!

    This must be the strongest EQ in that region in many years..?

    1. This is the strongest earthquake in Katla volcano this year for sure. EMSC is report magnitude 3,6, but that might be based on data only from IMO.

      1. IMO says they are the strongest earthquakes since modern instrumentation, which is many decades I think!

        Jon, I have a question: every day I see quakes at Godabunga and Habunga.
        Godabunga also had a quake (MW 3.1) this morning at a depth of a 100 meters.
        I wondered if they are connected in some way; can you tell me something about this please?
        Thank you for your answer!

        Kind regards,

        Henk Weijerstrass

      2. This locations are high area in the Mýrdalsjökull glacier (Goðabunga, Hábunga). The Goðabungu area has for the longest time had its own earthquake activity separated from the activity in the caldera. Why that happens is not known.

        Map from USGS,

        Connected article from USGS about Katla volcano,

  2. I just happened to be awake when this activity happened. I still have to go to sleep, so more might happen when I’m sleeping. I’ll write about it tomorrow, either update this article or write a new one about what is going on in Katla volcano.

  3. So the latest count I see is 3 x 3.1 and a 3.0 around Katla and also a 3.2 from Bardy just to keep us watching there as well!

    1. Ok just finished posting that and my page refreshed and its changed again now shows a 4.3 and a 4.2 in place of two of the 3.1’s this is sounding like Katla is getting her show face on!

  4. Largest earthquake in Katla volcano so far. IMO has upgrade the main earthquake at 01:47 to magnitude 4,9. It might change tomorrow as the data is reviewed. This it the largest earthquake in Katla volcano since at least 1955.

    1. If there is an eruption you will NOT be wondering if they’re clouds or not. You will look and you will say ‘oh sh!t!’.

  5. Monday
    29.08.2016 09:46:18 64.679 -17.514 2.9 km 0.0 99.0 4.4 km N of Bárðarbunga

    1. I don’t think so. This looks like classical Katla activity in the caldera; the cryptodome is virtually silent. Indeed I’ve read speculation that it may in time amount to a separate volcano.

  6. Another EQ in the Katla caldera at 15:12. Nothing like the swarm last night, probably closer to M2.5 than a green star, but still. Very keen to follow the development of Katla.

    1. My hunch: Jon is going to be very busy on this blog in the next couple of years and it would be a big fat bummer if his hardware and other issues prevented him from posting regularly. I highly recommend donations to keep Jon up and running.

      Jon, the last time I tried to buy something from Amazon (USA) on your site, I ran into difficulties. I am a frequent Amazon shopper. Will I be able to buy off the U.S. Amazon here?

      1. zyfly, Yes, if you follow the links or the banners on my website. The clicks are valid for 24 hours (set by a cookie).

        I haven’t heard of any problems with Amazon USA banners. I have discovered few problems and had Amazon fix those problems by contacting them.

    1. It’s like reading two transposed papers. The Daily Mail referring to an eruption fear, but the Independent saying Katla set to erupt. That feels the wrong way round for these papers.

  7. New notice on Icelandic Met Office website: ‘Warning: Glacial water is flowing into Múlakvísl river, south of Mýrdalsjökull. Increased conductivity has been measured in the river and gas measurements in the area show high concentrations of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide.’

  8. Hi
    I’m very much enjoying reading about this and following the activity on

    But I’m curious if there is a better place to monitor tremor activity? The tremor map have several measuring stations but only a few of them seem to be clickable. Is there another page that works better for this kind of data?

      1. Thank you 🙂

        But which of these are relevant to Katla? I’m new to this and it’s a bit difficult to get an understanding of it when the different measurments arn’t connected to a map.

      2. It sure would be nice if the ‘AUS’ station could be up and running. What happened to it, and how long has it been down? ‘SLY’ is still pretty remote from the center of recent events. The readings are as good westward, at ‘GOD’ station.

        Here’s a map over most of the SIL stations. It is, however, not up to date.

      1. Magma appears on 0.5Hz on the SIL stations. In the case of Katla, like Grímsfjall volcanoes. All the bands are going to go crazy once an eruption start. Currently there is just background noise on them.

    1. Basically the quakes activity has stopped for some hours .I think it is like summer of 2011 with the small underglacier eruption if continues so normal .The only thing that troubles my thoughts ,is the 5R earthquake i think is the most powerfull from 1955 .

      1. If there was at least one working station located on top of, or very close to, the Katla caldera – shouldn’t we then be able to observe harmonic tremor caused by the runoff water?

        Perhaps such a station would also detect data showing magma influx in the Katla volcanic system?

      2. Above comment was not really intended as a reply to Giorgos. 🙂 I probably clicked a reply-link by mistake.

        It’s hard, perhaps impossible, to tell last time EQs this big (2 separate M4.5) occured in Katla system. The technology used to properly measure seismicity/tremor was installed much later than 1955.

    2. Just after the big quake there was a single spike with the red being at the top..

      The red is if Jon is correct the magma one??

      It can be seen on the HVO station

  9. I sure hope there is equipment newer than 1955 heck I was born in 1948 and I can tell you that anything that’s almost as old as me really needs replacing!!

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