Katla volcano update at 17:12 UTC

This is going to be the last update on Katla volcano until something more happens.

Currently everything is quiet in Katla volcano. Only two earthquakes happened during the night, the larger one had the magnitude of 2,0 the smaller earthquake had the magnitude of 0,5. There is a good chance that smaller earthquakes have been taking place without being detected due to a bad weather in the area at the moment. Conductivity remains high in Múlakvísl around 180 µS/cm, it is lower today then yesterday, possibly due to heavy rain in south Iceland.

The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the past 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Quiet period in Katla volcano can last up to a week (in my experience). What exactly happens next is impossible to know, but it is clear that Katla volcano is getting real close to erupting. When that might happen is impossible to know as before. All that can be done is to wait and see.

Storm warning for Iceland Sunday and Monday

There is a storm warning for Iceland for Sunday and Monday. Wind gusts can go up to 40m/sec with constant wind at 20m/sec and heavy rain. Please check vedur.is for more information.

44 Replies to “Katla volcano update at 17:12 UTC”

  1. If Katla does erupt I hope all the people of Iceland stay safe especially those who live close to her.

  2. If katla were to erupt anytime soon, would it have any effect on northern hemisphere winter weather please? ( hope this question does not appear to trivial)

      1. If the ash cloud reach the high part of the atmosphere that part is very stable and the ash could spread it and affect the climate, but this case only was in Krakatoa’s explosion ( If I remember well…) in 1883.

      2. No. No impact.

        Katla largest ever eruption was a VEI6 at the end of the ice age. But that size is still relatively small to cause a climate disruption. That is as large as Pinatubo eruption, and its impact was small.

        Hekla very big eruption in 1104 might have had an impact however, but this is not clear.

        The impact of Icelandic eruptions come more often when it is in fissure flood basalts like Laki or Edlgjá. These are known to cause temporaly climate disruption due to injected SO2. But these must be massive eruptions.

        Except for the eruption I mentioned above, all Katla eruptions, some very large up to VEI5, had no impact.

        However airplane travel impact could be expected. SImilar degree to what happened in 2010. But perhaps not as much, because in 2010 the weather patterns were also unusual favourable for wind dispersion towards Europe. Usually not.

      3. Irpsit, not questioning your assumptions, but was wondering if these assumptions have factored in the chemical composition of the magma and gases under Katla (and how much this is knowable) along with the phreatic nature of the eruption and the unknown time that Katla could erupt explosively.

  3. Thank you for reply Jon. Must add I’m very glad I finally found you again. Lost you after bardarbunga, changed phone and for life of me could not remember your name! Seems I stumbled across you once more just at the right time! Looking forward to all your updates and putting to use what I learned from you last time 🙂

  4. Jón, yesterday you told about the low glacier river, and the folkstale on Iceland. Do you have any information about the level today?

    1. The levels are about the same since yesterday. There has been worse weather today than yesterday according the forecast with rain. Meaning there is less conductivity in Múlakvísl.

      You can track the changes here, just pick a station close to Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The station you want to monitor is Múlakvísl.


  5. Hi Jón, the graphics hvo and aus are rising up in all the frequencies, until that lines don’t move like crazinest (like the blue when there is a seismic swarm) we cannot difference the bad weather than a starter eruption, isn’t it? What level has to reach the red line to talk about a starting eruption tremor? 🙂 Thank you so much for answer all our doubts :).

  6. Hello, Jon
    . I noted in your dates of volcanic eruptions in Iceland, October 12 has come up a couple of time for Katla. We are only days away from. October 12, so I will be watching to see if Katla selects this date again. How strange it is that a volcano would choose a particular date more than once. Perhaps the gnomes at work?

    1. No gnomes, but as I said down, Katla exhibits seasonal activity, and almost 90% of its eruptions take place in summer and early autumn, maybe glacial melting places a role on it.

      But more strangely is the Hekla strong tendency to erupt in the first half of the year. That I can´t explain. But no other Icelandic volcanoes exhibit seasonal tendencies.

  7. For everyone watching Katla… if Katla erupts:

    1. You won’t have any doubt watching the webcams; it’ll look like an atomic bomb went off – then everything may go dark. Or the webcams offline.

    2. You won’t have any doubt watching the tremor plots; you’ll see a sudden massive jump in all frequencies – just like the Grimsvotn example Jon posted.

    3. You won’t have any doubt watching the drums; you’ll see high-amplitude harmonic tremor.

    4. If you’re watching the river gauges they won’t be recording because the hlaup will have moved them to the Atlantic ocean.

    OK slight exaggeration but you get the general idea!

    1. It´s really true, a “normal” Katla explosive eruption is very violent. First tremor will go through the roof, then a unbelievable flood will happen (as large as the Amazon river), then a ash cloud larger than Eyja will emerge.

      Unless a small subglacial eruption occurs (like possibly in July 2011). In such case, nothing happens in the ice cap, except new cauldrons, a flood happens and destroys bridges but still not enough to bring the river gauges with it, but tremor will suddently become very high, like in happened in July 2011. These sort of eruptions are small and not enough to break through the ice. And we aren´t even sure whether they really happen.

  8. 12 October… yes, Katla has the strange tendency to erupt in summer or early autumn.

    Almost 90% of all Katla eruptions take place between June and November.
    3 started in October, 1 in November, 1 in September, 1 in August, 1 in July, 2 in June and 2 in May.

    Actually Katla has seasonal earthquake activity, also in these times of the year.

    Possibly glacial melting from summer, pours water into geothermal areas and triggers a volcanic process of earthquakes, which sometimes ends up in an eruption.

    More strange is the fact that Hekla eruptions almost always take place in the first half of the year. This surprises me even more. There must be a reason for it.

    15 eruptions in the first half of the year, out of 21.
    1 in December, 3 in January, 3 in February, 1 in March, 4 in April, 4 in May, 2 in July, 1 in August, 1 in September

    No other seasonal activity occurs in any other volcano in Iceland.

    1. I think it is just looking at the data and wanting to see something. You could also say: 4 in April and May and only 1 in December and January. So more eruptions in the spring. Or: in the winter (oktober until may) 12 and summer 8. Just depending on the interpretation you choose…..

    2. Objectively speaking, Katla and Hekla do have seasonal tendencies. Its not a matter of interpretation.

      If you plot eruption data over a graph you will see a seasonal distribution. Also that happens too with seismicity every year and with GPS changes)

      The seasonality of Katla is actually observed scientifically, not just by me!
      Including at IMO.

      Rather than less ice pressure (which is a small difference), it´s possibly that it is summer meltwater that triggers the volcano.

      On Hekla, the seasonality is not as clear but it seems to be there as well. For Hekla, I dont even have an explanation for it.

      1. Ah ok, I do know that the seismic activity is seasonal. And indeed, the most logical explanation is the melting of snow. I did not know that the eruption data is also seasonal, statistically.

      2. You need around 1000 measurements to be able to get any statistical significant trend when it comes to this. At least 500 to even see a tendency. The number of measurements you have can not give an indication from a statistical perspective…

        As Jen said, you see a pattern because you are looking for a pattern.

        If you roll a dice ten times in a row and get the same value all ten times, what is the probability to get the same value the eleventh time? Still one out of six…

        A popular exercise in statistics classes is to make the student roll a dice one thousand times and write down the results. The teacher can directly spot the students that have cheated, just by looking at the data. The ones that have cheated have no numerical patterns (number six five times in a row etc) in their result…

  9. I watched the Katla cam during the 2010 eruption—just a several puffs of steam one moon lite evening. Odd are better for a little burp than a VEI 3 or greater. After I say the puffs of steam I posted on this blog and was told it was just weather only for the minor eruption for be confirmed the next day.

  10. Arctic Adventures ‏@ArcticAdventure 6 minHá 6 minutos
    The roads around Katla have officially opened again. Time to get back on the glacier! http://bit.ly/2d8IVPV
    Photo by: Hunter Lawrence

    1. I am not sure what you mean with confirm? Is says what happened last week. Information that was also on this site.

      1. Following a meeting with the Scientific Advisory Board of the Civil Protection concluded that the seismic activity is caused by magma movement within the Katla caldera.

        Is this correct ????

      2. Ah, that’s what you mean 😉 I do remember Jón mentioning it somewhere. Not in the beginning but later on. So I guess it is true!

      3. Yes, I remember, but I don’t find this information on Icelandic Met Office, and this seems to be a today conclusion !!!! Read carefully the link….

  11. Mmmm, I also can’t find it on the site of Icelandic Met Office. Sorry, then I don’t know!

  12. Firs earthquake in the crater for a long time now, maybe just maybe it’s getting back at it:P

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