Magnitude 3,4 earthquake in Katla volcano

Today (14-December-2016) at 14:31 UTC a magnitude 3,4 earthquake took place in Katla volcano. No other earthquakes took place following this earthquake.

The earthquake in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This is just a single earthquake, it is difficult to know why it happened without any other activity also taking place. Far as I know, not much has actually changed since Katla volcano begin to warm up for an eruption in August (this is my view only). This is even if the earthquake activity has slowed down in last few weeks, since that can happen sometimes in a volcano (why that happens is not known far as I know).


Few weeks ago I got a hardware donation (as always, I’m thankful for the support), a laptop from 2009 that was in used condition. Unfortunately that laptop had faults that made it unusable for me, faults that I’m sure previous owners did not know of, but made it such that I was unable to use it when I travel. So I have now bought a new laptop at the price of 748,83€ (89.950,00 ISK). The problem is that my attempt to get a loan failed, since I’m living in Denmark (new system based on new laws targeted at payday loan companies that appeared in Iceland after the recession in 2008) and the new system does not allow for a loan payments (besides bank) for Icelanders living outside Iceland. My business bank in Iceland helped me buying the computer, since without the computer I cannot work (writing about volcanoes in Iceland and other things). The main problem starts in January-2017 on how to pay for the computer (and buy food and pay all the bills at the same time, I’m working on a solution in the case I can’t pay it all at once [current chance of that is 98%]). If people want to help me with this hardware buying they can do so with donation, since I plan to let as much of donation as I can go up to this payment (debt) until it is paid down. Thanks for the support. 🙂

Note: Currently I’m having money issue (since 2012 actually due to interactions of many issues and problems), since hardware has been failing due to old age in the last few weeks and months. There is not much I can do about but to respond to it best to my abilities and those abilities are limited at the moment. I have a plan to resolve this debt issue by 2018 (majority of it) and the rest in 2019 and 2020 if needed.

17 Replies to “Magnitude 3,4 earthquake in Katla volcano”

  1. Hi. I did not find any information that the author has registered a charity or a foundation – yet still asks for donations. Beware!

    Icelanding Met Office has a website with great detailed maps, worth having a look.

    1. There is no mystery or scam to beware of, The donations are specified as being to help him out personally as thanks for the service he provides here.

    2. Aga if you had done as much study of this site as you seem to have done on charities, you would not be making such a silly hurtful comment. Those of us who donate to Jon do so because we understand his situation and his desire to maintain a site where many of us come to share insights and observations about Iceland and its many geological features none of us ask for or expect any tax benefit for those donations. Unlike trolls who try to create issues where there is none, we do it because we appreciate the huge financial burden it places on Jon to update , maintain and moderate this site and his other site (s)

  2. I’m not sure what AGA is implying here? It seems perfectly reasonable to me that the author tries to cover his costs, via advertising and / or any other legal method.
    Jon’s always been very transparent about what he does and costs he incurs. Wether or not people want to donate is down to individual preference, but i don’t think there is a requirement for him to be registered as charity. In my view this is a well run blog on volcanism, which attracts all sorts, experts and hobbiests alike. Whilst the Iceland Met office is a great site (often referred to on this site) I don’t believe it offers the ability for open discussion, the way this site does.

  3. I wonder what caused this earthquake, and whether or not the lack of aftershocks means anything. Since magma is viscous substance, I wouldn’t expect to see a change in magma flow to cause a single earthquake of this size. The location on this earthquake is quite interesting, this area has seen a lot of activity lately. Inflation in the area? Or some event in the fissure? Other possibilities?

    Holidays are depleting my account fast, but I hope I’ll be able to make at least a small donation this month. 🙂 Hang in there!

    1. Based on the trace it left on my geophone in Heklubyggð I would guess it was due a change in gas or hydrothermal vent that has formed in (a guess) in this area under the glacier. That would also explain why no other aftershock happened following this earthquake. It is however important to remember that sometimes one-off earthquake just happen for no special reason.

      Thanks for the support. 🙂

      1. I admit that I have hard time wrapping my head around the idea that an one-off earthquake of this size would happen in this particular area at this particular time just because the volcano felt like it…just seems unlikely.

        Your explanation makes sense, though! And today, there are two new swarms nearby to contemplate…

    1. Hello,

      Please don’t just post links like you are doing here. You are free to use the “Website” option when you post a comment for your website (then the link is in your name and clickable from there). If you do this again I’ll delete the comment without warning. I got nothing against other websites, but I’ve gotten real tiered of people using this website to increase there popularity of their own website that they run.

      My best advice is that if you do things properly and in a good way, then you will gain a reading audience, but do not be surprised if it takes some time, up to several years. Also, don’t expect millions of hits like the big websites. The reality is that most websites on the internet get around ~2000 page views a day normally. It can go up and down from that number. Only select few websites get millions of hits per month and all of those websites are run by big companies that spend billions of € in infrastructure and servers for that type of traffic. The rest of us just do this on a shoe string budget and often at a loss.

      Have a nice day. 🙂

      1. I apologize for the misunderstanding, but since I do not speak english very well this is my last comment!

  4. SR
    I think that is why many of the volcanoes in Iceland have been given female names, they like many of the women I know are totally given to eruptions without much warning or logic involved.

    1. Traditionally it is excepted that ladies have the right to change their minds – many ladies say this is so their logic can have its voice and be recognised. I am sure, that just like ladies, volcanoes have a certain method in what seems to be madness, it is simply one which we humans do not yet fully understand. (Jack, I am playing a bit here, I did not find your comment offensive). I do, though think that the geological processes operate in a systemic way by virtue of their nature, processes with many variables which we cannot quite understand, thus, seeming to react on a whim. I don´t know if I would like to live in a world where we understood all of the behaviors of mother earth though. Maybe a little mystery adds something to life, although I know I have also enjoyed the increased knowledge which has come to light during my lifetime.

    2. Hmm… the actions of these women don’t seem to have much warning or logic involved. The key word here is *seem*. It may seem so to you because you weren’t really paying attention– plenty of signals, but men kind of have to work harder to pick them up. A more sensitive seismic network, so to speak. Many guys aren’t willing to take the trouble, after all. Women are easily dismissed, that is until they erupt!

    3. The names come from old fray tales. Most of the names where the names of witches and such.

      In the case of Katla*. She had hired her self to be a house caretaker of monks in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, but they considered her a witch with magic. A sheep herder called Bárði that was expected to guard the seep while Katla and the monks had gone to a celebration, he was expected to collect all the sheep before they came home from the celebration. When Bárði saw that he was not able to do that, he stole Katla undergarment and was able to run and collect all the sheep that way, that made Katla angry when she discovered he had done this and stolen her undergarmen, she took Bárði and drowned him in a acid barrel (*used to store food for long term in the old days). Nobody knew what had happened to Bárði, slowly the acid of the barrel got lower, as it got lower people heard Katla say to her self quietly that soon Bárði would be seen. When Katla discovered that Bárði would soon be discovered she got into her undergarment and ran up to a glacier and fell into a large glacier rift (*I don’t have the correct English word) and was never seen after that. Soon after a large flood did come down the glacier and did go in the direction of the monastery. People believed that Katla with her magic was responsible for the flood. The canyon that flood came down was called Kötlugjá (**Katla valley) and the land lost was called Kötlusandur (**Katla sand).

      This is not a 100% translation.
      * = Not part of the story, explanation of what item do.
      ** = Translation.

      Original Icelandic,

      1. (Just so you know the word in English for a deep crack in a glacier is ‘crevasse’. If the crack is between the ice and the rock at the top or side of a glacier we use the German word in English too: ‘bergschrund’ 🙂 )

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