Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Today (15-December-2016) a minor earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm had the magnitude of 2,0. Other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. Due to bad weather in Iceland at the moment the sensitivity of the SIL network is less than on a quiet wind day.

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

This earthquake started around 12 hours after the magnitude 3,4 earthquake that took place in Katla volcano yesterday. It is difficult to know for sure if those events are connected, that might be, but without some study into this swarm its a question that I don’t have an answer to. This earthquake swarm is located almost directly in Austmannsbunga in Katla volcano caldera (SIL station with the same name is close to this location). This earthquake swarm was not strong in magnitude of earthquakes, but it was considerable in number of earthquakes that happened in Katla volcano today.


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15 Replies to “Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano”

  1. Jon is it possible that a fissure could be developing or even opening up going from west to east. And maybe later head north east.

  2. Jon, I think the process is the Bárðarbunga rift involving the Katla, earthquakes of both volcanoes are always on little time away.
    It has happened in the past with Torfajökull.

    1. Rifting events at one area of the eastern volcano zone is not connected to an event in other parts of it. But given how nature is, more then one thing can happen at more then one location at the same time.

      In Iceland this can mean two eruptions or eruption close in time along the rift zone areas. Last time this happened was in 2011. When Grímsfjall volcano erupted, Hamarinn erupted (minor) and Katla volcano erupted (minor). I’ve learned to expect everything when it comes to volcanoes in Iceland, but I’ve also learned that I have to be patient, this can happen at slower speed then a snail moves in a day.

    1. It’s talking about the one off the west coast of the US close to the California/Oregon border, but out to sea a few hundred miles. Very interesting.

      1. Diedre, it’s not possible to link directly to the stations on that page. You need to log in using login info on the right at the front page or click on the hydrology map on IMO website. It’s a bit messy I know.

        Solli, thank you for the heads-up! It went down again fairly quickly, but still a sign that Katla has not yet settled for a winter “sleep”. I believe that a surge of hightened conductivity was to be expected. There is typically a rush of glacial water after EQ swarms like the one happening the last days.
        Also, earlier today there were a bunch of spikes on the AUS seismometer that might somehow be related to the movement of this fresh meltwater. It has not been listed as EQs by IMO, and the spikes don’t look like connection errors either.

      2. Z,
        Thank you. I’ll have to re-visit the link and do what you said will get me into the website. 🙂

    1. You should only be alarmed if the conductivity goes above 600µS/cm. Conductivity is higher than normal but at the moment this is nothing but hydrothermal activity melting glacier.

    1. How come Adalból (ADA) station in Eastern Iceland keep getting strong readings whenever there is earthquake activity in Katla region? This has been occurring regularly for I don’t know how long. I’m aware that this is some sort of technical glitch, but still I find it curious.

      Today’s EQ is no exception:

  3. Just saying a huge storm to Iceland next days with lowest pressure of 950hPa passing on Icelandic south coast by 20 December…

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