Sharp increase in earthquake activity in Katla volcano

In the last 24 hours there has been a sharp increase of earthquakes in Katla volcano. This started yesterday with few minor earthquakes swarms with long quiet period between activity happening. This is what happens when magma is trying to push it self out of a volcano, but doesn’t have the energy to do so just yet. It is not fully understood why most of the earthquakes happen at 0,1 km depth, but it has been theorised (not proven) that Katla volcano is already so hot in the magma tubes that no further earthquakes are possible (for now at least). Details can be found here and here (pdf).

The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the last 24 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Largest earthquake so far had the magnitude of 3,3. Other earthquakes that have happened are smaller in magnitude at the moment. Current earthquake count is 74 earthquakes, I think that number is going to increase if this earthquake activity continues. I suspect that it is going to do so, there might however be a drop in activity for few hours, days and up to several weeks at the time. Why that happens is something I don’t know. It is also worth noticing that there has been a lot of negative value earthquakes taking place. Those don’t show up on the new Icelandic Met Office website, just the old one.

There is a good chance of conductivity changes in glacier rivers from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. That data can be viewed here, just click on station to view its data. Please note that linking to a station here (in the comment) doesn’t work, I don’t know why that is.

Update 25.01.2017

On 24.01.2017 at 11:13 UTC a magnitude 3,1 earthquake took place in Katla volcano caldera. This earthquake was close to the area where considerable earthquake swarm had taken place. Since then the earthquake activity has quieted down a bit.

The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the last 24 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Currently there is a quiet in the earthquake activity, since it happens in pulses with drop or no activity between them. The earthquakes that have been happening and I have recorded are hybrid earthquakes (details here). I don’t know if there have been any low frequency earthquakes or very low frequency earthquakes. I expect this earthquake activity to continue.


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Article updated on 25.01.2017 at 04:38 UTC.