Sharp increase in earthquakes in Katla volcano

Yesterday (05-January-2018) a warning was issued about higher conductivity in glacier rivers from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This is due to increased activity in Katla volcano. At the moment the conductivity is around 613 µS/cm according to Icelandic Met Office (I can’t find that number on their website for unknown reasons). Volcano gas has also been registered at Láguhvolar SIL station (a gas measurement takes place there). Last time this happened was in November-2017 when a slightly larger glacier flood took place.

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

Following the glacier flood was a sharp increase in earthquake activity. It is unclear why that happened as glacier flood do not require special earthquake activity to happen. There are no clear sign of minor eruptions happening on SIL stations around Katla volcano. I have not seen any change in tremor plots from SIL stations around Katla volcano. As it now stands I am expecting more earthquake activity and more glacier flood activity if this follows earlier pattern. That might not happen and it is difficult to know for sure what is going to happen next. Largest earthquake in current activity had the magnitude of 2,1 and all other earthquakes have so far been smaller in magnitude. All earthquakes have depth shallower than 1 km.

Sorry if my English is bit off. I did travel for good 14 hours (start time at ~04:10 and got home at ~18:40) on 4th of January-2018. This is the time it takes me to travel home (Denmark) from Iceland. I was completely exhausted once I got home.


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29 Replies to “Sharp increase in earthquakes in Katla volcano”

  1. Thank you for your work, Jon (sorry but I don’t know how to do accents on letters). HNY to you!

    1. Im curious, what accent did you have in mind? I’m thinking a thick glasgowian(if that’s a word) accent 🙂

      And thank you Jón, you’re the best. Do you need computer parts? Please reply if you do.

      1. Alexander, the word is “Glaswegian”, but I’ve been gone for so long that I can’t speak it any more!

    1. Jón, do you have any suggestion what is going to happen ? Volcano had this type of behaviour from time to time in the past since last eruption?

  2. Have you thought of starting a page? It’s seems like the most effective way to get sponsoring from the public nowadays.

  3. Does the shallow depth lead you to expect anything different than the routine?

    What do your instincts tell you about these changes?

    1. It is interesting that most of the earthquakes happen at shallow depth. This is not unusual thing to happen in Katla volcano. Most earthquakes that happen are at depth of less than 1 km.

      1. There were a couple of deeper EQs within the caldera yesterday (9.2 and 8.4 km respectively). These two EQs might be responsible for the following shallow quakes.

        Also seems that the strongest EQ of the swarm has been upgraded to M2.3.

  4. IMO posted an update on the Hydrology section:

    “Considerable rain is expected in the southeastern part of Iceland, southern Eastfjords and the northern part of Snaefellsnes tomorrow. Increased runoff and higher water levels in rivers can be expected in these areas.

    In the morning of January 2nd a small glacial flood started in the river Múlakvísl. Yesterday, January 5th, there was an increase in the flow and a change of colour in the river. The flow is now similar to average summer flow. The conductivity of the river is around 509 µS/cm and low concentrations of gas were detected by the river yesterday. Close to the river, such gas emissions could cause irritation to the eyes and throat.

    Previously, the last minor flood from Myrdalsjokull occurred in November 2017. The Icelandic Meteorological Office continues to monitor the event.
    Written by a specialist at 06 Jan 15:49 GMT”

    Wondering how they get these figures? Yesterday they said 613 µS/cm, now 509 µS/cm. According to the regular station in Múlakvisl, conductivity has been around 300 µS/cm since the onset on January 2.

  5. Happy New Year Jon,
    It has been a while since there was a star on the iceland earthquake map. I was thinking that maybe you should do a “star” lottery for where and and when the next one will occur.

    1. There is no way to know this. But it’s been a while since Bárðarbunga volcano made a large earthquake so I think that’s going to have a earthquake next.

    2. I got that wrong. I had it on Sunday 15 jan. 23:00 CET.

      Just about the time Vestas/11th hour racing team reached the 2000 nautical Mile limit to Hong Kong.

  6. There is going to be a bad storm in Iceland tomorrow and until Saturday. With possible storms after that date also. This means limited earthquake detection in Iceland.

  7. Have you guys seen the earthquakes happen in the North Atlantic today? Several above 4… Hopefully not a nuclear weapon test… :-/

  8. I just checked Iceland Met, and many of the weather stations are not reporting. That must be some wicked weather.

  9. Hi Jon, those quakes were deep on Thursday at Habunga that area continues to be of interest.

    1. This earthquakes are inside the volcano system. But the earthquake with the depth of 26,6 km is about as deep the can be at this location. Most depth can be is at 28 km (around).

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