Earthquake activity in Katla volcano

Yesterday at 23:31 UTC (16-January-2021) an earthquake with the magnitude of Mw3,1 took place in Katla volcano. Last earthquake of this magnitude was in November 2020. No other earthquake activity has been detected since the earthquake yesterday.

Green star in north-east caldera of Katla volcano. Few minor earthquakes around the green star. Earthquakes west of Hekla volcano in South Icelandic Seismic Zone.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There has been slightly more earthquake activity in Katla volcano in December 2020 and in January 2021. Currently there is nothing suggesting that an eruption is about to happen in next few months to week. Earthquake activity remains too low for that too happen based on past experience (minor eruption in July 2011). I am not expecting any major changes in activity in Katla volcano for the next few weeks to months. Nothing might happen all year and that would be perfectly normal for this volcano.

Minor earthquake activity in Katla volcano

Today (17-December-2020) a small earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. This is a minor earthquake swarm with total of just eight earthquakes recorded. It is little unusual to see this earthquake activity in Katla volcano in December since this is normally the most quiet time of the year.


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

Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw2,9 and all other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude. I am not expecting any more activity in Katla volcano. That might change without warning since this is a volcano.

Two earthquakes in Katla volcano

Today (22-November-2020) at 11:08 UTC an earthquake with magnitude Mw3,1 took place in Katla volcano. No change in harmonic tremor was seen after this earthquake and no other earthquake activity has happened after this earthquake besides a one earthquake with magnitude Mw1,2 at 13:31 UTC.


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

Current activity in Katla volcano is below normal background activity for this time of the year. It has been a quiet year for Katla volcano and I am not expecting any change to happen soon.

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Minor earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Today (3-September-2020) at 12:39 UTC and earthquake with magnitude of Mw3,1 took place in Katla volcano. Few smaller earthquakes took place in this same location. No change in harmonic tremor was detected during this earthquake activity.


The earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Image used with permission and copyright belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

Katla volcano has been quiet during the summer of 2020 and it doesn’t seems like that anything more is about to happen following this earthquake activity. Since 15:53 UTC everything has been quiet in Katla volcano. This earthquake activity appears to have stopped.

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano this morning

Today (27-July-2020) a small earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. This was just normal earthquake swarm at shallow depth that is often the case with earthquakes in Katla volcano.


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

Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw3,4 and the second largest earthquake had a magnitude of Mw2,8. Other earthquakes were smaller in magnitude. No harmonic tremor change was seen before or after the earthquakes took place. This earthquake has been connected to emptying of glacier water filled cauldron in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This happens frequently in the summer.

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Earthquake activity in Katla volcano

During the night of 23-July-2020 at 05:36 UTC a magnitude Mw3,3 earthquake took place in Katla volcano. There was no change in harmonic tremor following this earthquake and that means that magma stayed were it is in Katla volcano. In the hours since this earthquake took place there has not been any increase in earthquake activity or harmonic tremor change in Katla volcano.


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

Earlier earthquakes had a magnitude of Mw2,4 and Mw2,7. All other earthquakes were smaller in magnitude. I don’t expect anything more to happen now and Katla volcano remains quiet.

Minor earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

During the night there was a minor earthquake swarm in Katla volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of Mw2,9 but all other earthquakes where smaller in magnitude.


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

There is nothing suggesting that an eruption is about to happen. The earthquake activity is far too low to suggesting that an eruption is about to happen. It is a question if a cauldron is about to empty it self in the Mýrdalsjökull glacier as such events happen in the summer. It is often followed by small amount of earthquake activity before and after a glacier flood happen.

Data from 2010 to 2017 suggest that there is a steady increase in earthquake activity before an eruption happens. There was a small eruption in Katla volcano (based on harmonic tremors) in July 2011 and again in July 2017 (article can be found here). In July 2017 an magnitude Mw4,5 earthquake took place without an eruption happening. Article on that can be found here.

Katla volcano has been real quiet in 2020 and there are no signs of that is about to change at the writing of this article. Best that can be done now as before is just keep monitoring what is going on in Katla volcano.

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Increase in earthquakes in Katla volcano

Since yesterday (13-July-2019) there has been a increase in earthquake activity in Katla volcano. There are no signs of anything more happening than just this increase of earthquakes.


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

This increase in activity is something to keep a watch for but this has happened before without resulting in a eruption in Katla volcano. There have been reports on high volume of water level in the cauldrons in Mýrdalsjökull glacier. I don’t know if that is connected to this increase in earthquake activity. There is an expatiation that water is going to break out soon and the flood is going to be the largest since 2011. That might increase earthquake activity in Katla volcano once that happens. For now however nothing has been reported in the news of such a event.

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Minor earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Yesterday (18-February-2019) a earthquake swarm took place in Katla volcano. This is the first earthquake swarm in Katla volcano for a long time and it is unusual how early this activity starts.


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

Largest earthquake in this swarm had a magnitude of 3,0 and other earthquakes in this swarm were smaller in magnitude. Total of ten earthquakes took place in this swarm. This earthquake activity now seems to be over.

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Strong sulphur smell from Sólheimajökull glacier (Katla volcano)

Today (21-November-2018) Icelandic Met Office issued a warning about strong sulphur smell from Sólheimajökull glacier and Jökulsá á Sólheimasandi (connected glacier river) that come from Katla volcano. People are advised to stay away from this area because if the sulphur smell. There hasn’t been any connected earthquake activity with this increase in sulphur smell.


Katla volcano is quiet. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

There is no earthquake activity and no change has been observed on harmonic tremor plots around Katla volcano at this moment. This is unlikely to change, since earthquake activity has been minimal in 2018.