Glacier flood from Múlakvísl has been confirmed

According to the Icelandic news an glacier flood started around midnight in Múlakvísl (link should work, let me know if it doesn’t) glacier river that runs from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Last time this type of event did happen was in the year 1955, when an minor eruption is believed to have taken place under the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. I do not know if that is the case now. As this might just be hydrothermal water being released due to increased activity in hydrothermal areas that are in Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Following the flood there is an strong smell of sulphur and there might be dangerous gases in it. At current time the flood appears to be growing and according to the news (written at 01:54 UTC) the bridge was still safe. But there was just 1 meter from the river and up to the floor of the bridge.

Some minor earthquakes have been taking place in the past few hours, they do not appear on the automatic earthquake list on Icelandic Met Office web page. Some of them appear on my Hekla webicorder.

Currently the harmonic tremor is dropping. But that might not mean anything in the long run. So far everything suggests that an eruption has not yet started in Katla volcano. But given the current status that might not last long as it is. The best thing that can be done is to wait and see what happens. But no fear scaremongering please!

Added: When I just finished writing this blog post an new earthquake just started to appear on my geophone at Hekla volcano. IT is from Katla volcano for sure. It was in the ML1.5 to ML2.5 size range it seems. It was an long period earthquake as they have been so far. I think it is from the main caldera, not Goðabunga area.

Icelandic News about the glacier flood.

Hlaup hafið í Múlakvísl (, Icelandic)

80 Replies to “Glacier flood from Múlakvísl has been confirmed”

  1. I saw the quake on your geophone.
    I am very concerned about people being caught by a Joküllhlaup overnight.
    Is there a warning system for those?

  2. Another one, bigger. And the quakes you mentioned are visible at IMO site.
    09.07.2011 01:54:49 63.610 -19.125 0.1 km 0.9 99.0 3.5 km NNW of Hábunga
    09.07.2011 00:46:08 63.612 -19.119 2.0 km 0.7 99.0 3.6 km NNW of Hábunga
    08.07.2011 22:13:20 63.609 -19.142 1.1 km 1.5 90.04 3.8 km NNW of Hábunga

  3. Renato Your in charge now… wake me if something happens. Huhm….another weekend with a volcano?

  4. By the way, this is my “dashboard” for Katla to follow its possible eruption (in a Firefox browser window with the Tile Tabs add-on on a secondary monitor):

    Any suggestion to improve it?

    1. Perfect display.
      No need to go back and forth through websites.

    2. How do you get a “dashboard” like that? I use Firefox …. any simple instructions??

      1. As I mentioned, you need the “Tile Tabs” addon for Firefox:

        The description is self-explanatory:

        “Allows tabs to be tiled within the Firefox browser. Tiles can be arranged horizontally, vertically or in a grid. Tiles can be re-sized by dragging splitter bars. Links can be dragged to open in other tiles. Scrolling of tiles can be synchronized.”

      2. It works! Have twitter, IMO earthquake map, helicorder and two tremor plots … just what I needed!

      3. Thanks – was just getting fed up of having to reload them all…

      1. SO2 monitoring seems a good suggestion.
        But I’m almost out of desktop space!

    1. Yes, I remember it, Mike.
      I was sorry for your going to Sicily in the wrong timing. But then again, “engines failed”. 🙂

    2. What is the “max(Z)” screen in the upper left show you? Link? Thanks in advance.

  5. Ya, why do Icelandic Volcanoes always start up on Fridays? Perhaps, the almighty is upset with all the friday night debauchery and hedonism in Reykjavík? j/k

  6. Ron, of course there are: the Eldgjá fissure eruption of 934, the largest eruption in Iceland in historical times, was Katla: Eldgjá is part of the Katla fissure system.

    Some more seismicity arriving now, and it appears to be spread out on a roughly North-South line across the caldera…


  7. Saturday
    09.07.2011 03:37:38 63.634 -19.117 1.1 km 1.2 90.02 6.1 km N of Hábunga
    09.07.2011 03:33:40 63.598 -19.152 1.9 km 0.8 90.02 3.3 km NW of Hábunga
    09.07.2011 03:31:11 63.592 -19.157 1.1 km 2.3 90.07 3.1 km WNW of Hábunga
    09.07.2011 03:29:29 63.602 -19.103 5.8 km 0.9 90.01 2.4 km N of Hábunga

  8. @Lurking:
    You are needed.
    I can see a pattern from the quakes. They are aligned SW-NE.
    A fissure?

  9. ya, where’s lurking when you need him. Galavanting around with bowlegged wimmin?

    He hasn’t been around lately

  10. Ron, of course there are: the Eldgjá fissure eruption of 934, the
    largest eruption in Iceland in historical times, was Katla: Eldgjá is
    part of the Katla fissure system.

    Some more seismicity arriving now, and it appears to be spread out on
    a roughly North-South line across the caldera…


    1. Something tells me we are in for quite a weekend. My brother is flying into Amsterdam on 7/17 and friends flying to Frankfurt in early August. I have alerted them to the possibilities.

    2. Thanks Mike, I’ll read up on it. We’re hours away from daylight in case she blows so I’ll be up watching.

    3. Ya know… I was thinking about Eldgjá while looking at the depth plots.

      Fortunately I noticed I was looking at the plot in reverse. The quakes don’t trend that way at all.

      As soon as my post is released from the penalty box you can see the plots. (or over at Eruptions, I did a dual post)

      1. I think Katla may be preparing for a Eldgja type eruption in the next 100 years. We have had “failed” proper eruption (starting with a big bang) in 1955, 1999, and perhaps also now. Those failed eruptions share similar qualities (e.g. glacier floods), and now we have instrumentation to see what’s really happening there (possibly a dike intrusion). We’ll see what she has for us next…

  11. Yes renato i see the pattern too, this looks to me as though this might be the beginning of an eruption, but i could be wrong. If it is the beginning of an eruption i hope its not a big one.

  12. Weather is nasty at Katla, but I think it suddenly got much darker as looked from the webcam. Could that mean an eruption is underway? Waiting for some ash to stick to the cam. Dunno.

    1. What about the harmonic tremor? Dropping, increasing?

      Yeah, and the weather looks terrible…

  13. RUV is reporting the bridge at Mulakvisl is overtopped by the flood and Route 1 is closed across the sands.
    No sign of the floodwater peaking.
    The water meter upstream showed a 5 m rise in few minutes this morning.

  14. hi guys. did a gif of image manipulated screenshots taken from Katla last night which seem to show something going on last night. I included an old pic of Katla so you can see where I think the action might be taking place. I used PaintNet to manipulate the images, using Auto Level, Sharpen, and Curves..

    and this is the one screenshot I’ve taken this morning, also manipulated..

    1. Mark:
      Very subtle, yet remarkable.
      I can see the hotspot you mean.
      Shouldn’t it have grown ever since?

    2. That’s very good, I do something similar with aerial photos and archaeology, it works a treat.

  15. Arrgghhh… why do volcanoes not take in consideration my scedule ? Don’t have time to follow this, but I want to !!!

  16. why the weather in Katla and Hekla are totally different? Or are they so far a way from each others?

    1. David, I was posing the same question to me.
      They are far away, but weather at Eyjafjallajökull is sort of fair, Hekla is sunny, Jökullsarlon is sunny and Katla looks like Hades itself.
      Could we speculate that “something” is not letting in all the sunlight?

      1. About an hour ago it looked like it was raining…

        If there was ash in the sky, I think we would know it already through the media.

  17. I just stumbled on this blog, and it is very informative, packed full of good information. I was in Iceland last summer and was fascinated by the volcanoes and geothermal activity. Since we here in south central Alaska live near active volcanoes, and get our fair share of ash fall at times, I find great interest in your volcanoes. Thanks to everyone on your blog site.

  18. I’m going there on Sundaynight. I hope Katla is calm, when the plane flys. Mondayevening i’m in a Farmhouse in the West of Eyjafjalla…

    I don’t wan’t a great firework! (Only a little…)

  19. Maby stupid question, but is iceland two hours behind
    To the netherlands?

  20. Good Morning everyone. I am sure something is happening because my PC (Named Hal) wouldn’t start and I have been working on him for 2 hours. He seems to have an inner sensor that tells him when Something is happening that will take my attention away from housework and tries to make sure that I do not spend time glued to his screen!! However I seem to have got Hal back under control and am about to make coffee . I am most impressed with the dash boards. You guys are so organised and clever. Great to watch you all in action. I shall try to get organised for a day of observation without my husband feeling too neglected! Has a Volcano ever been sited in a divorce case?

    1. I agree on that, its interesting to watch how people organize their monitoring systems.
      And as for that divorce things, id say that when things get hot in the room, there might be some eruptions. 🙂

      1. Lol Arufi.:) Husband says he hopes that Katla does her thing now as he has just bought his tickets to fly to USA first week in September! My Son in Law is flying to New York on Monday so doesn’t want her to do anything now and is watching this blog also. I am Piggy in the Middle! I cannot fly anywhere so happy sitting watching people and doing a good job of stopping Katla mongering by explaining as best I can there is no major eruption as yet. All actions taken by Icelandic Authorities are precautions and common sense. The dangers from rapid Ice melt is more serious at present to people who live nearby.

  21. The news this morning is that an small eruption most likely did happen or is happening in the Katla volcano caldera.

    I am going to post more about it after some more sleep.

      1. No, the Katla volcano is under a thick layer of ice and it’s quite likely that this eruption is a small one which means it might never break through all that ice.

        Aka there won’t be any ash, “just” floods with melted water

  22. Crumbs – crawl into bed at midnight (BST) after hectic evening at work and look what happens…. not going far today. Thanks to all for the info and explanations.

  23. I should have added this picture caption to the above link to road conditions in Iceland ” Reynisfjall til austurs”

  24. The bridge over Múlakvísk river is gone according to Rúv. They are now evacuating Áftaver. It is dangerous going close to Múlakvísl due to poisons gases and risk of the flood increasing without any warning.

    I am going to post some more updates after I get some more sleep.

    1. All this flooding could lift off some weight from the icecap and facilitate or speed up the occurrence of an ordinary (extra-glacial?) eruption, don’t you think?

      1. No. This is due to added activity creating more melting of the glacier.

        This does not seems to be just hydrothermal areas emptying them self as they so often due in glaciers.

      2. How is this relatid to Katla and it erupting? Or is this totally different thing?

      3. Actually I meant if the additional Katla glacier melting due to volcanic activity could make an ordinary eruption (instead of only subglacial) more probable by lifting off weight (and thus counterpressure) from it.

  25. It looks like there has been another short burst of activity a few minutes ago visible even on Jon’s Hekla helicorder, in addition to most SIL stations around Katla.

  26. as i look at the live webcam, i see a dark spot through the fog. now, i may just be imagining things but it sure looks like there is a rising motion coming from the black object in the middle of the cam. it’s very faint and you have to look close and maybe at a few different angle but it looks like something is rising…may just be the fog playing tricks with my tired eyes though.

  27. The IMO’s website seems to be having problems, I can’t get it up at all.
    I’m glued to my laptop at the moment to keep up to date with these series of events!

    1. There is an chance that the fibre optics cable that crosses this area is now cut. So there are going to be problems with connections to Iceland over the internet until they route past the cut cable.

  28. @ Mike
    I too now see a darker spot. it’s right in the middle of the picture.

    IMO not working for me. I guess they are really busy or the cable has been cut . Thank you Jon for your posts today. Take care to take some rest and eat properly.

  29. I have just got through to IMO. They must be busy! The tremor levels have dropped a little but still well above normal at Godabunga. The black area on the Katla Cam is still visible it’s just above the middle horizontal and centre of the middle verticle.

  30. All India – earthquakes during the last 48 hours.
    (Preliminary results)

    Location shaky 09th July 14:35

    Errrrm ! The above is copy and pasted my Google translation for Iceland Tremor Map title, Icelandic to English this evening!
    They certainly got the ” locations are shaky”, bit correct. I wonder which newspaper will be first to send their Journalist to cover the Indian earthquakes?

  31. WOW! Great Posts! I always seem to get here late though. I wonder if there’s any way to be alerted of any new Blogs from this sagacious & kind fellow?
    All seems to be Quiet now though. 🙂

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