Update on Katla volcano earthquake swarm

There has not a lot changed in the past few hours since the earthquake swarm did start in Katla volcano. Eruption has not yet started in Katla volcano and when it might start is still a mistery.

Current map of the earthquake activity.

Current earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Here are traces from my Heklubyggð geophone. But that is currently the geophone that I have that is closest to Katla volcano. I am collecting donations so I can buy two new geophones. The blog post about that can be found here. I do not expect to have the geophone in place before a eruption starts in Katla volcano this time around. So far the donations are up too 5,410.74 DKK, so I am not far from what I need to collect. I do not have to pay customs of this according to a email I got from the customs office when I did ask about it. But I have too pay 25,5% VAT on this when it gets here. That might be a good amount I think in Icelandic Kronas (ISK).

One of the large earthquakes. This is not the strongest earthquake in the earthquake swarm that took place this morning in Katla volcano. This is also a double earthquake, that is two earthquakes taking place at the almost the same time. That is the reason for the odd looking wave form on this earthquake trace. This picture is released under Creative Commons licence. See Licence web page for more details.

A ML3.0 earthquake that took place in Katla volcano this morning. This picture is released under Creative Commons licence. See Licence web page for more details.

The largest earthquake in the earthquake swarm this morning. Its size was ML3.55 with the depth just short of 1 km. This picture is released under Creative Commons licence. See Licence web page for more details.

A ML2.94 earthquake in Katla volcano this morning. This picture is released under Creative Commons licence. See Licence web page for more details.

So far it has quieted down in Katla volcano. But that does not mean a lot. As magma can go on the move at any time. Without any warning at all. So monitoring Katla volcano is important with that fact in mind. According to Iceland Met Office, this is the largest earthquake swarm in Katla volcano caldera since the year 2002.

I am expecting more strong earthquakes to take place in Katla volcano. But it is impossible to know when a new earthquake swarm might start in Katla volcano and how large and long it is going to last. For the moment, it is just wait and see.

Iceland Met Office has put up a news about this in English. Thanks too the readers how pointed this out!

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano October 2011

Icelandic News about this earthquake swarm.

Snarpasta hrinan í Kötlu frá 2002 (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Snörp hrina í Mýrdalsjökli í nótt (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Snörp hrina í Kötlu (Vísir.is, Icelandic)
Sterkir skjálftar undir Mýrdalsjökli (mbl.is, Icelandic)
Um 20 skjálftar yfir 2 stig (mbl.is, Icelandic)

258 Replies to “Update on Katla volcano earthquake swarm”

  1. There isn’t any harmonic tremor ongoing in Katla volcano at the moment. Those how are looking for it should look for something like this.


    The signal is clear. The rest is weather, earthquakes or just minor harmonic spikes (that often look like earthquake spikes) that sometimes take place in Katla volcano these days.

  2. For those how are wondering when all the donations asking and begging is going to end. It is going to end when my financial status goes from being bad and into being good.

    That is going to happen in around 4 months time. But that is what is about left for me to pay of my debt with the bank. Until that happens however. I might need to make some hard decisions.

    For the moment I am living on whatever I have. I save up every little thing that I have. For the weekends, I am going with the empty soda bottles too the recycling and get some money from that. As every little helps in my case.

    I hate living like this. But this is what I got and nothing else. Plus, the Icelandic government is only going to raise my benefits 3,5%. While cost of living in Iceland has grown 5,7% (more as the time goes on) just in the year 2011. From that alone, I am going to run into finical problems if I live in Iceland for long term. Thankfully, I am not going to do that.

    This are just my thoughts on the money problems that I am having. The money problems that I hate. But I am going resolve….somehow.

      1. John this will not last forever. I understand how difficult it is. I have the same problems but different tactics. I am even saving all the metal bits that I dig out of my allotment and will scrap them in. This may pay for some vegetable seeds or canes for the climbing beans next year. It is horrible being so short of money, but trust me, you will always appreciate what you have even if it is not a fortune. You will be more content and find happiness in the small, natural and free beauties of life.

  3. The 2.3 has only 46.37 so who knows what that will end up as. It’s near the M3 quakes but it’s not verified.

    It’s gone fairly quiet since the ‘fun’ a couple of days ago, but the weekend is coming and Lady K is due her hangover again 😉

    07.10.2011 00:35:55 63.648 -19.086 1.1 km 1.2 90.02 7.6 km N of Hábunga
    06.10.2011 22:30:21 63.632 -19.076 2.6 km 2.3 46.37 5.9 km NNE of Hábunga


  4. Just to ask, does anyone know why they are pumping there or did i miss the explaination somewhere? And yes i’m not an english woman in this case either

    1. Presumably because it is close to the power point and there are existing boreholes/ CO2 storage facilities nearby, prepared for the testing.

      The quake pattern would tend to indicate they are using a new borehole for this phase of the tests.

  5. Carl, I have to laugh though.. I swear I saw something looking like harmonic tremor spikes at Hekla last night, but I can’t see it at all now:P think I could have been really tired or something..:P any news today?

    1. Something is up at Hekla. What I do not know, but there has been small transients going today, and one at Burfell that was slightly larger, but still well into the smaller scale. I think we will see a large transient somewhere along during the weekend.
      Katla is up to something, at least if the AUST GPS is correct. Massive lateral movement, but nothing on the up. Might though be something else that is wrong.

    1. The cam at Geysir is also not working. I hope they get them fixed soon before the Friday night partying!

    1. Aah beautiful, but I do miss my everyday view on Katla from the same direction 😉 But I will get used to this webcam 😉

      1. Has the Katla webcam moved? It looks alot closer than previous days or am I just looking at the picture with sleepy eyes?!

    1. Eeehh.. No.. that is not harmonic tremor. A large harmonic tremor spike goes way above what you see now… and is a lot longer lasting than this… Check the link that is posted about the harmonic tremor thing in previous posts.. Then you will understand what Harmonic tremor is.. This is just noise/wind/earthquake or whatever..

      (If you mean the larger increase (over a longer period of time) than you are probably right, that looks like a small harmonic tremor


      1. edit:
        (If you mean the larger increase (over a longer period of time) –>earlier in the graph<- than you are probably right, that looks like a small harmonic tremor

  6. Good Morning. I am sure the fracking is rattling the whole of southern Iceland!! I do not know enough physics and seismology to put my mind at ease…I hope those managing the boreholes are very expert and can allay the fears of local people..

    1. Actually, I have worked with it, and it scares me. They cannot assure people without withholding information. Why? Because they are working in the unknown, doing unknown things, inside a badly known volcanos badly understood magma-reservoir. Recipee for disaster. If they had done it over at Krafla it would have been much better due to lack of people.
      My point is that they should do it, but not at a place with a lot of people.

  7. Good news. So far donations are up to 6,684.25 DKK. But for me to buy two geophones I need to have 6,731.18 DKK. So now I need just 47 DKK more to have for both geophones.

    But what is missing is money for the VAT that is 25,5% in Iceland and possible minor customs charge. The custom told me that there would not be any custom on this. But I want to be prepared if something does not go according to plan.

    I also needs some donations for food this month if people can spare something for that. The total need in money needed for food is something around 2000 DKK this month.

    I hate being this broke. I really, really do.

    1. Maybe a stupid question, but why do you buy geophones when you are almost broke? Maybe you should wait untill your financial situation is better.. Katla will wait 😛


      1. The thing about Katla volcano is that it is not going to wait. For anyone when it comes down to it. If I have to. I am going to delay the second geophone and just buy one to install close to Katla volcano, as I regard that as a priority for the moment.

        Then I will just buy and install the second geophone in Eyrarbakki on later date. But I hope to install one soon as possible, as I want to know what OR (energy company) is doing to the Hengill area with all this water pumping.

        As for being broke is a result of me pushing the debt payments as far and fast as I can. That is working to the extend that I am paying down my debt fast and in good manner. But the downside is that I am rather broke these days. But as I have sad before, this issue is going to be over in about 4 months time.

      2. I know it’s gonna wait, but what I try to say is that you can’t buy things if you don’t have money.. I find it rather strange that while your are repaying debt, you are purchasing new stuff..

        But okay wish you best of luck or course 🙂


      3. Just because I am paying down my debt does not mean that I cannot do this if I get outside support. But I need to balance my books anyway.

        I also know that Katla volcano is not going to wait for anyone. It is not how volcanoes work.

      4. Ah i made a typo, I wanted to say that I know that Katla is NOT going to wait .. Sorry 🙂

        I know you pay it from outside support but I think it still looks a little strange .. Anyway good luck 🙂

    2. Jon- I hope you will excuse my interfering but I thought setting out what is required could be useful for your readers.

      On the basis of the figures you have provided above that means that your target for additional donations for the purchase of the geophones, including VAT and a small amount for potential customs is in the region of 2000 DKK which translates to very roughly £235 or $351 (US). So 20 people donating $20 would more than cover this. The appeal therefore is for any site visitors who gain value from this site, especially commercially, please dig into your pockets if you would find improved ongoing monitoring of the volcanic system in Iceland advantageous.

      The monthly overhead that you require for ongoing support of your activities on this blog is a similar amount i.e £235 or $351 (US) per calander month, and I would suggest that a $50 pcm budget is added to this figure for parts and replacements of hardware. This means you are looking for a monthly subscription from site visitors that totals $400 pcm (as there is a lot for you to maintain and things do fail fairly regularly on your plethora of computers and monitoring equipment).

      That means you need just 40 individuals to agree a $10 pcm subscription for support of the running and operation of this site OR for people who cannot afford to give anything, please use any amazon link provided on this site to make any purchases you would normally make through amazon (it does not matter where you go or what you buy once you have entered amazon through his link), then very roughly 5% of your purchase price will go to Jon. As Christmas is fast approaching, any reader wishing to support this site could ask friends and family to support Jons work too by emailing them the link with a request to get to amazon via any ad on http://www.jonfr.com/volcano

      Many thanks Jon for your many hours of hard work and putting up with us lot! Aside and apart from the hours spent researching and writing here, we also appreciate the many hours spent chekcing information, keeping the monitoring equipment running and goodness knows what else.

      1. Thanks for this breakdown of the numbers. I use DKK since that is the numbers that I work with on my Danish and paypal accounts.

        The Danish krona is fixed with the euro at €1 = 7.46 DKK (+- 2,25%) currency peg. This does not apply to paypal, as they have there own exchange rate when it comes to currencies.

      2. Jon – I am more than happy to be the first to commit to $10 pcm! You have my promise!

        This is a great way forward and should put an end to your money worries!

      3. A really good idea JulesP.
        10€ per month would be a fair amount to pay for the fun I am having, actually it is a bargain… I guess I do not have a life 🙂
        I will look into if I can make an auto-payment to your account. Sorry for the swedish that will follow.
        Vad säger ni grabbar, ska vi se om vi kan köra det som en autogirering? Är det någon av er som vet hur man sätter upp en till Jóns Danemarkiska konto? Behöver man gå till banken eller?
        I’ll find a way for a 10er every month ontop of my Amazoning. BTW, is there any way you could do a Amazon deal with airline tickets? I am after all netting 2000€ on average in airfares in a month, so a percentage of that would probably do a big difference, and I have noticed that others fly a lot to. Could be a big part, bigger than amazon.

  8. Irish Weather Online – The European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) has recorded at least eight subsea earthquakes about 850 kilometres southwest of the Icelandic capital of SW Reykjavík (pop 113,906).
    The strongest of the quakes, a magnitude 5.7, was located 892 km southwest of the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. It hit at 00:39 GMT and was measured at a depth of just 10km, according to the EMSC. http://goo.gl/KsD71

  9. what is going on with the strain data at burfell? is it broken or is something unusual going on?

    1. I think the sudden drop in strain at Burfell is showing a strain transient. To explain this properly and what it suggests I need someone like Carl le Strange as he and several others are far more into the physics of vulcanology than I am. (I am a very, very inexpert amateur watcher ).
      So when Carl comes back for the week end maybe he will help with this one.

      1. Do you remember which blogpost I wrote that long nice explanation to what a transient is?
        I have just had a hellish week (but good) so I quite simply do not have any energy left to write a new, or search around for it?

      2. Thank you Diana!
        I am home now in Sweden, sitting in the sofa with a drink in my hand 🙂
        I will do my best to relax! Have a nice weekend you too!

    2. No, what you are transient, ie, eruptive behaviour that does not go all the way, yet.
      I have written extensively about what it is before. So search around in older blog posts and you will find an explanation to it.

      1. If it had been Geldingáa I would have agreed. That one goes when Katla is relieving the pressure. But this time the short transient are at Hek and are irrelevant:

        But the really interesting is the one that happened a while ago at Burfell, that is pressure buildup at Hekla. But it was very small:

        I think this was caused by the time coresponding quake at Selfoss at 2,4M. Classical sprungur transient.

  10. Looks like magma in El Hierro has found a way upwards.. Not fast but the depth of the earthquakes is decreasing..

    COuld it be possible that this is the normal pathway for magma to move in this volcano? Instead that this is the pattern of magma searching for a way up? It seems to be moving to the central part of the island now.. and upwards


  11. Since yesterday I have been seeing this “S” shaped feature upon Mýrdal glacier that looks like a water coiling down slope over the ice from the top) summit.
    Was it there before, or is it just another trick of the light tha.t went unnoticed?

      1. Mila’s Diana, it’s still there, but since it is a bit foggier, harder to see.

  12. Finally good news about my financial status.

    I am going to get paid a computer job that I was working on for several weeks. That is a good amount that is going to cover my cost on moving back to Denmark. But that is why I am not going to touch that money. But given the circumstance this month I am going to give my self a loan of that money at 0% interest to cover this month and the import of the two new geophones if donations do not cover this on there own. The loan is going to get paid back into that account when I am finished paying up my debt with the bank. I hate to do this. But for the moment it is the only way that I have to make my financial work in reality. I’ve been the other path and I am still cleaning up that mess!

    This still however leaves out paying up my debt in the next few months and it is clear that I cannot cut into this money that I am just earning now . As that would just leave me worse off then I already am. I don’t want that.

    But at least the worries that I had about the cost of moving to Denmark are over. I am happy about that for a change.

    Some more good news in a new blog post about the geophones! 🙂

    1. Jón, if I might suggest something. Try to find a job before going to Denmark this time. I guess you would be fine with pretty much anything so that you can survive while going after your dream of writing.
      By the way, do you have a drivers license? If so, I might have something for you workwhise come may or june through the summer in Iceland.

      1. Ok, for the alleged non acronym knowledgeable amongst us, I’ll say it again…

        Just for your information, the RUS camera (don’t know what RUS stands for sorry) is running video from the 29th of June this year for some reason. Not that I’m saying there’s anything behind it, just informing people in case they think it’s a current image.


      2. Do you mean the RÚV camera? As I understand it Ríkisútvarpið RUV is the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service…

  13. There seems to be some kind of harmonic tremor in Eyjafjallajökull. Smjörgill, Esytri-Skogar, Midmörk and Godabunga SIL-stations are showing it, but the SILs for Katla like Slysaalda and Rjupnafell does not. It is not strong, but it is definitly there.
    Oddness all around.

    1. This is a harmonic tremor spike from what I can tell. What is worse is that this cannot be a good thing. But this clearly shows that magma is on the move, rather then magma or hydrothermal activity.

      I am going to write about it in new blog post soon after some brain rest (sleep) for few hours.

      1. It appears stronger towards the stations on the western side of Katla and Eyja, I know this sounds stupid but…

        Could this be a Harmonic tremor for Eyjafjallajökull?

      2. Oh, I perhaps was not clear.
        But there has been a bit of mini-mini-mini activity during the last week or so. One small hydrothermal event, new small mini-river starting and now a small small harmonic tremor.
        It is probably just a part of the natural process of cooling, but it is interesting anyhoo.

      3. No. This is Katla volcano from what I can tell. It was followed up by a small earthquake at 18:31 UTC.

        The tremor pulse is now over. But it lasted for something like ~20 to 30 min. This is not a good sign. But this was to be expect.

      1. trick of both light and camera. You cannot visibly see a harmonic tremor. and if you do it would be the last you see. Not even when Eyja erupted it caused the picture to shake.

      2. Thanks. The “tremor” was very localised, not the whole picture; but no visible rock- or ice-fall afterwards, so I agree that the light / camera were to blame (or I have had too much coffee today!).

        Think a glass of wine is in order!

  14. Which SIL station is the closest (or most affected by the area of) to Fimmvörðuháls?
    I have the impression that many quakes came from there somewhere the last days or maybe was it weeks.

      1. I took a look at Lurking’s nice plot again and the quakes I meant come from an area more NE than Fimm., closer to the Gola GPS station. There is no volcano there as far as I know. Would be nice to have a little look into the ground there, to see if something is going on.

      2. Probably caused by ground deformation then.
        Another idea might be that it is that fabled magma conduit that some people say exist between Eyjafjallajökull and Godabunga Cryptodome.
        There can be many reasons for quakes.

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