Today (12-July-2014) it was reported in the news that conductivity in rivers coming from Mýrdalsjökull glacier are showing signs of less conductivity and lower water levels. There is still an uncertainty level in effects around this area, since level of dissolved gases from the rivers remains at close to dangerous levels at current time.
Lower earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano has dropped below background levels. So there is now less activity taking place in Katla volcano as is, if this quiet is going to remain is impossible to know at current time. This low earthquake activity might change without warning, since that has happened in the past (observed in the past few years).
If anything changes I am going to post update about it soon as possible.
Other: In December-2014 I am going to move back to Iceland. Why that is can be read here (in English).
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Today (8-July-2014) a uncertainty level was declared at Katla volcano. This means that people should be aware of the activity that is now taking place in Katla volcano. The most dangerous areas at the moment are the glacier rivers that come from Katla volcano, due the extremely dangerous gases that are in the water coming from Mýrdalsjökull glacier. People should not stop at Múlakvísl glacier river and other glacier rivers that come from Mýrdalsjökull glacier due to this danger. It is also unclear if an larger glacier flood might take place, if it does it is going to happen with no warning at all. Tourist in the area also urged to have there mobile phones turned on in case emergency SMS needs to be sent to people in the area around Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
Earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the past 24 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Currently [when I write this text] there is little earthquake activity in Katla volcano. That calm might not last, since earthquake activity has had the pattern of dropping off for few hours between peaks in activity. The largest earthquake during the past 24 hours had the magnitude of 3,0. Smaller earthquakes had the magnitude of 2,7 and lower magnitudes.
The magnitude 3,0 earthquake in Katla volcano this morning at 09:18 UTC. This image is released under Creative Commons licence. Please see CC Licence page for more details.
Earthquake activity has been in the same pattern as did happen in July-2011. So far no harmonic tremor has been detected. It is impossible to know if this is going to result in a eruption or not. The risk of an eruption is higher now then normal, but that does not mean that a eruption is going to take place. It is possible to see larger earthquakes from Katla volcano here on my webicorder website. It is possible to see Katla volcano here if it is not too cloudy.
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This is a short update on what is now taking place in Katla volcano. This information might go outdated quickly after it is being written.
Currently the earthquake activity in Katla volcano is increasing. However there are no signs of imminent eruption as is. However that might change without notice under my current estimate. It is impossible to know if this activity in Katla volcano is going to continue to increase or slow down again. It is my estimate that activity in Katla volcano is going to continue to increase (based on past experience) before it quiets down again. That might not result in a eruption, since this type of activity does not mean that an eruption is going to take place. This activity in Katla volcano has increased that risk at current time and until this earthquake activity stops or gets to lower levels, that risk is going to remain higher then normal. As things stand now there are no signs of that an eruption is going to take place in Katla volcano.
The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during the past 48 hours. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
During the minor eruption in Katla volcano in July-2011 (I wrote about it here and here) a minor earthquake swarm like this was also detected in Katla volcano. Back then as now it did start about one month earlier before the minor eruption took place. That activity took place in different part of the caldera then the activity that is now taking place. Today the activity in Katla volcano is the area that might have erupted during the 1918 eruption in Katla volcano (I think).
The magnitude 3,0 earthquake in Katla volcano yesterday. This image is under Creative Commons licence. Please see CC Licence page for more details.
This earthquake clearly shows the sign of magma under pressure creating a earthquake. This is a possibly a tornillo event. Since it is a low frequency, monochromatic and with long tale in it’s end. I don’t know what is going to happen next in Katla volcano, if anything happens at all other then just this earthquake activity. More water has been reported in Múlakvísl along with higher conductivity taking place, that however might just be rain water in the area since it has been experiencing heavy rain for the past few days. I am going to continue to watch the activity in Katla volcano.
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Today (14-May-2014) a minor earthquake swarm took place in Kverkfjöll volcano. Earthquake activity is not common in Kverkfjöll volcano, but it does happen once in a while. This does not mean the volcano is about to erupt, this was just an earthquake swarm taking place. No earthquake reached the magnitude 2,0 in this earthquake swarm.
The earthquake swarm in Kverkfjöll volcano (red dots at north-east part of Vatnajökull glacier). Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
There are no clues to why this earthquake swarm took place. This might have been a magma injection in the volcano, or this might just have been a change in the highly active hydrothermal areas in the volcano. There was no change at all in harmonic tremors in the volcano during this earthquake swarm. Kverkfjöll web-camera can be found here, it has however not updated since 1-May-2014. I am not sure if this means anything for Kverkfjöll volcano, as such I am just waiting too see what happens next in Kverkfjöll volcano.
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Since 20-January-2014 there has been increase in conductivity in Skeiðará glacier river that comes from Vatnajökull glacier. The reason for this change is that water is leaking from Grímsfjall volcano. Water levels have also been increasing and dropping during this time since this started.
The conductivity in Skeiðará glacier river from 20-January-2014. Picture from Icelandic Meteorological Office Facebook page. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Conductivity is now measured at 416 µS/cm and according to Icelandic Meteorological Office that is an high value coming from Grímsfjall volcano. This water also goes trough several lakes and before it reaches the sensor at Gígjukvísl bride. So at the source of Skeiðará glacier river this value is probably even higher. No major earthquake activity and no harmonic tremor activity has taken place following this water leak from Grímsvötnum glacier lakes. But it appears that some glacier quakes might be taking place at the moment. Such activity can be seen here on IMO website. Currently the volume of water in Grímsvötn glacier lakes is small since the eruption that took place in Grímsfjall volcano in the year 2011. Coverage of that eruption can be found here. At current time nothing more is expected to happen.
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The glacier flood in Skaftá glacier river is almost over or is over at present time (21-January-2014). This however does not mean that everything is over. Since there are two cauldrons in the Vatnajökull glacier in the Hamarinn volcano it means there is more water stored there now then has now flooded from the glacier. It is now clear that the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron in Vatnajökull glacier has not emptied it self in this flood from the western Skaftá glacier cauldron.
The eastern (Eystri) and western (Vestari) cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
When the eastern glacier cauldron empties it self they are expecting a lot larger glacier flood to take place. Since there is a lot more water holding up in the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron. It is also longer since it flooded and emptied it self. Last glacier flood from the eastern Skaftá glacier cauldron was in the year 2010. More information on how this flood system works can be found here (in Icelandic) on Icelandic university website geology department.
It was announced today (19-January-2014) that glacier flood has started in Skaftá glacier river (or connected rivers) from Skjaftár cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. Currently the water is discharging from Skaftár cauldrons at the rate of 370 m3/s according to Icelandic Meteorological Office. So far no changes have taken place in harmonic tremors close to Hamarinn volcano where the Skaftár cauldrons lie within Vatnajökull glacier.
Smell of hydrogen sulphide has been detected by people living close the rivers that the glacier flood is discharging into. There is a considerable risk of poisoning if people get to close the rivers that hold the flood water. It is currently believed that it is the western Skaftár cauldron that is now emptying, that one did empty it self back the in the year 2012. That is however not going to be confirmed until the area can be checked by flying over it and see what is taking place at this location. That might take few days since it is dependent on weather when it is possible to do such flight.
Location of Skaftár cauldrons in Vatnajökull glacier. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office. Picture is taken from Icelandic Meteorological Office Facebook page.
The current flood in Skaftár glacier river. The water monitoring stations around Vatnajökull glacier. Red stations are monitored for floods, black ones are normal flow stations. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office. Picture is taken from Icelandic Meteorological Office Facebook page.
Uncertainty level has been declared in the area do to this glacier flood by the Civil Protection and Emergency Management in Iceland. It is advised against people travelling in the area while this glacier flood takes place. On Vatnajökull glacier there is also a risk of new cracks forming in the glacier was the cauldron is emptied of water in the next few days. This cracks are dangerous and really deep and wide on the top, but get narrower closer to the end of them. It is possible to monitor the glacier flood here on Icelandic Meteorological Office website.
Icelandic news about this. Some English text is in some of the news. It is possible to use Google Translate on this, but result can be unreliable.
Skaftárhlaup er mjög líklega hafið (Rúv.is, maps, English text)
Skaftárhlaup hafið en það vex óvenju hægt (Rúv.is, Icelandic, maps)
Óvissustig vegna Skaftárhlaups (Rúv.is, Icelandic, maps)
Skaftárhlaup er hafið (mbl.is, English text)
Óvissustig vegna Skaftárhlaups (mbl.is, Icelandic)
Fundað um næstu skref (mbl.is, Icelandic)
Post updated at 20:34 UTC on 19-January-2014.
Last week I wrote about increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river that comes from Mýrdalsjökull glacier (Katla volcano). This trend has continued into second week with the conductivity. The conductivity in Múlakvísl is now on the range of ~327 to ~360 µS/cm. There has also been a slight increase in water levels following this change in Múlakvísl glacier river. Normal value for this time of year according to Icelandic Meteorological Office is ~180 µS/cm in Múlakvísl glacier river. Since 31-December-2013 the conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river has always been over 220 µS/cm.
Conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river. Top: conductivity. Middle: Harmonic tremor. Bottom: Windspeed. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
Animated image from Icelandic Meteorological Office showing changes in Múlakvísl glacier river during this time period. Original image can be found here. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Meteorological Office.
No harmonic tremors or earthquakes have been detected (besides normal activity) following this changes. What is taking place is that a cauldron in Mýrdalsjökull glacier is now leaking melt water that has been built up due to hydrothermal (hot springs) activity under the glacier. So far it does not appear that current changes in Múlakvísl glacier river mean anything at all. If that is going to change is impossible to know at this point.
Icelandic News about this
Rafleiðni há en enginn órói mælist (mbl.is)
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Post updated at 19:09 UTC on 15-January-2014.
Post updated at 20:49 UTC on 15-January-2014.
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It has been reported in Icelandic media today that there is an increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river that comes from Mýdalsjökull glacier. This increased conductivity started in Múlakvísl on 31-December-2013 and has lasted until today (it might last for few days longer).
Mýrdalsjökull glacier is on top of Katla volcano. There are no signs of increased activity following this and according to the news this is most likely a cauldron under the glacier empting it self of water melted by hydrothermal area under the glacier. So far there is no risk to this increased conductivity in Múlakvísl glacier river.
There are no signs of glacier flood is about to take place, at least it is not going to a large one if it happens. That is the current idea at the moment anyway. No earthquake activity or tremor activity has taken place following this changes in Múlakvísl glacier river.
Icelandic News about this
Aukin rafleiðni en ekki útlit fyrir hlaup (Rúv.is)
Fylgjast vel með Múlakvísl (mbl.is)
Vaxandi rafleiðni í Múlakvísl (Vísir.is)
Last week there was an conductivity spike in Skjálfandarfljót glacier river. It is not clear what did create this conductivity spike that was detected and it’s unknown what volcano or hydrothermal area was leaking water into the river. No glacier flood did follow this spike and no extra activity was detected following this. This conductivity spike was detected on the Thursday 22-November-2013 at 20:20 UTC.