Overview of current events in Katla volcano and current status

Here is an overview of the current events in Katla volcano. This is the short version, as I have not had the time to go over all the data collected so far.

12 June: On this day I did notice the first harmonic tremor spikes. This tremor spike was small and only noticed on few SIL stations around Mýrdalsjökull volcano. No earthquake activity was detected following this event. At least no earthquake activity that was unusual in my opinion.

17 to 18 June: The first earthquake swarm took place on this day that I connect to the current events. This earthquake swarm was special and different from the normal earthquakes that I see in Mýrdalsjökull volcano caldera. It was how dense this earthquake swarm was. There was no or little harmonic tremor following this earthquake swarm.

21 June: New harmonic tremor spike took place in Katla volcano on this day. It was a bit stronger then the first one. But lot smaller then what did happen this weekend.

28 June: What appears as an glacier earthquakes did appear on this day. Along with normal earthquake activity inside the Katla volcano caldera.

After this the events of July 8 start, it did end on the 9 July after what is most likely an minor eruption inside the Katla volcano caldera. This event is over it seems and Katla volcano has once again paused. But that has happened repeatedly over the past few weeks. The time between stops is different and it is impossible to know when the current pause ends. It is also impossible to know what happens next time activity picks up in Katla volcano caldera. Currently the earthquake activity continues in the Katla volcano caldera, but there are few earthquakes happening now then earlier this weekend.

For now all that can be done is to wait and see what happens.

All quiet at Katla volcano

Currently everything is quiet in Katla volcano. At the moment the harmonic tremor level have gone back to normal levels. But there appears to be some earthquake activity taking place inside Katla volcano caldera. But most of this earthquakes do not appear on the automatic earthquake list that IMO has. But it might be impossible to actually locate this earthquakes as they might just appear on single or two SIL stations.

The glacier flood is over and the flood water have continued to lower during the day.

It is hard to know for sure what happens next. But the current events started around 17. June when earthquake swarms started to appear on the Katla volcano caldera. This has been developing rather fast since then. I do not expect that to change any time soon. But what I think was harmonic tremor pulses started around 12. June.

For now however all that can be done is to wait and see what happens in Katla volcano. As I do not think that this is over. But we might be in for an few hours or days of an break until something new happens in Katla volcano.

Icelandic News about this.

Einungis brúin eftir (Rúv.is, Icelandic, Picture)
Highway no. 1 disrupted for weeks. (Rúv.is, English, German)

Harmonic tremor drop down. New earthquake happen in Katla volcano caldera

It seems that on many SIL station around Katla volcano that the harmonic tremor has gone mostly down to background levels, on other stations it continues to drop. This are mostly SIL stations that are at the most distance to the source of the area that this minor eruption took place during the night. But at the moment this seems to be over. The main source of the activity appears to be where the eruption took place in the year 1918, or so scientists think at the moment.

According to the news there was an flood wave around 04:00 UTC during the night. When the water meters did show an rise of 5 meters suddenly. Soon after that the bridge over Múlakvísl river was lost in the glacier flood. This did close the main road 1 in this area, that area of the main road is going to remain closed for the next few weeks while they fix the damage done in the flood (build an new bridge).

Even if the harmonic tremor seems to be dropping. This does not seem to be over, as an earthquake activity did resume from around 13:00 UTC in the Katla. Since then the earthquake activity seems to have been building at slow rate.


Tremor plot at 18:23 UTC. The tremor is dropping. It also shows that earthquakes are taking place (spikes the tremor chart). Copyright of this picture belongs to the Icelandic Met Office.


Tremor chart from Goðabunga at 18:24 UTC. Copyright of this picture belongs to the Icelandic Met Office.


Dropping harmonic tremor on Lágu Hvolar. Earthquakes appear as spikes here. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Dropping tremor and earthquakes as before. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Earthquakes as they are tonight. The southern part of the caldera is having earthquake swarm, even if it is just an small one. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am waiting too see how this develops. Something larger might happen. But nothing else might happen for an while in Katla volcano. The only thing that can be done is too wait and see what happens in Katla volcano.

Icelandic News about the road damage.

Meiri skemmdir en talið var (Rúv.is, Picture, Icelandic)

Harmonic tremor still high in Katla volcano

Currently harmonic tremor remains high in Katla volcano. But at the moment the harmonic tremor is dropping. Earthquakes have also stopped for the moment. But currently the harmonic tremor is well above the background level for this area. It is still not clear if this was an eruption or just hydrothermal areas clearing it self of extra water. But in the news at Rúv noon they did report that the ice cauldrons that are normally there had deepened over the past few weeks in Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Update 1: Earthquake activity has stopped for the moment. But I am expecting it to resume soon. As I do not think that this event is over, even if it has just paused for the moment.

Three cauldron have formed in Mýrdalsjökull glacier and large cracks have formed around them. All traffic has been banned on Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the glacier that comes from it.

Here are the current tremor charts from Icelandic Met Office web page.


Harmonic tremor is dropping as can clearly be seen on this picture. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Harmonic tremor is dropping as can clearly be seen on this picture. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Harmonic tremor is dropping as can clearly be seen on this picture. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

I am going to post update on Katla volcano later today and earlier if anything major happens.

News with picture of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. It is covered with dark ash from Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption last year and volcano ash from the eruption in Grímsfjall volcano 2011.

Miklar sprungur í sigkötlunum (mbl.is, Picture, Icelandic)
Svona lítur jökullinn út (Rúv.is, Icelandic, Picture)
Þrír greinilegir sigkatlar (Vísir.is, Icelandic, Picture)
Brúin rofnaði af í heilu lagi (Vísir.is, Icelandic, Picture)
Óvissa um hlaup eða lítið eldgos (Rúv.is, Icelandic, Pictures)

Blog post updated at 13:13 UTC 9. July 2011.

Possible small eruption in Katla volcano, small glacier flood followed it

It seems that an small eruption took place in Katla volcano caldera during the night. At the moment it seems to be over. But it is hard to be sure. According to Icelandic news there where three newly formed cauldrons in the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The eruption is unlikely to break the glacier at current time if it remains small. Newest news reports say that cracks have formed in the glacier around the cauldrons.

Evacuations are currently taking place in Álftaver, Þakgil and any other place that might be danger. People how are close to affected rivers from Mýrdalsjökull are urged to get away from them due to danger of dangerous gases in the glacier water.

The bridge over Múlakvísl is gone, it did vanish the flood water early this morning. According to the news the bridge got flooded around 03:00 UTC last night. This means that Road 1 is closed in this area.

Currently earthquake activity continues in Katla volcano caldera. But the tremor has been dropping for the past few hours after it topped around 03:00 UTC last night.


Earthquakes this morning in Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Harmonic tremor at 09:16 UTC this morning. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Harmonic tremor at 09:16 UTC this morning. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The tremor has dropped, but is not down to background levels yet. This might be small eruption for the moment. But I fear that might change in the next hours to few days. There is also an big risk of new floods from Mýrdalsjökull glacier due to this small eruption, or if new fissures open up at new places.

I am going to post more updates when I know more. At the moment, this is just an small eruption. But as told before. That might change without any warning at all.

News in English.

Possible eruption in Katla (Rúv.is)

News in Icelandic.

Rýma á Þakgil – tugir á svæðinu (Rúv.is)
Mögulegt hlaup í Skálm (Rúv.is)
Ekki stórt gos í Kötlu (Rúv.is)
Sigkatlar benda til að lítið gos sé hafið (Vísir.is)
Sjá sprungur í jöklinum (mbl.is)

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 (mbl.is, Icelandic)

Glacier flood subsides, harmonic tremors drops down

According to the news the glacier flood from Grímsvötn is subsiding and is expected to be over in the next two to three days. At the same time the harmonic tremor that started at 3rd of November 2010 is also subsiding. No clear reason is for the harmonic tremors.

Currently there is nothing that indicates that a eruption is about to start in Grímsfjalli. But that can change with a short notice, as Grímsfjall sometimes does not give a long warning before it starts erupting.

Icelandic News. Please use Google Translate.

Farginu létt af eldstöðinni (Vísir.is)
Hlaup í rénun (Rúv.is)

English news.

Flood waning, Iceland volcano eruption less likely (washingtonpost.com) – Thanks to Erik for this news.

Glacier flood from Grímsvötn has peaked, harmonic tremors continue

According to news the glacier flood from Grímsvötn has peaked and is already dropping down. So far there has not been any volcano eruption. But harmonic tremor is still ongoing in Grímsfjall volcano and does not show any signs of stopping. But this harmonic tremor appears to be a bit fluctuating for some unknown reason.

Icelandic News. Please use Google translate.

Hlaupið að minnka (Rúv.is)
Vísindamenn í könnunarflugi (Vísir.is – Has video)
Hlaupið hefur náð hámarki (mbl.is – Has video)

Good chance of Grímsfjall eruption following the glacier flood

According to Icelandic news there is a good chance of a eruption in Grímsfjall. Following the glacier flood from Grímsvötn glacier lake. That is at least the opinion of Páll Einarsson, a geologist at University of Iceland. This is not going to be a big eruption in Grímsfjall in Páll opinion. But it is most likely going to be similar in size to the eruption in Grímsfjall in the year 2004. But no damage did happen from that eruption and it did not erupt international flight paths (just domestic ones). In the news Páll also says that the pressure inside Grímsfjall magma chamber appears to be slightly higher then in the year 2004. But otherwise the situation in Grímsfjall is almost identical to the one in the year 2004.

Icelandic News. Please use Google Translate where possible.

Miklar líkur á gosi (Rúv.is)
Rúv evening news on 31st of October 2010. Note: This link is going to die after two weeks as Rúv deletes older news streams from there web pages after that time.
Líkur á eldgosi í Grímsvötnum (mbl.is)
Meiri líkur en minni á gosi í Grímsvötnum (DV.is)

Text updated 2nd November 2010 at 20:11 UTC.

Glacier flood has started from Gímsvötnum

Few hours ago a glacier flood started from Grímsvötnum. But it was only confirmed few moments ago. The flood noise can be seen on following SIL stations around Vatnajökull.

Grímsfjall (increased noise)
Kalafell (increased noise)

This glacier flood is expected to reach it’s peak in about 4 to 5 days. If this is a repeat of the year 2004 events a eruption should start in Grímsfjalli in about 1 to 4 days from now. But if that plays out exacly like the year 2004 eruption remains to be seen. GVP has the eruption history of Grímsfjall here.

This glacier flood starts on the exact day as it did in the year 2004.

Icelandic news. Please use Google Translate.

Hlaup er hafið í Grímsvötnum (Rúv.is)
Hlaup í Grímsvötnum hafið (mbl.is)
Hlaup hafið í Grímsvötnum (Vísir.is)