New earthquake swarm in Katla volcano during the day

Today there was a new earthquake swarm in Katla volcano. This earthquake swarm was in the caldera of Katla volcano, same as the earthquake swarms that have happened inside Katla volcano since July, when this pattern of activity did start.


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

It has been few hours since the earthquake activity did stop in Katla volcano. If the pattern that has been ongoing for the past week and longer there should be a harmonic tremor spike in few hours time. But that it currently hard to know if this pattern is going to hold up or not. But I have every reason to believe that it is going to do so. For the moment, all that can be done is to wait and see what happens next in Katla volcano. At the moment, I have not seen any harmonic tremor spike during the day or at current time when this blog post is written.

Magma on the move in Katla volcano

While the source of the harmonic tremor yesterday in Katla volcano is not immanently clear. It is has been concluded that magma is on the move inside Katla volcano. It has been suggested that the harmonic tremor yesterday in Katla volcano is a mixture of both hydrothermal activity and water flows under the glacier. But hydrothermal activity has increased in Katla volcano since July and seems to be continuing on that path for now.

The earthquake activity in Katla volcano has been growing since July, when a sharp harmonic tremor spike did take place and was followed by a glacier flood that did destroy the Múlakvísl river bridge. But that flood did peak at ~5 meter high.

Currently the activity is quiet in Katla volcano. But that might be because the earthquakes are not being detected by the bad weather that is currently in this area (and all over Iceland for the fact).

Here is a overview of the change in activity since Week 34.


The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during Week 34. The number is the cauldron in Katla volcano. Notice the interesting earthquake activity in SE part of Katla volcano, well outside of the caldera area. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


The earthquake activity in Katla volcano during week 35. The earthquake activity in SE part of Katla volcano continues at the same place. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


The earthquake activity in KAtla volcano during week 36 (current week, last updated today 7. September 2011). Earthquake activity in SE part of Katla volcano continues as before.Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

Current activity in Katla volcano is quiet (less detection due the storm is also a factor in this). But that can change without any warning at all and at any time. But there is no reason to scaremonger what is going on in Katla volcano. It is a fact of life and cannot be changed. So the best way is to prepare if people live close to Katla volcano, or if you live far from Katla volcano the best thing is to monitor and learn from what is now happening in Katla volcano. Scare tactics do not any good and serve no purposive at all and never done so.

Icelandic news about the activity in Katla volcano. Use Google translate to understand. But be aware it is not approved by Santa.


Ekki ótvíræð merki um yfirvofandi gos
(mbl.is, Icelandic)
Engin augljós skýring á óróa (mbl.is, Icelandic, 6. Sept, 2011)
Flogið yfir Kötlu (mbl.is, Icelandic, 6. Sept, 2011)
Kvika safnast saman undir Kötlu (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Fylgjast með aukinni virkni í Kötlu (Vísir.is, Icelandic, Video in Icelandic, 6. Sept, 2011)
Jarðhiti aukist mjög mikið undir Kötlu (Vísir.is, Icelandic, 6. Sept, 2011)

Update 1: According to news the local emergency units and police have started to review the evacuation plans and emergency plans in the case of a eruption in Katla volcano.

News about that can be read here, if you risk Google Translate.

Fara yfir áætlanir um viðbrögð (mbl.is, Icelandic, 7. Sept, 2011)

Blog post updated at 00:43 UTC on 8. Sept, 2011.

Earthquake swarm in Krýsuvík volcano

Earlier today a earthquake swarm did start in Krýsvík volcano. This earthquake appears tectonic in nature from what I can tell on my geophone. This type of earthquake swarm is common in this area in Krýsuvík volcano. It does not mean that a eruption is about to start. But this area is a rift zone and it has many earthquake swarms during the year. This is just one of them so far. It is impossible to know how large this earthquake swarm is going to be or how long it is going to last.

The first earthquake swarm did start at 15:42 UTC, the second earthquake swarm did start at 21:53 UTC. That earthquake swarm is currently ongoing with several earthquakes every 2 min or so.

The current area of activity is a lake named Kleifarvatn lake. But that lake is on top of Krísuvík volcano.


Current activity in Krýsuvík volcano. This is a tectonic earthquake activity, not volcanic. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

I think that this earthquake activity is going to continue something into the night and next few days at the longest.

Strong harmonic tremor pulse starting in Katla volcano

There seems to be a strong harmonic tremor pulse starting in Katla volcano. I do not think that this is anything else for the moment. I do not have any more details at the moment. But I am going to post updates when I know more.

Start of the harmonic tremor pulse on the SIL stations that he appears best on.


Slysaalda, north of Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


Rjúpnafell, South-west of Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


Lágu Hvolar SIL station. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


Álftagröf SIL station. South of Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

The start of the harmonic tremor event can be seen on the end of harmonic tremor chart. It stands out as it above the background noise on the SIL station. Next update on the SIL stations (10 or 20 min until it happens) is going to show more how big event this is going to be.

More updates when I know more on what is taking place in Katla volcano.

Update 1: The Public Civil Emergency Authority (Almannavarnir) in Iceland has increased monitoring with Katla volcano. But they have not declared any emergency level yet. Announcement about that in Icelandic can be found here. But scientists where flown over Mýrdalsjökull glacier at 18:00 UTC today (6. September 2011).

According to the news there has been increase in conductivity in Múlakvísl river. But for the moment the water level has not increased. There has been speculation that the tremor was created by water on the move. But that is unclear at the moment, however it is quite possible that more water is on the move under Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Currently the harmonic tremor in Katla volcano has dropped back to normal levels. For the moment everything is quiet in Katla volcano. But that can change at any time without any warning.

News about this in Icelandic.

Órói undir Mýrdalsjökli (Rúv.is)
Fylgjast með aukinni virkni í Kötlu (Vísir.is)
Eftirlit aukið með Kötlu (mbl.is)
Flogið yfir Kötlu (mbl.is)

Update 2: It seems that a new harmonic tremor episode is about to start in Katla volcano. So far it has remained small. But it is impossible to know if that is going to change suddenly or not. Update 2b: There is also some wind noise on the seismometers around Katla volcano. This wind is increasing background noise. It often look like a tremor increase, while in reality it is not.

Blog post updated at 18:37 UTC.
Blog post updated at 18:46 UTC.
Blog post updated at 20:03 UTC.
Blog post updated at 20:29 UTC.

Earthquake swarm deep on the Reykjanes Ridge

During the night a earthquake swarm started deep on the Reykjanes Ridge. This earthquake swarm is currently at distance of 730 to 735 km SW of Reykjavík. So it is clear that nobody is going to feel this earthquake swarm out in the deep ocean.

From this distance it is impossible to know if this is just a earthquake swarm or a volcano event. This distance also makes it close to impossible for the SIL network to locate this earthquakes with any details. But EMSC and USGS should show the largest earthquakes as they happen on the Reykjanes Ridge.

The largest earthquakes are appearing on my Hekla geophone, but just barely. Due to this large distance only long period seismometers are going to record those earthquakes properly.

Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Today (3. September 2011) at 16:45 UTC a earthquake swarm did start in Katla volcano. So far this earthquake swarm has been small, with the largest earthquake just with the size ML2.7 at the depth of 1.1 km (automatic data). But the quality of this earthquake was good, so location is accurate from what I can tell.

I am not sure at this moment if there is a harmonic tremor spike following this earthquake swarm or not. As the earthquakes are long period due the fact that they are created by magma movement in Katla volcano. This might be dike intrusion. But for the moment it is hard to know that for sure.


The area of earthquake activity today in Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


The ML2.7 earthquake (automatic size) in Katla volcano caldera. This picture is released under Creative Commons Licence, see Licence web page for more details.


Harmonic tremor plot of the current activity. Latest activity is at the end of the tremor plot. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


Harmonic tremor plot of the current activity. Latest activity is at the end of the tremor plot. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


Harmonic tremor plot of the current activity. Latest activity is at the end of the tremor plot. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

I cannot tell at the moment what is going on in Katla volcano. But the earthquakes tell me that the reason why they are happening is because of magma is moving inside Katla volcano. But latest data (not shown here) do however show that no harmonic tremor is currently ongoing, if it ever started during this earthquake swarm. I am expecting the earthquake swarm to continue and last for the next few hours. But I must point out that that is what might happen, as sometimes earthquake swarms just stop when you think that they might be about to start for real.

Earthquakes in Öræfajökull volcano

I do not have a time for long blog post about this at the moment. But here is a short overview of earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano.

Since the year 1991 there have been total of three earthquake swarms (with the one in last week) in Öræfajökull volcano. The two earthquake swarms where in the year December 2005 and in September 2008. Total of 70 or so earthquakes have taken place in this earthquake swarms. But only 30 or so earthquakes in the main crater of Öræfajökull volcano.


Earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano between the year 1991 and to 2011. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


Earthquakes inside the main crater of Öræfajökull volcano from the year 1991 to 2011. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

All pictures are from here.

Currently the earthquake activity in Öræfajökull volcano is quite low. So I am not expecting anything for a long, long time now. The reason why earthquakes are taking place might be new magma. But this also might be due the glacier and pressure changes on the rock because of that. But I find the later idea less likely then the first one. But it hard to know for sure at the moment what actually is the real case now.

Earthquake activity in Katla volcano increases again

I was going to write about something else (TFZ and other earthquakes around Iceland in the last few days). But that just has to wait for a little longer.

It seems that Katla volcano earthquakes are increasing again. This increase appears to be similar to the increase in earthquakes before the glacier flood from the 9th to 17th of June and onwards until the glacier flood on 8th and 9th of July. The only difference now is that I am seeing this pattern earlier since I now know what to look for this time around when this is in its early stages.

How this is going to develop now is a wait and see process. But this might take as long time to get interesting as it did in June to July, to the event that ended with the glacier flood from Mýrdalsjökull glacier.


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

It is also worth noticing that the earthquake activity is not as focused as it was in early June and in July. But I am fully expecting that to happen soon. But it remains to be seen if that actually happens or not.

The earthquake activity SSE in the Katla volcano caldera rim is still interesting. I do not know why it is taking place there. But if a eruption would take place at this location. There would be a short glacier flood and some period with volcano ash explosions. But after that it should be lava eruption in that location if it where to last long enough to remove all that water from the crater. But this is all just a speculation and nothing more.

For now. It is just wait and see what happens next.

Earthquake swarm and minor harmonic tremor in Katla volcano

There has been a minor earthquake swarm in Katla volcano today. This earthquake swarm started around 09:00 UTC and lasted with breaks until 14:39 UTC. The largest earthquake in this swarm was ML1.7 with the depth of 3.5 km. Following this earthquake swarm there was a small harmonic tremor spike seen on few SIL stations around Katla volcano. It is unknown at this time if there has been a small glacier flood taking place. But if that is the case, it should be known in the next few hours if that is the case or not.


The earthquake swarm in Katla volcano caldera. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


The harmonic tremor spike can be seen on this SIL station. It is located close to the end of tremor plot. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.


The harmonic tremor spike can be seen on this SIL station. It is located close to the end of tremor plot. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This harmonic tremor is small, but larger then last harmonic tremor that took place in this are about one week ago (far as I can remember). Currently there is nothing that suggests that eruption is imminent. This is just earthquake activity in the same place as it has been for the past five or so weeks.

Sorry for the short blog post. I have gone sick with some cold. No advice needed on how to get rid of it. That is going to take few days on it’s own.

Possible minor eruption in Hamarinn volcano yesterday. Update on Katla volcano

There appears to be more in this new hydrothermal activity in Hamarinn volcano then at first sight. It seems that this actually might have a eruption in Hamarinn volcano (Bárðarbunga volcano). If this event is confirmed, this is the first eruption in Hamarinn volcano since the year 1910.

This also mean that there is a chance of more activity in this area in coming weeks or months. But when it might happen is impossible to know.


The new cauldrons are marked with a “X” on this map. Copyright of this picture belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This eruption was really small and did just last for few hours. But it was able to melt a lot of ice and create rather large glacier flood from Vatnajökull glacier. If the activity resumes in this area this is going to repeat it self in terms of glacier flood.

Icelandic News about this event.

Innskot af kviku (Rúv.is, Icelandic)
Eldgos gæti hafa brotist upp við Hamarinn (Vísir.is, Icelandic, Pictures)
Fundu nýjan sigketil (mbl.is, Icelandic, Pictures)

Sigketill við Lokahrygg (Icelandic Met Office, Icelandic, Pictures)

Update on Katla volcano

Here is a short update on Katla volcano. There have been repeated short burst of harmonic tremors taking place inside the Katla volcano caldera. This harmonic tremor spikes have been small and they are hard to see on the harmonic tremor graph that Icelandic Met Office has on-line. Other then this it has been quiet so far in Katla volcano.