Magnitude 3,9 earthquake in Katla volcano

Today (26-September-2016) an magnitude 3,9 earthquake took place in Katla volcano caldera. This earthquake had the unusual depth of 0,0 km (error margin is around +-200 meters or more). This was the largest earthquake in a earthquake swarm that started yesterday (25-September-2016). It has for the past 48 hours been slowly increasing in magnitude and size. Most of the earthquakes where smaller than 1,0 in magnitude. Few magnitude 2,0 (and larger) earthquakes took place today in Katla volcano. In total 30 earthquakes have so far taken place in Katla volcano during the past 48 hours.

The earthquake activity in Katla volcano. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

This earthquake swarm and the largest earthquake happen slightly south of the area that had the magnitude 4,5 and 4,6 earthquake swarm almost a month ago (article can be found here). This same area was also active month ago, but only with minor earthquakes. What this pattern suggests is that possible two or more fissures might open up inside the caldera once it erupts. The east-west fissure might be up to 10 km long and south of it a fissure that is up to 5 km long might open up. This is only my view and only speculation, but I cannot ignore the fact that this earthquake swarm activity is lining up in interesting way and that highly suggests that a fissure or a rift process has started in Katla volcano. If it continues or stop is impossible to know.

During documented history (~1000 years) Katla volcano has had most eruption during the period of July until end of November. With few eruptions taking place in January and February. There are huge gaps in this information due to historical inaccuracy, lost information and so on. As before, there are no clear signs of eruption being imminent, but I got the feeling that its not long now, at least less than 10 years until an eruption in Katla volcano.

Article update at 22:11 UTC on 27-September-2016. Minor spelling fixes.

This entry was posted in Earthquakes, Katla / Mýrdalsjökull, Magma, Monitoring, Swarm, Volcano. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Magnitude 3,9 earthquake in Katla volcano

  1. Gary Meyers says:

    Jon, please explain why there is a correlation between time of year and earthquake frequency. Is it just coincidence, or the alignment of the planets (as has been talked about), or ice melt, or whatever?

  2. Luisport says:

    27.09.2016 13:54:52 63.623 -19.120 0.1 km 3.1 99.0 4.9 km NNW of Hábunga

  3. doeternietoe says:

    weight of snow is less end of summer

  4. WurzelDave says:

    Could be an interesting time on the distant (or maybe not so distant) horizon.

  5. Quick warning, The Facebook page “Quake hunter Australia” banned me because I factually corrected him in the effects of fast moving Australia plate, as fast moving plates means stronger earthquakes at plate edges where subduction is taking place, resulting in magnitude 8,0 to 9,0 earthquakes, as was the case with Sumatra earthquakes and many earthquakes on the Australia Plate / Pacific plate subduction area.

    I no longer consider this a real science website, as I properly sourced my claims with proper information about what is going on with the Australia plate movement. He has deleted my comment with the article “Australia Is Drifting So Fast GPS Can’t Keep Up”.

    This Facebook site is going on my blacklist until the sun burns out or Facebook goes bankrupt. I don’t care what happens first.

    The Facebook page in question,

    I highly recommend that people do not use it, they are clearly not scientific in thinking if they can’t handle corrections.

    /off-topic ends.

  6. Dave Murphy says:

    good man Jon….’till the “sun burns out” made me smile.

    Don’t let them wear ye down….


  7. Alberto says:

    There’s quite a lot of activity in Katla today. At least 50 minor earthquakes.

  8. Jen says:

    Tremor is also up, looking at surrounding stations. Am I right Jón?

  9. Luisport says:

    IMO just issued a statement.
    Around 50 quakes have been measured in Katla today and activoty started to increase around noon. This is the biggest swarm in Katla this year and frankly since 2011.
    Conductivity in Múlakvísl is 190uS which is abnormally high during this time of the year.

  10. Luisport says:

    According to RUV(in icelandic), IMO had a meeting this afternoon due to this activity in Katla. No statement from them yet other than they will continue to monitor her 24/7.

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