Strong earthquake swarm in Katla volcano today (19.04.2017)

Today (19.04.2017) a strong earthquake swarm started in Katla volcano. Largest earthquake in this swarm had magnitude of 3,0 and 3,1 other earthquakes that happened where smaller in magnitude. This is the strongest earthquake activity in Katla volcano since January 2017 when a magnitude 4,3 earthquake happened. No harmonic tremor was detected following this earthquake swarm.


The earthquake swarm in Katla volcano. Green stars show the magnitude 3,0 and 3,1 earthquakes. Copyright of this image belongs to Icelandic Met Office.

The earthquakes that I detected on my geophone in Heklubyggð show that the largest earthquakes was a mixed type of volcano earthquakes. This means that magma was responsible for today’s earthquake swarm. It was reported today in the news that this earthquake swarm took place away from all major hydrothermal areas inside Katla volcano caldera. The area of activity is close to eruption area of 1755 and a minor eruption close to current earthquake area in 1955 (didn’t break the glacier).


The main earthquake with the magnitude of 3,1 in Katla volcano. The trace is filtered at 4Hz due to high wind in the area. This image is released under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC licence for more details.

This earthquake activity might just be a early signs of more activity to come. Since current pattern of activity has been going on since August-2016, with minor drop in activity between January to April. How this evolves depends on many factors that cannot be predicted due to lack properly documented earthquake history. Scientists know some details of Katla volcano eruptions behaviour, but those accounts are not fully accurate due to lack of knowledge at the time, currently the best documented eruption in Katla volcano is from 1918.

Article updated at 20:41 UTC. Correction made to the information about strongest earthquake. I recalled that detail wrongly.

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

9 Responses to Strong earthquake swarm in Katla volcano today (19.04.2017)

  1. Gizmo says:

    Nearly every quake of this swarm has been detected in 0,1km depth. If really magma was responsible for that…..it’s more than close (to the icecap).

  2. Z says:

    Actually, it is the strongest earthquake in Katla since January.
    http://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=6640

    None the less, it’s remarkably high activity for Katla, especially for being April. Normally a very quiet time. Wonder what will happen when we approach the time of the year when Katla is usually more active.

    • Minor drop in activity does not exclude strong earthquakes. I’m also extremely forgetful. After this earthquake Katla volcano has remained quiet until now (mostly, few spikes in activity here and there if I remember correctly and that might not be the case).

      Next few weeks might get interesting in Katla volcano.

      I’ve corrected the article.

      • Z says:

        It must be impossible remembering everything when you’re immersing yourself in so much different volcano data every day! Plus your work with the website and everything.

        Myself, I’m mostly monitoring Katla. Not much else 🙂

  3. William Gunning says:

    Jon it looks like we still know little about her properly

  4. Jack McIlveen says:

    Maybe “She” was just replying to the noise from Bardarbunga and Reykjanes !

  5. Porsche928 says:

    Not much better than these pathetic trolls only to provoke some reactions ( where are they anyway). Chanceless volcano.

  6. Volcano monitoring on new level according to this news by BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39642372

    • William Gunning says:

      Sounds good but I still can’t believe how stupid the BBC were that time in going near the lava flow, with snow and ice on the ground.

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