Friday, June 17, 2011

Iceland volcanoes might be back soon and strong

Well I am not sure that this is yet that dramatic, but it is beginning to look as though it might be, and so it is worth putting up a shot from the Icelandic Met Office about earthquakes in the Myrdalsjokull (Katla) region that I just noticed has happened in the last 24-hours, actually at about 5:30 pm local time, on the 17th. The stars denote an earthquake greater than 3 occurring, and there has been a growing focus of the earthquakes around the Katla site over the past four months, some of which I had noted earlier. These now appear stronger and even more focussed.

Earthquakes in the last 24 hours around the Mydralsjokull site (Icelandic Met Office )

While three quakes by themselves are not that extra-ordinary, they need to be put in place with the gradual focusing of quakes that has taken place over the past six months, which I have mentioned in the past. And they need also to be considered in light of the historic past when Katla erupted about a year and a half after Eyjafjallajokull, which you may remember erupted in April 2010. Katla has, in this context, been a much greater eruption.

Gradually, over the past months, the quakes about Katla have become more focused in just a few spots, and the current further focus suggests that magma might now be starting to create a site for an eruption. To illustrate how this has happened I will repeat showing the April and May quakes, together with those for the June to date, showing first the initial 10 days and then everything up until today.

UPDATE: There was another at 3.3 on Saturday morning at 8:18 am, but it was over at Langjokull which is some distance North-West of the region that my truncated maps show. And there are a significant number of small quakes happening around it.

Quakes around the region in April

Quakes in the same area in May

At this point I changed the colors, though thinking that the eruption was a few months away I didn’t take enough care with my initial choices of color. For the first 10 days of June

Quakes in the region in the first 10 days in June

Then I added in that luminous green the quakes up until today, and since I am not that efficient in adding stars I put in the larger quakes a 3, a 3.1 and the largest at 3.8 - which is in the middle of the green spot under the “a” of Myrdal.

Quakes in the Katla region in June – squares are 3.o and greater.

So it begins to look as though Katla is beginning to stir. This could get interesting, perhaps a little sooner than I had thought. It also appears that I might not be alone in thinking that this may be a sign that magma is moving in. (I took out the reference to the earlier eruption since I had it wrong)


  1. Actually it was Grimsvotn that had the effects you describe - the Laki eruption is believed to have been part of the Grimsvotn volcanic system.

  2. Oops, that's what you get when I write a post after midnight. Thanks for the correction.

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