Volcanoe

An Eruption At Iceland’s Katla Volcano Could Be Imminent – Update 2


Update 2:

This is the most significant activity I’ve witnessed at the Katla Volcano since the last update, and whether or not this raises the odds of an imminent eruption remain to be seen; there have been a few earthquake swarms and other seismic activity since the last update, but nothing significant enough to report upon. Today is different. This recent spate of activity began on September 1st when there was a Magnitude 3.2 quake in Katla’s caldera.  Prior to that, The Global Volcanism Program noted that:

From 18 July until mid-August, ten new ice cauldrons formed along the W, S, and E borders of the Mýrdalsjökull caldera (figure 3), signifying increased geothermal activity along a large part of the caldera rim. Changes on the icecap surface have been reported for some of the earlier eruptions of Katla, and the current activity could be a possible long-term precursor to a new eruption. A flight over the area on 9 September by Reynir Ragnarsson at Vík, revealed that the ice cauldrons did not develop much after mid-August. (My emphasis) MUCH MORE

Seismic activity is still rising at Katla and you can view the activity at this LINK. What makes today’s activity especially notable was reported on by Jón Frímann wherein he presents evidence of inflation within the Katla Volcano:

Inflation starts in Katla volcano

(Excerpts)

There seems to be inflation going on in Katla volcano, at least according to the automatic GPS data that IMO has on it’s web site. But this might be error in the data. But for the moment I do not think it is. But please do look at this data with the view that it might be wrong.

The inflation appears clearly on Lágu Hvolar GPS station. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office. There are graphs and charts when you read the full story on the author’s site.

The inflation can be seen on Lágu Hvolar and Sólheimaheiði GPS stations. But it appears to be more clear at HVOL GPS station. But that is most likey because that GPS station is closer to the magma pocket in question that creates this movement.

The inflation also appears on Sólheimaheiði GPS station. But not as clearly as on Lágu Hvolar GPS station. Copyright of this image belongs to Iceland Met Office.

What might be the critical inflation before a eruption starts is hard to know until it happens. For Eyjafjallajökull volcano that was 60mm, for Grímsfjall volcano the inflation was actually 350mm. But that volcano had eruptions that did not change it’s inflation numbers. I do not know why Grímsfjall volcano is so different in this respect from other volcanoes in Iceland (that I know of so far).  LINK TO FULL ARTICLE:

The historical data noted in this and prior articles is highly suggestive of a Katla eruption occurring approximately one to one and a half years after an Eyjafjallavökull eruption, and we sit right smack in that time zone. This recent activity is notable enough to warrant continued monitoring but is not necessarily indicative of an imminent eruption.  In the same breath, Katla could erupt at any time with little or no warning, although this time she does seem to be sending up red flags. If anything significant changes we will update the story again.

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Update:

There appears to have been a small eruption at the Katla Volcano last night, which could be insignificant, or it could herald the full scale awakening of one of Iceland’s most dangerous volcanoes:

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.

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. MORE Plus Graphs and Charts

We will update this page as soon as we have more information.  Actually, we missed this important report that mirrors our beliefs in regard the Katla Volcano.  Even though there are increasing signs of an imminent eruption, nothing is appearing in the MSM. I’m betting that politicians don’t want to rattle the global economy and may be sacrifycing the positive results of being prepared versus politics, where profit is more precious than life itself:

Quake-hit Iceland volcano Katla shows strengthening signs of eruption

Iceland’s massive Katla volcano is showing increasing signs of a possible eruption following an intense week of earthquakes and tremors.

The feared volcano was struck by a magnitude 3.2 earthquake last night as experts believe magma is slowly filling inside the mountain, giving rise to fears the volcano could soon erupt.

The latest quake follows a week of increasing activity with official reports of harmonic tremors and earthquake swarms.

Observers have been closely watching Katla since July when the volcano showed the first signs of increased activity.

Last weekend, the Icelandic Met Office confirmed two swarms of earthquakes in Katla and on Wednesday night, a harmonic tremor – a potential indicator to an eruption – was detected.

Last night’s stronger earthquake was picked up in the volcano’s caldera – its magma chamber.

Katla, which has not experienced a significant eruption for 93 years, is the second largest volcano on Iceland and its eruption will be felt across Europe.

Last year, the country’s president Ólafur Grímsson warned “the time for Katla to erupt is coming close, Iceland has prepared and it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over Europe and the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption”. FULL STORY HERE:


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An eruption of Iceland’s Katla Volcano wouldn’t surprise anyone who has studied this phenomena, however, the European Community will likely be shocked and unprepared for the ferocity of a major Katla Eruption. Whether the eruption is “major” remains to be seen, but whether or not Katla will erupt is inevitable – if you believe history:

Katla: the sleeping sister

Katla has erupted 16 times since 930, in 1755 exploding so violently that its ash settled on parts of Scotland. In 1918, Katla tore chunks of ice the size of houses from the Myrdalsjökull glacier atop it, sending them careening down its slopes and into the Atlantic on floods of melted glacier water.

While Eyjafjallavökull is virtually anonymous in Icelandic lore, Katla is one of the “Angry Sisters” along its even-more active twin, Hekla.

The 1918 eruption was the last major eruption of Katla – a volcano that has erupted twice a century, on average – which is why scientists have paid particularly close attention to it in recent days.

But while earth beneath Eyjafjallajökull trembled with thousands of small earthquakes in the months before the eruption – signaling that magma was welling up beneath the volcano – scientists have not seen the same activity at Katla yet.  LINK

This post is meant to be a warning to those whom follow this site and are aware that we publish fact backed up by solid substantiation, or in the alternative, especially as it concerns the Katla Volcano, solid historical evidence and data that supports the fact that Katla usually erupts approximately one year to a year and a half after the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano erupts.  There are still minor earthquakes every day which indicates that magma is moving into and through the caldera and other geological mechanisms which make this beast so dangerous.

Remember, the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano erupted in April of 2010, therefore, an eruption could occur at any time. We have posted this information because of the increased seismic activity at Katla which, coupled with past eruptions and the amount of time since Eyjafjallajökull erupted, it’s a good bet that Katla will live up to her reputation and provide us with another spectacular eruption.  Please note that these earthquakes are of a small magnitude – which demonstrates that magma is likely rising to the surface – which often precedes a volcanic eruption.

NOTE: The article quoted above was from April of 2010; several “experts” and even the people of Iceland believed that an eruption was eminent back then while we remained extremely skeptical. Even then, we believed that a Katla eruption would follow the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, but not nearly as soon as others believed… We still believe that to predict our future, it is of tantamount importance to understand our past.

Please excuse the egg on my face… I put a lot of effort and research into the above article – and then published a draft. Yep, I threw out the article and published a draft that wasn’t finished – and then didn’t catch the mistake until two days ago. If I would have caught this soon enough I would have just deleted the piece, but in an age where nothing goes away on the Internet it makes better sense to admit the mistake and move on. Please excuse my non-post and hopefully, I have learned a hard lesson and this mistake will not be repeated.

One last thought – what is “Imminent,” especially when speaking about a volcanic eruption?  Even though most volcanic eruptions are preceded by earthquakes and bulging of the caldera – in approximately ten to fifteen percent of the cases there is no warning of an eruption whatsoever and any volcano can explode without so much as a minor quake. As it concerns the Katla Volcano, I believe that “imminent” is a period not to exceed six months and three to four months would probably fit better with the history of the volcano.


Icelandic Meteorological office

Mýrdalsjökull – earthquakes during the last 48 hours

Other Articles in regard the Katla Volcano:

Locals Believe Iceland’s Katla Volcano Will Erupt In Five Days, And They Could Be Correct – Updated

Fact Check And Dangers Of Iceland’s Volcano Eyjafjallajokull And Possibility Of Katla Eruption, Updated

International Concern Over Iceland’s Katla Volcano Erupting Soon Is Justified

 

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