More Seismic Activity by Katla Volcano than Usual

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More Seismic Activity by Katla Volcano than Usual

The rate of seismic activity in the Katla volcano below Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland has been higher than usual with minor earthquakes regularly being picked up by sensors in the area. The last series was registered on Saturday.

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Mýrdalsjökull. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

“The largest earthquake was 3.2 [on the Richter scale] and an equally large earthquake hit there last Thursday,” geophysicist Einar Kjartansson at the Icelandic Meteorological Office told Morgunbladid.

“We picked up ten quakes before and after the largest one in a period of approximately 20 minutes,” Kjartansson said of the series of earthquakes on Saturday.

When asked whether this is a case of magma intrusion, Kjartansson said it is hard to tell. “We don’t know but it isn’t unlikely that it has to do with intrusions.”

He also finds it hard to predict how the activity will progress; Katla has been under observation since earthquakes started hitting there regularly. However, the most likely scenario is that the activity will gradually subdue, Kjartansson concluded.

On Saturday, the Mýrdalsjökull glacial river Múlakvísl flooded again—it tore down a bridge on the Ring Road earlier this summer—but this time the flood was not as severe and was the consequence of heavy rain rather than glacial or volcanic activity.

Click here to read more about the flood and here to read more about the seismic activity in Katla.

ESA