Katla Volcano Shaking, Geologist Says Skip to content

Katla Volcano Shaking, Geologist Says

During the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, an eruption that closed the airspace of Europe, many talked about the bigger and more active volcano, Katla, which is thought to be due to erupt at any moment. However, it has been due to erupt for almost fifty years. The latest Katla eruption in 1918 caused considerable damage and the volcano is feared wide and far.

Katla erupts in 1918

The famous Icelandic volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson notes in his blog on July 17 that small earthquakes in Katla volcano have been frequent in both 2012 and 2011. In the accompanying graph you can see the number of earthquakes each year from 1991 to 2012. The situation is clearly not normal since the peak is in 2012.

Katla quakes 1991-2012

Source: Haraldur Sigurdsson.

Haraldur asks whether these are ice-quakes formed by movement and melting of the glacier, or quakes in the crust of the earth, connected to the volcano itself. He draws the conclusion from observing quakes in Godabunga, west of Katla, that it is unlikely that the quakes are related to melting of ice due to the glacier. Hence, he says that possibly the quakes are related to geothermal heat under the ice. Haraldur Sigurdsson concludes by saying that Katla continues to cause nervousness among all.


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