Iceland – Katla Situation Update July 11th

Barring any major volcanic event this will most likely be my last Katla update before I leave for Iceland in two and a bit weeks. I did ‘touch wood’ before my last update a week or so ago when all was quiet as it kind of felt like the calm before the storm with very minimal seismic activity. However, there have subsequently been more than seven earthquakes at the Katla Caldera in the last 48 hours. Since 17-May-2010 there have been approximately 96 earthquakes at the Katla volcano site within the region of the Myrdalsjokull glacier. Of the 96 earthquakes, 27 have been within the Katla caldera. It is interesting to note that of the approximate 96 Katla earthquakes since 17-May, the majority have occurred just off of the northwest rim of the caldera. Katla has been fickle during the past number of weeks in that there have been days when hardly an earthquake has appeared, while there have been other days that have been fairly active. There was one stretch of several weeks that was very quiet, while during the past several days there has been quite a lot of activity, much more than average since I’ve been watching this. What does this mean?

Who knows… or rather no one knows. There are no reports of imminent eruptions from the Icelandic MET office to date for Katla. But, (and it is a big but), I am reminded that Katla historically does erupt following the Eyjafjallajokull volcano; which erupted back on the 14th of April this year. I am also reminded that Katla is around ten times more powerful than Eyjafjallajokull and that an eruption would have world wide consequences. Not the least of which would be greatly affected air travel. Its only a couple of weeks until I leave for Iceland now so my fingers are crossed Katla can hold its ‘magma’ for at least this long.

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