Colour Code for Katla Raised to Yellow

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Iceland Magazine: The colour code for Katla volcano raised to yellow — a new and powerful earthquake swarm hit at noon


Due to the recent significant increase in earthquake activity within Kalla, Iceland Met Office (IMO) has raised the aviation colour code from Green to Yellow in accordance with recommended International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) procedures.

This alert is issued when a volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest, above known background level.

Scientists are concerned as the volcano’s behaviour is quite unusual.

The earthquakes’ points of origin are shallow, and there are no signs of volcanic tremors, but the experts say the quakes might nevertheless be a sign of an impending eruption.




Aviation Colour Codes

Colour Codes are intended to inform the aviation sector about a volcano’s status. Notifications are issued for both increasing and decreasing volcanic activity, and are accompanied by text with details (as known) about the nature of the unrest or eruption, especially in regard to ash-plume information and likely outcomes.

  1. GREY – Volcano appears quiet, but is not monitored adequately. Absence of unrest unconfirmed.
  2. GREEN – Volcano is in typical background, non-eruptive state.
  3. YELLOW – Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest, above known background level
  4. ORANGE – Volcano shows heightened or escalating unrest, with increased potential of eruption.
  5. RED Eruption is imminent or in progress – significant emission of ash into atmosphere likely.


The colour codes reflect conditions at or near a volcano, and are not intended to pertain to hazards posed downwind by the drifting ash – all discernible ash clouds are assumed to be highly hazardous and should be avoided. Furthermore, users must be aware that the aviation colour code should not be extrapolated to represent the hazards posed on the ground, which might be quite different (WOVO – World Organization of Volcano Observatories).


The Police Commissioner of South Iceland has sent out units to visit Þakgil canyon and other popular travel destinations close to Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the home of the sub-glacial volcano, to warn people who might be in the area.
Katla may play an interesting role in ICE2017 Planning & Execution, if this level of increased activity continues.

ICE2017 Team will be keeping a close eye on future developments.

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