Iceland Magazine Article: Katla volcano in Mýrdalsjökull glacier stirs, 3.2 magnitude earthquake hit yesterday
A powerful 3.2 magnitude earthquake was detected in the Katla caldera beneath Mýrdalsjökull glacier last night (29.11.2016) at 19:55.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) detected a second smaller quake (magnitude 2.7 on the Richter Scale), which shook the caldera immediately following the larger quake. A swarm of smaller earthquakes were then detected in the caldera following.
Last night’s earthquake swarm is the latest in a series of quakes in Katla and Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
Last week saw more than 80 quakes in Mýrdalsjökull. However, most were relatively minor.
The largest was a 2.8 magnitude quake in the eastern part of the caldera.
Katla is under constant monitoring by the Icelandic Meteorological Office, which has a tightly knit net of measurement posts on Mýrdalsjökull glacier to detect the smallest shifts in the volcano. Bergur H. Bergsson, a seismologist at the IMO recently told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that every time the volcano stirred, the IMO moved in to check it’s monitoring posts, ensuring the net was tight enough and that all stations were working properly. Conditions on top the glacier were very difficult, taxing the equipment.
Katla is located beneath Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the third largest of Iceland’s glaciers. It is one of the most powerful and active volcanoes in Iceland, having erupted 20 times after Iceland was settled. Katla has erupted on average at a 40-80 year intervals. The last eruption took place in 1918 (98 years ago), making the next eruption overdue and possibly now in the making.
A sub-glacial eruption in Katla could trigger massive floods, as well as creating ash clouds similar to those seen in the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010.
Potential Impact on ICE2017
ICE2017 Team will be keeping a close eye on developments of these recent activity, as it may influence our planning for next years adventure – maybe we will have the opportunity to experience a live volcano eruption.
Exciting times ahead………