This week has been interesting for earth scientists, even by Icelandic standards. The ongoing volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula seems to have regained some of its strength, earth movements at Bárðarbunga have raised eyebrows, and now, yesterday evening, Katla joined in with two significant earthquakes and dozens of aftershocks.
Both quakes under Katla, one of Iceland’s biggest and most-active volcanoes, were of magnitude 3.2 and occurred at 19.20 and 19.22. Some 30 smaller quakes followed. Despite the seismic activity, no changes have been detected to flow or conductivity of water on local rivers including Múlakvísl.
Met Office natural hazards specialist Bjarki Kaldalón Friis believes the Katla quakes were likely caused by summer melting of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier which covers the volcano.
Bjarki says there is no indication at this stage that Katla may be preparing to erupt. He says the quakes are likely caused by melting of the glacier, and are to be expected at this time of year.
Scientists are nevertheless monitoring Katla closely for any further changes.