Friday, June 15, 2012

More Earthquakes at Katla Volcano in Iceland

The rumbling at Katla volcano continues, as a month has passed since the current 'swarm' (if you can really call it that) has continued. As the ice retreats above Katla's caldera, so too does pressure decrease on the volcano, thus making it much easier for gases, and heated water to bubble up and produce small quakes. As far as the Icelandic Meteorological Office is concerned, these quakes do not appear to be entirely volcanically related.

The quakes occurring are most likely (not certainly) related to crustal adjustments, and the reduction of the amount of ice on the summit. While this does actually increase the possibility slightly that an eruption could occur, the only reason for this is the pressure decrease. It would still take a fresh (and large) injection of magma into the volcanoes chamber in order to trigger an eruption, and given that there is thus far very little if any change in the normal harmonic tremor, it does not appear that these quakes have any reason to concern Iceland or Europe... at least not yet.

While Katla is widely believed to be "overdue" for an eruption, it is always important to note that even though sometimes there appear to be patterns in volcanic activity, this is really not the case. Looking only at statistical data, it is impossible to really say when a volcano will erupt. Katla will erupt again in the future, but when is a question that cannot be answered yet. I will continue to monitor Katla and if anything new occurs, I will post on it. But right now, I'm going to assume that the volcano is simply 'stretching out' and enjoying the summer, nothing more, nothing less.

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