Katla: "Overdue" For Eruption, But Not Showing Imminent Signs - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Katla: “Overdue” For Eruption, But Not Showing Imminent Signs

Published August 30, 2016

Although the volcano Katla is considerably overdue for a major eruption, the current seismic activity around it does not yet indicate an eruption is imminent, a professor of geology says.

As reported, two large earthquakes and a series of small aftershocks were reported just north of Katla late Sunday night. The volcano is active, and erupts on a fairly regular basis, but Katla is decades “behind schedule” for a major eruption.

“On average the time between eruptions is 50 years but now the volcano hasn‘t erupted in 98 years,” earthquake hazards coordinator at the Icelandic Met Office Kristín Jónsdóttir told RÚV. “There will be an eruption, it‘s only a question of when.”

However, the current seismic activity around Katla does not indicate an eruption is imminent, professor of geology Páll Einarsson told RÚV.

“Katla is a powerful volcano and we should never forget that,” he said. “However, there is nothing in this recent series of events that indicates especially that volcanic activity or an eruption is imminent. People ask, when will Katla erupt? My response is it erupted in 2011. We just didn’t notice it.”

Here, Páll refers to the glacial flooding which came from four ice cauldrons in the southeastern part of the Katla volcano that year, resulting in no loss of life but the destruction of a bridge over Múlakvísl.

As such, while technically speaking it is only a matter of time before Katla erupts, the latest recorded activity in the region does not indicate an eruption is imminent at this time. The Grapevine will keep readers updated on any new developments as they arise.

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