All Calm And Quiet At Katla - The Reykjavik Grapevine

All Calm And Quiet At Katla

Published October 3, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Despite the contentions of more lurid reporting on Katla over the past few days, the volcano is not about to erupt, and has in fact been fairly quiet last weekend.

Natural hazards expert Sigurdís Björg Jónasdóttir told RÚV that the volcano has been all but silent over the past couple days.

“It’s pretty quiet, and has been quiet over the weekend,” she told listeners of the Morgunútvarp radio show this morning. “Just a few small tremors, the largest of which was a 2.7 [on the Richter scale] on Saturday.”

Nonetheless, the Icelandic Met Office is still maintaining a “code yellow” for the volcano, and tourists were barred from traveling near Katla.

As reported, Katla has been “overdue” for an eruption for some time now. “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.

Related:

Volcano Watch: A Closer Look At Katla

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