Fears stirred across Europe as Katla’s October eruption anniversary arrives

October 13, 2011ICELANDA new volcano could pose a threat larger than last year’s air-traffic paralyzing eruption in Iceland, according to experts. Seismologists are nervously watching rumblings beneath a much more powerful Icelandic volcano call Katla, which could spew an ash cloud that will make the 2010 eruption look tame by comparison. Brooding over rugged moss-covered hills on Iceland’s southern edge, Katla is a much bigger beast than the nearby Eyjafjallajokul volcano, which spewed ash all over Europe for several weeks in an eruption that local scientist Pall Einarsson describes nonetheless as ‘small.’ Now, small earthquakes are being detected in the ground around Katla, which means an eruption could be imminent, seismologists say. The earthquakes have been growing in strength. After a long period of magnitude 3 tremors, a magnitude 4 quake was detected last week. It is definitely showing signs of restlessness,’ said Einarsson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland. Teams of seismologists and geologists at the university are tracking the spike in seismic activity and working with disaster officials to prepare communities that could be in the firing line – like Vik, a small town of some 300 people that is flanked by black sand beaches. Civil defense authorities have been holding regular meetings with scientists. Disaster officials have also drafted an evacuation plan and set aside temporary housing although many fear they would have less than an hour to evacuate if the volcano erupts. Iceland sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic’s mid-oceanic ridge. Eruptions, common throughout Iceland’s history, are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earth’s plates move and magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface. The longer pressure builds up, the more catastrophic an eruption can be. Records show that Katla usually has a large eruption twice a century. The volcano is capable of generating a VEI 6 eruption- that’s 100 times more powerful than Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano which erupted in 2010 and brought air-traffic across the northern hemisphere to a virtual standstill. Since its last eruption was almost exactly 93 years ago, it is overdue another, seismologists say. Icelanders are getting nervous as they mark the anniversary of Katla’s last blast. We’ve been getting calls recently from people concerned that Katla is about to erupt because it erupted… in 1918 on October 12,’ said Einar Kjartansson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. As scientists, we don’t see that much of a correlation in the date but there is most definitely increased activity. The question is whether it calms down after this or whether there is an eruption.’ After the Eyjafjallajokul eruption, Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson warned European officials that they should be prepared for future eruptions.Daily Mail
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, High-risk potential hazard zone, Land fissures, cracks, sinkholes, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Fears stirred across Europe as Katla’s October eruption anniversary arrives

  1. Pastorkenny171 says:

    Alvin, do you know where our solar system is in accordance to the galactic plane? I am not talking about some type of galactic alignment but whether we are passing through all of the debris and space dust that makes up the galactic rift. I am having a difficult time finding anyhting from NASA or Space.com on the subject. I think the question gets lumped into the Myan stuff. Thanks and God bless your endeavors.


    • Pastor, thanks for the note. I got your earlier message but hadn’t got around to addressing this. I’ll post this for now and chances are one of our sharp readers will post up an answer if I don’t. Thanks for the inquiry and well-wishes.

      peace and blessings,


  2. frank says:

    Lets pray it dosen’t go VEI 6 if it erupts.


  3. Pastorkenny171 says:

    Thanks! Keep up the great work!!!!


  4. nickk0 says:

    This could be the End of Airline travel to Europe, across the Atlantic…. at least for a while.

    And that would be THE LEAST of our worries.

    – Nick


  5. Ian says:

    We can hope/wish/pray as much as we want, the important aspect is to PREPARE and do so NOW.
    We cannot limit impact the severity of the event, but to an extent we can limit the impact it will have on us. In the case of Katla, the Icelandic President warned us all to prepare in April 2010, so we have had plenty of time to make plans.
    I live in southern England, there was volcanic ash deposited here from the 2010 eruption – this was a shock to everyone.


  6. Lord Chaos says:

    Pastorkenny171, I got curious about your question and tried some Google-Fu, but didn’t come up with much in the way of scientific references other than this one link from 2008, which states that we’re about in the middle of the Galatic Plane. http://www.universetoday.com/14082/comet-strikes-increase-as-we-pass-through-the-galactic-plane/

    “Well, it looks like passing through the middle of the galactic plane might have its own share of risks: an increased number of comets might be hurled towards the Earth because of gravitational interaction with the densest parts of our galaxy.”


  7. luisport says:

    Earthquake swarm in Askja volcano and Katla volcano
    Posted on October 14, 2011 by Jón Frímann
    During the night there was a earthquake swarm in Askja volcano and in Katla volcano. The earthquake swarm in Katla volcano might be ongoing, but it is hard to know that for sure at the moment.

    The earthquake swarm in Askja volcano are signs that volcano is preparing for a eruption period. But it seems like that magma has been starting to collecting in Askja volcano last year (in March of 2010). This progress also seems to be moving along faster then I did expect last year. But the earthquake swarm that took place during night was because if a possible dike intrusion from Askja volcano that got into the crust inside Askja volcano fissure swarm. So far the pressure of the magma is not high enough to start a eruption and I am unsure how long this progress needs to continue before Askja volcano is ready for a eruption. The largest earthquake that happened during the night was ML3.2 according to the automatic calculation of the SIL system that Icelandic Met Office has.

    The earthquake area in Askja volcano. It is outside the main Askja volcano, but inside Askja volcano fissure swarm, the star marks the location of the ML3.2 earthquake (automatic size). Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

    Earthquake activity continues in Katla volcano as before. Most of the earthquakes are as before just small ones. Currently the earthquakes do not appear to be from dike intrusion as happened last week (5 October, 2011) with the earthquakes that where up to ML3.9 in size (checked data). After this large earthquake swarm activity dropped considerably. But it has been picking up again slowly during the week. But earthquake observation has been difficult due to frequent storms during the past two weeks that have been passing over Iceland. This storms have had wind up to 30m/s and wind gusts up to 56m/s (recorded).

    The earthquake swarm in Katla volcano caldera. This area was active this summer when there was a minor eruption in Katla volcano. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

    For the moment it is hard to know what happens next in Katla volcano or in Askja volcano. But it is clear that Askja volcano is preparing for a eruption (along with Kverkfjöll volcano). It is clear that Katla volcano is continuing to prepare for a eruption. But it is impossible to know when and how big that eruption might be. Until a eruption takes place, more dike intrusions with following earthquake swarms should be expected in Katla volcano.

    Note: I am going to write more on El Hierro volcano (Canary Islands, Spain) later today. When I know more on what is going on in that volcano. But information gathering takes a little time when it is in a language that I do not properly understand yet.


  8. yamkin says:

    Magnitude ML 4.3
    Date time 2011-10-14 16:25:56.0 UTC
    Location 68.05 N ; 18.15 W
    Depth 8 km **VERY SHALLOW**
    Distances 467 km N Reykjavík (pop 113,906 ; local time 16:25:56.4 2011-10-14)
    262 km NW Akureyri (pop 16,563 ; local time 16:25:56.4 2011-10-14)
    201 km NW Raufarhöfn (pop 226 ; local time 16:25:56.4 2011-10-14)


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