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KATLA Quake Swarms Are Raising Concerns

June 25, 2012, by Ken Jorgustin

Katla, a very dangerous volcano (especially for Europe) located on the south of Iceland, is showing active signs of unrest as increased seismic activity has been detected in the volcano caldera. Dozens of minor earthquakes have been picked up by sensors in groups of swarms.

For the past several weeks, earthquakes have been regularly shaking Katla’s caldera. Katla has a history of intermittent quake swarms, but the latest have apparently occurred with ice melt, which is raising concerns for residents.

katla-june-24-quakes

The quakes could be the result of ice movement (Katla is underneath a glacier) and the official word is “…there is no reason to be concerned about an imminent volcanic eruption or glacial outburst in Katla. The earthquakes were all shallow and originated in seismic activity in the geothermal system.”

However others are not so sure… From jonfr.com, “No harmonic tremor did take place during this earthquake swarm. However, harmonic tremor data from IMO suggests a lot of hydro-thermal activity under Mýrdalsjökull glacier;” “It is hard to know for sure what happens next in Katla volcano. But I am sure this activity is currently taking place is going to continue.”

katla-quakes-june-2012

During April of 2010, a volcano in Iceland named “Eyjafjallajokull” erupted and shut down air traffic across much of Europe for weeks. Katla, which has historically erupted within 1.5 years of its neighbor “Eyjafjallajokull”, has the potential to erupt TEN TIMES the magnitude of what was witnessed during April-2010, and is overdue. The last time Katla erupted ‘big’ was back in 1918.

Given the dire present economic condition of the Eurozone, a Katla eruption and subsequent economic fallout would be devastating to the region. It could prove to be the Black Swan event that occasionally pops unexpectedly out of nowhere.

 

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