Earthquakes in Katla volcano caused by seasonal melting of glaciers

Meteorological Agency of Iceland presented a report on the seismic activity of the Katla volcano, which from the middle of June is above background levels. June 1, 2016 in the area of the peaks recorded more than 100 shallow earthquakes, which is 4 times greater than the monthly average standards compared with previous years. Aftershocks occurred mainly in sets of 20 or more episodes with an interval of from several minutes to several hours. The two largest earthquakes was registered on 26 July, had a magnitude of 3.2.

Katla is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes of Iceland. His volcanic system has a length of about 80 km and partially covered by a layer of ice, in some places reaching a thickness of 700 meters. The giant has been active in the Holocene and has erupted at least 21 times in the last 1100 years. The last eruption broke through the glaciers, occurred in 1918.

Despite the current increase in seismic activity, experts of the Meteorological Agency of Iceland believe that earthquakes do not point to the inevitability of the eruption. In their opinion, growth of number and force of the tremors associated with seasonal melting of the glaciers and drainage of melt water in the ice cauldrons, formed by hydrothermal activity. Similar summer increase in seismicity was observed in 2012 and 2014.

In the area of katla volcano did not find any signs of surface deformation or bursts of volcanic tremor, which may indicate the uplift of magma. Experts continue to carefully monitor the giant, but argue that at the moment there are no signs of impending volcanic activity. However, scientists do not exclude the sudden escalation of the volcano associated with dangerous floods by the melting of the ice.

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