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Katla volcano

Updated: Jun 1, 2023 18:10 GMT -
subglacial volcano 1512 m / 4,961 ft
Southern Iceland, 63.63°N / -19.06°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)
Last update: 10 May 2023 (Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report)

Katla volcano, located near the southern end of Iceland's eastern volcanic zone, is hidden beneath the Myrdalsjökull icecap. Katla is one of Iceland's most active and most dangerous volcanoes, infamous for its large eruptions happening on average every 50-100 year, causing devastating glacial floods (jökullhlaups).
In recent year, increased seismicity and inflation of Katla has been being measured. Katla, statistically due for a new eruption, is being very closely monitored and an eruption in a not too distant future would not come as a big surprise.

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Typical eruption style: Explosive basaltic and dacitic eruptions, voluminous lava flows
Katla volcano eruptions: 920 AD, 950 AD (?), 1150, 1177, 1245, 1262, 1311, 1357, 1416, 1440, 1450, 1500, 1580, 1612, 1625, 1660-61, 1721, 1755-56, 1823, 1860, 1918, 1955(?), 1999(?), 1918

Latest nearby earthquakes

TimeMag. / DepthDistance/Location
Thursday, June 1, 2023 GMT (1 quake)
Jun 1, 2023 1:05 pm (GMT +0) (Jun 1, 2023 13:05 GMT)

0.1 km
2.2 km (1.4 mi)
Iceland: 7.8 Km N of Hábunga
Tuesday, May 30, 2023 GMT (1 quake)
May 30, 2023 9:34 am (GMT +0) (May 30, 2023 09:34 GMT)

0.1 km
6.7 km (4.2 mi)
Iceland: 3.8 Km ENE of Goðabunga
Thursday, May 25, 2023 GMT (2 quakes)
May 25, 2023 2:24 pm (GMT +0) (May 25, 2023 14:24 GMT)

0.1 km
6.1 km (3.8 mi)
Iceland: 3.5 Km E of Goðabunga
May 25, 2023 2:23 pm (GMT +0) (May 25, 2023 14:23 GMT)

0.1 km
7 km (4.3 mi)
Iceland: 4.4 Km SE of Goðabunga
Wednesday, May 24, 2023 GMT (1 quake)
May 24, 2023 2:22 pm (GMT +0) (May 24, 2023 14:22 GMT)

0.1 km
5.4 km (3.4 mi)
Iceland: 4.5 Km E of Goðabunga


The subglacial dominantly basaltic volcano is one of Iceland's most active and is a frequent producer of damaging jökulhlaups, or glacier-outburst floods. A large 9 x 14 km subglacial caldera with a long axis in a NW-SE direction is up to 750 m deep. Its high point reaches 1380 m, and three major outlet glaciers have breached its rim.

Although most historical eruptions have taken place from fissures inside the caldera, the Eldgjá fissure system, which extends about 60 km to the NE from the current ice margin towards Grímsvötn volcano, has been the source of major Holocene eruptions. An eruption from the Eldgjá fissure system about 934 AD produced a voluminous lava flow of about 18 cu km, one of the world's largest known Holocene lava flows. Katla has been the source of frequent subglacial basaltic explosive eruptions that have been among the largest tephra-producers in Iceland during historical time and has produced dacitic explosive eruptions during the Holocene.

Source: GVP, Smithsonian Institute

See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8 | NASA FIRMS
Location of Katla volcano and other volcanoes on Iceland
Location of Katla volcano and other volcanoes on Iceland
Wed, 10 May 2023, 14:00

Katla volcano (Iceland) - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 3 May-9 May 2023 (New Activity / Unrest)

Iceland Met Office (IMO) reported that an intense seismic swarm began at Katla at 0941 on 4 May with three earthquakes larger than M 4 occurring beneath the caldera within about 10 minutes. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-color scale. According to a news article the three largest events were magnitudes 4.8, 4.7, and 4.5, adjusted from previous estimates of 4.5, 4.3, and 4.2. ... Read all
Sun, 7 May 2023, 02:55

Katla volcano (Iceland): seismic swarm slowed down, alert status lowered to Green

Katla volcano is back to Green level (image: IMO)
The ongoing earthquake swarm, starting about a week ago, seems to have waned. ... Read all
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