Earthquakes under the Eyjafjallajökull and Katla volcanoes: 3rd-16th May 2010

17 05 2010

Over two hundred small earthquakes occurred under the Eyjafjallajökull volcano during the first half of May 2010 according to the Iceland Mat Office. These have come in a series of swarms. Katla seems to have been shaken by only two or three small quakes in the same period. The Eyjafjallajökull quakes have all been relatively small - between Ml 0-3.0 when measured on the local version of the Richter scale. The Katla earthquakes seem to indicate nothing other than normal seismic activity, for now. Although the above graphic is not strictly scientific because the data are preliminary and of variable quality, it shows that the locations of the earthquakes clearly define the main magma conduit rising from over 30km depth to the surface. Earthquake specialists will only assign exact locations to the earthquakes after they have carefully examined all the data and account for the effect of complex geology on the travel times of the seismic waves. This careful analysis has not yet been published. For now these earthquakes indicate that magma is probably moving at great depth along one main vertical feed system, and unless there is some blockage of that pathway, will continue to refresh the magma chamber. The preliminary earthquake data used in this picture were published from 3rd-16th May 2010 on the website of the Iceland Meteorological Office. http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/myrdalsjokull/#view=map

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