Katla Update: 6 Eartquakes In The Last 24 hours

At 7:03 this morning the first powerful earthquake shook the ground at the Katla volcano in Iceland. Just 10 seconds later a second, but smaller, earthquake, occurred. So far there has been 6 earthquakes within the last 24 hours.

“It is interesting to note the buildup of earthquakes on the East-Northeast rim area.”

Modern Survival Blog


The activity in the area around the Katla volcano in Iceland seem to be increasing. In the last 24 hours there’s been a total of 6 earthquakes, that might be a sign of a giant eruption underway.

The Modern Survival Blog reports:

Friday, 11-June-2010, 07:03 this morning, an earthquake shook at the Katla volcano in Iceland.

10 seconds later, a slightly larger magnitude earthquake struck.

10 minutes later another earthquake trembled followed by yet a fourth earthquake hours later.

As I was writing this, a fifth earthquake just popped off!

Update: Now a sixth earthquake has gone off – this one though, way over on the western edge of the glacier area – lots of excitement today…

Increasing frequency?

The Modern Survival Blog have been monitoring the earthquakes at Katla since mid May.

These six earthquakes are the most in one day so far.

There is no evidence of swarming at this time – but it could definitively be the beginning of a swarm.

Anyway, it is interesting to note today’s rapid occurrence of earthquakes.

Katla, that historically erupts following the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull  – which first erupted April 14th –  is about 10 times more powerful, and has the potential to cause worldwide disruption.

An increasing frequency in the earthquake activity might very well be an indication than the eruption of Katla is near.

But time will tell.

Number of earthquakes up 151% this year

“The number of magnitude 5.0 to 6.9 worldwide earthquakes are showing a significant increase so far this year during 2010, and are up 151 percent compared with the same range and time span of earthquakes since the year 1900, as of this independent analysis, 25-May-2010,” The Modern Survival Blog writes.

The number of magnitude 7.0 to 8.9 worldwide earthquakes appear to be on track, or slightly increased from historical averages.

Magnitude 4.9 or less is analyzed, partly because they generally cause little or no damage.

“One could make a logical argument that earthquake detection technologies of the early 1900’s were not what they were decades later, and certainly not as advanced as today, therefore skewing the numbers. That is a valid argument. This would be particularly true when it comes to detecting and recording relatively small earthquakes which require higher sensitivity through more advanced technology.”

This is partly why this survey not compare earthquakes below magnitude 5.0. Earthquakes above this level were fairly easy to detect, even a century ago.

The data used in this analysis has been collected from the USGS (United States Geological Survey) going back to to the year 1900.

This report have averaged the number of earthquakes since 1900 in each magnitude range, and have also averaged the same data over the last 10 years. It is then compared this with the data of current earthquake statistics so far in 2010.

* Earthquakes of magnitude 5 – 5.9 have increased by 139 percent compared with same range of earthquakes over the last 10 years.

* Earthquakes of magnitude 5 – 5.9 have increased by 163 percent compared with same range of earthquakes since the year 1900.

* Earthquakes of magnitude 6 – 6.9 have increased by 130 percent compared with same range of earthquakes over the last 10 years.

* Earthquakes of magnitude 6 – 6.9 have increased by 140 percent compared with same range of earthquakes since the year 1900.

However, scientist are not able to conclude with certainty if the earthquake frequency is, in fact, increasing or not, because there’s not enough historical data.

A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

“From our human perspective with our relatively short and incomplete memories and better and better communications around the world, we hear about more earthquakes and it seems like they are more frequent,” J. Ramón Arrowsmith, a geologist at Arizona State University, says.

“But this is probably not any indication of a global change in earthquake rate of significance,” he adds.

“Coupled with better communication, as the human population skyrocket and we move into more hazardous regions, we’re going to hear more about the events that do occur,” Arrowsmith assumes.

However, Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science & Technology, says:

“Relative to the 20-year period from the mid 1970′s to the mid 1990′s, the Earth has been more active over the past 15 or so years.”

“We still do not know the reason for this yet. It could simply be the natural temporal variation of the stress field in the earth’s lithosphere.”

h/t Birgitta Höglund

Related by the Econotwist:

Katla Update: 2 Earthquakes In 3 Hour

Katla Now Rumbling – Ready To Blow?

Volcano Ash Can Send The Earth Into “Deep Freeze”

More Mysterious “Monster Fish” Comes To Surface

Earthquake May Have Shortened Days on Earth

Mother Earth On Crack

Stunning Volcano Pictures

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