Two significant earthquakes recently occurred in the north-east part of Katla, one of the largest and the most active volcanoes in Iceland, according to the Icelandic Met Office.
Since mid-June, earthquake activity within the caldera of the ice-covered Katla volcano has increased. This resulted in two earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 in the north-east part of the Katla caldera on 29 August. These earthquakes are the largest Katla has experienced since 1977.
Following the large earthquakes, numerous smaller eqrthquakes followed. “The ensuing swarm produced over 100 earthquakes, the largest of which was magnitude 3.3 on the same day, 29 August”, the Met Office reported.
The meteorological bureau also warns about high electrical conductivity levels in the Múlakvísl River, which drains from the eastern side of the Mýrdalsjökul volcano ice cap. There also have been frequent reports of a sulphur smell close to Múlakvísl.
“Gas measurements near the source of Múlakvísl show unhealthy levels of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), signifying high concentrations of geothermal fluids. Travellers are urged to not spend time close to Múlakvísl, especially the upper reaches of the river”, wrote the Met Office on its website.
However, the increase in seismicity doesn´t mean the imminent volcanic eruption, the scientists said.
"Measurements around Katla are not detecting signs of increased ground deformation or seismic tremor, both of which could be indicators of magma movement," according to reports from CNN.
The office carries out twenty-four-hour monitoring “to issue a timely warning in the event of a volcanic eruption”.
Katla is 1,450 metres (4,757 feet) tall and one of Iceland's most active volcanoes. It erupted 16 times since the year 930 as documented, and the interval since the last eruption in 1918 is unusually long in relation to recent centuries.