Unusual seismic activity detected at Iceland's Hekla volcano

Hekla, pictured today.
The National Commissioner, and the chief of the police at Hvolsvollur town, in South Iceland, have declared a Civil Protection State of Uncertainty because of seismic activity in the volcano Hekla. 
The Icelandic Meteorology Office has informed the Civil Protection division of the National Commissioner about this activity. The Icelandic Met Office has also raised the alert level for air traffic around Hekla to yellow, which means that the volcano shows unusual activity.

The State of Uncertainty means that surveillance is increased and precautionary measures are taken. Declaring a State of Uncertainty is standard procedure to insure official communications and flow of information. It is also issued to put emergency teams on stand by. This step is the first of three steps, and only considered to be a warning.

The chief of police at Hvolsvollur town warns people about traveling around the area while the warning is still in place.

Mr. Martin Hensch, earthquake expert at the Icelandic Met Office said: "Hekla volcano erupted last time without any warning". For the past two weeks seismic activity has been taking place in the volcano, at around 11km depth.  There have been around seven earthquakes, all below one on Richter, says Martin. He added "This is quite unusual activity in the volcano".

No magma movements have been noticed yet according to Martin, but there might be some pressure building up. "We are not very worried that an eruption is going to take place, but predicting an eruption in Hekla volcano is nearly impossible. The last time the volcano erupted we only knew it one hour in advance." he said.

Hekla volcano erupted last on February 26th in 2000, that was a short but powerful eruption. It lasted for 12 days, and the ash cloud was 15km long. Over 20 eruptions have occurred in and around the volcano since 874. During the Middle Ages, Europeans called the volcano the "Gateway to Hell."

When Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, tours were operated to see the eruption.

A webcam showing Hekla volcano can be found HERE.
Live tremor updates from Iceland HERE.

Sources - News of Iceland - Vedur  - Jonfr.com