A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again
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Hay May Have Been Poisoned By Smelter

Hay May Have Been Poisoned By Smelter

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Published October 9, 2012

It is possible that a large portion of the hay grown near the Fjarðarál aluminium smelter in Reyðarfjörður will be destroyed as poisonous, due to high levels of fluoride released from the smelter.
Fluoride is an established emission that arises from aluminium smelters, although individual smelters have varying levels of limiting and evaluating how much fluoride is released. The Alcoa plant in Reyðarfjörður, for example, conducts yearly measurements of emissions in the surrounding area. RÚV reports that their latest findings could spell trouble for farmers in the area.
According to the new readings, despite Alcoa’s efforts to keep fluoride emissions under the acceptable limit, a great deal of fluoride was released into the surrounding area last summer. The area at this time of year is plentiful with hay being grown for local farm animals. Fluoride, beyond certain concentrations, can prove toxic to humans and animals alike.
In fact, levels of fluoride that exceed the safe limit have been found in hay grown northwest of the plant, potentially affecting at least three farms in the area; Kollaleira, Áreyjar and Slétta.
Many Icelanders are already familiar with the damage high levels of fluoride can do – it is also a by-product of some volcanic eruptions, found particularly in the ash. Animals who eat ash-tainted grass can become poisoned, and experience deformities of the teeth and bones.
Geir S. Hlöðversson, the managing director of environmental matters at Alcoa, told reporters that the company takes the matter very seriously. It is believed that malfunctioning machinery is the cause for the high levels of emissions last summer, but the error was not noticed until the damage had already been done. However, he said, the company will spare no expense to respond appropriately, and tests will be conducted on the hay at once to determine whether or not it needs to be destroyed.



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Union Official Worried About Tourism Industry Workers

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The managing director of one of Iceland’s largest trade unions says they are “extremely worried” about workers in the tourism industry. “We are extremely worried about [workers within] this field,” Drífa Snædal, the Managing Director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), told Vísir. “If Iceland intends to build up the tourism industry, it will have to really clean house.” Drífa says that unions around the country have had to deal with reports of employees filing grievances, mostly about being paid unfairly. “There are two types of groups within the tourism industry,” she said. “Those who

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Faroese Ship Bids Iceland Adieu

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The beleagured Faroese fishing vessel that ordinary Icelanders assisted despite the cold shoulder from government has bid our fair shores farewell. MBL reports that Næraberg departed from Reykjavík harbour at about 6:00 this morning. At the time of this writing, the ship is about halfway to Greenland, presumably to resume fishing mackerel. As reported, the ship was sailing from Greenland when it encountered engine trouble and radioed Iceland for permission to dock in Reykjavík harbour to conduct repairs. However, citing an obscure law about fishing rights, Icelandic authorities initially only allowed permission for the ship to dock – the crew

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Stormy Weather Is Hurricane Cristobal Petering Out

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The high winds and rain Iceland has been experiencing over the past 36 hours or so are the remains of what was Hurricane Cristobal. Iceland’s mercurial weather caught the attention of science buffs overseas, as Discover Magazine reported late last night that the storm formerly known as Hurrican Cristobal was taking “dead aim” at Iceland. Hurricanes are not common to more northern latitudes. In fact, Cristobal had changed into what is known as a “warm seclusion cyclone” by the time it reached Iceland. This kind of cyclone is characterised by a center of warm, wet air surrounded by cooler air.

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Björk’s Biophilia Film To Premiere In Reykjavík This Week

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Björk’s Biophilia tour went on for almost two years, scoring a huge hit with critics and audiences around the world due to it’s innovative, immersive production. After a long process of trying to fund a definitive concert film of the project, it came right down to the wire, with the final show at London’s cavernous Alexandria Palace becoming the subject of Biophilia Live. BAFTA-award winning editor and filmmaker Nick Fenton, speaking of his experience as co-director, said: “We felt like security guards, in a little booth surrounded by screens and talking to sixteen cameramen and women. You couldn’t feel further

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VIDEO: Holuhraun Best Place For An Eruption

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Holuhraun is the best possible location for an eruption, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson has told RÚV. Although the magma flow from Holuhraun is considerable and steady, Magnús Tumi does not feel it qualifies as a large eruption. New data indicates that approximately 250 cubic metres of magma is spewing out of the fissure each second. According to Magnús Tumi, the current Holuhraun eruption is completely different to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010. Given that the Holuhraun eruption is entirely above ground and a mainly basalt eruption it is producing no disruptive ash. The Eyjafjalljökull eruption on the other hand was

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Holuhraun Still Going Strong, Could Last All Year

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The Holuhraun eruption, which began again yesterday with magma plumes as high as 60 metres, is going strong and might see out the year, reports RÚV. “The eruption is comparable to the one we saw from Krafla [in 1975],” said volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. “At first there was just a tiny eruption then the eruptions got gradually larger as time passed. It’s possible that this event will last until the end of the year, possibly into some of next year as well.” Seismic activity continues at Vatnajökull though none topped 4.9 on the Richter scale yesterday, presumably because the eruption has alleviated some

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