From Iceland — Seriously, Stay Away From Katla

Seriously, Stay Away From Katla

Published July 10, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photo by
Arnaud de Gramont

Tourists and tour companies are ignoring instructions from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, the police and scientists to steer clear of Mýrdalsjökull and Sólheimajökull which border and cover Katla, reports RÚV.

As reported, although there are no indications of an eruption, the area is considered dangerous. This is not only due to glacial flooding which could cause water levels to rise drastically without warning but also because of hydrogen sulphide pollution which is diffused from floodwater as it drains from the glacier. This gas is poisonous in large quantities and the first symptoms are nausea and irritation in the eyes.

Vísir has reported that the increased danger has stoked interest in visiting Sólheimajökull, despite advice to stay clear of the area.

“No! No, no, no [we’re not afraid], we’re excited,” English tourist Angela Bentley told Vísir near Sólheimajökull yesterday. “It’ll be really good. Should we be afraid?”

Glacial floods can be caused by any number of factors – rising lava, eruptions, steam vents or newly opened hot springs can all cause glacial ice to quickly melt, accumulate under the glacier, and then release. The effects can range from minor flooding to powerful destructive forces.

If you have plans to travel to this area, please consider changing them. Do not take instructions from emergency services and the police lightly.

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