Poison Gas Cloud Heading Northeast - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Poison Gas Cloud Heading Northeast

Published September 22, 2014

Photo by
Axel Sigurðarson

The Icelandic Met Office predicts sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas from the Holuhraun eruption will move north and east over the next 24 hours.

As can be seen, the Met Office has two maps for predicted areas where significant levels of SO2 will be present. Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður are expected to be hit the hardest by the gas, which continues to pour out of the Holuhraun eruption site.

However, levels of SO2 will vary from region to region, and even from hour to hour. A more detailed map allows one to see the forecast movement of SO2 concentrations through Tuesday. Simply move the slider under the map through “Þriðjudagur” (Tuesday) to see where the SO2 is predicted to be for different hours of the day. Concentrations are colour-coded as well, from “Lítið” (Little), to “Talsvert” (Considerable) and “Mikið” (A great deal).

While the forecast shows mostly small amounts of SO2 passing through populated areas, the gas is still nothing to be trifled with. Even small amounts can cause burning and itching eyes, as well as respiratory problems. Dead birds have been found in the restricted area, closer to the source of the eruption, and are believed to be the victims of SO2 poisoning.

Before travelling, be sure to check the detailed map to see that SO2 levels for the dates and times of your destinations are safe. If you happen upon an area closed off to the general public, turn back at once. Crossing into a restricted volcanic area, in addition to the heavy fines one can incur, could be very damaging for your health, or even fatal.

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