Acid Rain Caused By Holuhraun Eruption - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Acid Rain Caused By Holuhraun Eruption

Published November 13, 2014

Photos by
Matthew Eisman

Samples of rainwater taken around Iceland have shown that some parts of the country are being showered with acid rain.

Sara Barsotti, a Programme Director of Volcanos at the Icelandic Met Office, told RÚV that about 40% of their rainwater samples have tested as being highly acidic. While these samples were taken from across the country, not all of them showed high levels of acid – some places were more prone to acid rain than others.

Acid rain has been detected in the greater Reykjavík area, near Írafoss in the south, Hítardal in west Iceland, Reykjahlíð in the north, and at Höfn í Hornafirði in the southeast.

Acid rain does not usually harm people directly. Rather, it can gradually damage plants, and poison bodies of water enough to sicken or kill fish. In some case, it has also been known to do damage to exposed metal, such as power lines.

The acid rain is itself a product of the Holuhraun eruption, resulting from sulphur dioxide gas reacting to water in the air, which produces sulphuric acid. No coincidence, then, that those areas with the highest amounts of acid rain have also recently experienced high levels of SO2.

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