Mývatn Turns Mysterious White Colour - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Mývatn Turns Mysterious White Colour

Published July 31, 2015

Photos by
Simisa/Wikimedia Commons

Part of Mývatn have turned white, and there does not seem to be a natural cause behind the phenomenon.

RÚV reports that a 150-metre-wide swath of Mývatn’s water near the shore bears the opaque milky colour. First spotted about two days ago, it is not being caused by any known organic substance nor algae, and it is strongly suspected to be chemical contamination.

“It appears to be some kind of chemical pollution, most likely to have been white paint poured in the water,” biologist Dr. Árni Einarsson. “We’ve looked at samples under a microscope, and it isn’t organic in the sense of being bacteria or algae. It’s something else, and in light of the fact that it lies before a developed area, everything points to it being pollution.”

The developed area is Reykjahlíð, the village that was built by Mývatn.

“It could very well be harmless,” he said. “But at a place like this, we have to keep a close eye on it to see if it’s harmful or not.”

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