From Iceland — Mýrdalsjökull Glacial Melt Warning Issued, Potential For Gas Pollution

Mýrdalsjökull Glacial Melt Warning Issued, Potential For Gas Pollution

Published July 9, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) has issued a warning over conditions at Mýrdalsjökull glacier in southern Iceland. An unexpected amount of water is currently collecting beneath the surface of the glacier and will likely escape in the near future.

Experts issued the warning after recording an increase in the Múlakvísl river’s volume in recent days.  It is believed that geothermal activity is making ice melt in the area, causing water to collect beneath the glacier’s surface and increasing the river’s size. The IMO notes that this is fairly common during summer – last year there were also major glacial leaks in the area.

The IMO fears gas pollution may accompany glacier leakage. It has received numerous reports of sulphurous smells in the area, especially near the glacier’s edge, but it is not currently known how severe the level of pollution is.

Tourists are urged to take special care in the Mýrdalsjökull area whilst conditions persist. Visitors should watch out for depressions in the landscape where gases may accumulate and above all avoid entering glacial caves.

We’d like to take the opportunity to remind tourists that the Meteorological Office website is your best friend when travelling in Iceland. Act like a true Icelander and  check it every time you set foot out of your house – weather here is no joking matter. Seriously, Þór doesn’t mess around.

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