Warning: Gas Pollution by Múlakvísl River

From Múlakvísl river.

From Múlakvísl river. mbl.is/Jónas Erlendsson

Vala Hafstað

Due to gas pollution, caused by a small glacial flood in Múlakvísl – a river in South Iceland which flows from Mýrdalsjökull glacier, on the west side of Mýrdalssandur plain – travelers are advised to avoid stopping by the river, the Icelandic Met Office warns.

High levels of gas pollution accompany the flood, which has not yet peaked, so further increase should be expected. The electrical conductivity of Múlakvísl has increased gradually in the last two days and is now around 270 microS/cm.

Sunrise on Múlakvísl this morning.

Sunrise on Múlakvísl this morning. mbl.is/Jónas Erlendsson

The discharge of the river is high, given the time of year, but lower than at the peak of summer melting. Floods of this size are well-known in Múlakvísl. The Icelandic Met Office has a gas sensor at Láguhvolar, which is about 2 km from the edge of Kötlujökull glacier.

From Múlakvísl, this morning.

From Múlakvísl, this morning. mbl.is/Jónas Erlendsson

The highest gas concentration (H2S) of 20 ppm was measured there yesterday morning – a level that creates a health hazard. For that reason, it is unsafe to stop at the river or its source by the glacier’s edge. If symptoms, such as nasal burning or eye irritation occur, leave the area immediately. The Icelandic Met Office, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, and first responders in the area will follow the situation closely.

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