Tricky ice sheet up north subject to break due to wind and waves

Sea Ice close to Húsavík.

Sea Ice close to Húsavík.

The Icelandic National Volcanology and Natural Hazards Research Laboratory at the University of Iceland published a map of the sea ice front and ice caps in the north of the country. They warn about the danger of walking onto an unsafe ice sheet.

The map is based on interpretation of radar images from a satellite. The western part of the ice sheet was formed early today, the eastern part was formed in the morning.

The ice is settled and does not move much, but the ice from a distance follows the currents and tides. In either case, wind may produce waves that break the ice over a short period of time, so we are careful to avoid walking on it.

The ship Náttfari sailing through the ice sheet in Húsavík.

The ship Náttfari sailing through the ice sheet in Húsavík.

Usually not untrustworthy

Normally, sea ice is not considered unstable, but according to the laboratory, people should be wary of conditions like this.

The laboratory’s Facebook entry states that children in Akureyri, in the first half of the 20th century, were told “to watch out if the wind turned to the eastern side of the valley: then ice, which otherwise seemed solid, would break up quickly and there was a great danger.”


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