The lava from the crater on Fimmvörduháls mountain pass in south Iceland has suddenly changed channels. Now all of the lava flows down the Hvannárgil canyon instead of the Hrunagil canyon. A new 100-meter high lava fall has formed.
The Hrunagil lava fall. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
This change seems to have occurred today in the morning when steam clouds were spotted in Hvannárgil, ruv.is reports.
At the same time the water flow in the Hvanná river, after which the canyon is named, increased. That development caused local authorities and search and rescue services to abort their plans for opening the road into the valley of Thórsmörk.
Hvanná runs into Thórsmörk shortly after the crossroads at Langidalur valley, much more further out than the Hrunaá river of the Hrunagil canyon. Hvannárgil is approximately five kilometers long, so it will take the lava flow a long time to reach Thórsmörk.
Close to 200 people traveled near the eruption zone today. Large rocks almost hit some tourists in the head when they came flying out of Hvannárgil where the lava hit ice and snow and caused steam explosions.
Search and rescue teams had to evacuate the area temporarily. People are asked not to go too close to the lava fall and take every precaution. Search and rescue team members will be on watch in the area throughout the weekend.
Travel association Útivist is offering a guided hiking tour to the source of the eruption on Fimmvörduháls tomorrow. The hike begins at Skógar at 11 am. Five guides will lead the group on the 13-15 hour hike.
Click here to read about risk factors and safety guidelines for traveling near the eruption.