New Cracks Found in Iceland’s Highlands

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New Cracks Found in Iceland’s Highlands

New crevasses were located on the Sprengisandur sand plain in the central highlands this summer, which are believed to have formed in the spring.

Sprengisandur. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Geophysicist Páll Einarsson believes that the crevasses are belated repercussions of the volcanic eruption in Gjálp below Vatnajökull glacier in 1996, ruv.is reports.

The crevasses are located a stone’s throw away from the road between the Gaesavötn lakes and Nýidalur valley.

As gravel reaches the edges of some of the crevasses, it is likely that they formed in spring or summer this year but the oldest crevasses might be a few years old.

The crevasses were found by Einarsson and his Master’s student Thórhildur Björnsdóttir when they were on an expedition this summer with ranger Páll Njálsson to examine the crevasse system of Tungnafellsjökull glacier in relation to Björnsdóttir’s final project.

Einarsson said it was surprising in how many locations there were indications of the crevasses having moved recently, in the past few years. There were clear indications of substances flowing into the crevasses during or after spring thaw, he stated.

The geophysicist did not believe these changes are an indication of a future eruption but rather belated repercussions of the eruption in 1996.