Askja Lake to Remain No-Go Zone

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Askja Lake to Remain No-Go Zone

Askja rockfall

Askja following the rockfall. Photo: Claus Sterneck.

Earth scientist Ármann Höskuldsson advises people against walking down to Öskjuvatn, the lake in the crater of Askja volcano, where a massive rockfall caused high tidal waves early last week. He wants the lake, a popular travel destination in the northeastern highlands, to remain off limits throughout the summer.

The lake is currently a no-go zone but the situation will be reviewed again at the end of this week. Ármann reasoned that it only takes one minute for a tidal wave to hit and should one be set off, it would be too late for people at the lakeside to escape, ruv.is reports.

Representatives of the Icelandic Met Office, the University of Iceland Institute for Earth Science and the Civil Protection Department met this morning to discuss the situation at Askja.

They decided to continue research in the area, such as studying the lake floor, measuring the rockfall’s temperature and registering all cracks in the mountain to make sure they haven’t moved and possibly set off further rockfalls.

As reported, a roughly one-kilometer (0.6-mile) wide piece of land fell from a mountain near Askja last week. Several 50-meter (164-feet) tidal waves crashed on the rocks around the lake in Askja during the night. According to estimates, 50 to 60 million cubic meters (1,766-2,118 cubic feet) of land fell down the mountain.

The event occurred around midnight on Tuesday, meaning that there was no one down by the lake, a popular tourist destination, at the time.

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