Threat of Flood and Toxic Gases Closes Eruption Site to All

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Eruption

Threat of Flood and Toxic Gases Closes Eruption Site to All

Lava at Holuhraun Eruption

Suddenly the area became too dangerous. Photo: Páll Stefánsson

The Civil Protection Department has decided that the eruption site shall remain closed. The area was closed around 3:15 pm yesterday and the Iceland Review team had to retreat, like everyone else, to a cabin in Drekagil canyon. At 8:20 pm it was decided that the ban will remain in effect.

Earthquake activity has been troubling, with 5.5 magnitude earthquake shaking Bárðarbunga this morning. The pressure in the intrusive dike north of Dyngjujökull, Vatnajökull outlet glacier, is increasing and a 1-km (3,300-feet) wide and deep depression has formed under the glacier. It is feared that a sub-glacial eruption might cause a flood that would sweep away the bridges over glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

The Iceland Review team is already on its way out, now taking the northern route to Reykjavík. The team has been posting on Facebook. One post reads as follows:

Many of you have asked how we felt at the eruption site: How was the smell, the heat, the noise? We'll give you some short answers.

1. The smell was not so bad since most of the time the wind was off in the other direction. But once it turned we found a strong smell of sulfur. Of course we had the gas masks on (see photo).

2. We could get quite close to the lava. When we were about one meter from the lava it was like being next to an oven on a stove. When closer the heat was extremely high.

3. The noise in the craters was like a constant humming in a jet engine. The lava was flowing very slowly and there was a strange noise, some sort of crackle that is difficult to explain.

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