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Extensive Gas Pollution in Iceland, Fewer Quakes in Bárðarbunga

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Extensive Gas Pollution in Iceland, Fewer Quakes in Bárðarbunga

sulfur dioxide pollution from Holuhraun eruption in Fáskrúðsfjörður, East Iceland, September 10, 2014

SO2 pollution in Fáskrúðsfjörður, East Iceland, last week. Photo: Zoë Robert.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas is expected to pollute the air in North Iceland from Strandir to Eyjafjörður, the north-central highlands and East Iceland from Egilsstaðir to Höfn, as forecast by the Icelandic Met Office, valid until midnight tonight.

People who feel discomfort are advised to stay indoors, close their windows, turn up the heat and turn off air conditioning if there is visible haze. Use periods of good air quality to ventilate the house.

If you are outside, breathe through your nose as much as possible. Individuals with respiratory and/or heart diseases are strongly advised to have their medication with them.

Measurements of air quality can be found on the webpage loftgaedi.is. The Icelandic Met Office issues forecast on its webpage and warnings if conditions change to the worse.

Information on the SO2 pollution is now also available in English on the website of the Environment Agency of Iceland (see the tab to the right, Info and FAQ).

While the eruption in Holuhraun north of Vatnajökull continues, fewer and smaller earthquakes were recorded by Bárðarbunga volcano under the icecap yesterday evening and last night.

Ten quakes hit the area since 7 pm yesterday, the largest of which was of 4.5 magnitude and occurred at 9:45 pm, ruv.is reports.

However, earlier in the day, at 2:21 pm, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the northern rim of the Bárðarbunga caldera, which could be felt as far as Akureyri on the northern coast. A subsidence of 20-30 cm (8-11 inches) occurred at the same time; the caldera continues to sink.

The latest status report from the Department of Civil Protection, sent yesterday afternoon, states that GPS monitoring has showed irregularity in the crustal movements over the last few days. This sign could indicate that the magma movement under Bárðarbunga is changing.

Seismic activity remains similar at the northern end of the intrusive dike, leading from Bárðarbunga to Holuhraun, where 35 minor quakes were recorded since midnight.

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