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Holuhraun Emitting More SO2 Pollution than All of Europe

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Holuhraun Emitting More SO2 Pollution than All of Europe

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

The pollution in the East Fjords earlier this month. Photo: Zoë Robert.

The sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted from the Holuhraun eruption has reached up to 60,000 tons per day and averaged close to 20,000 tons since it began. For comparison, all the SO2 pollution in Europe, from industries, energy production, traffic and house heating, etc., amounts to 14,000 tons per day.

“It’s clear that no eruption [in Iceland] in the 20th century comes close to this one. We have to go far back to the 19th century, to find eruption as voluminous in gas emissions,” Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, a specialist at the Environmental Agency of Iceland, told visir.is.

Morgunblaðið reported this morning that the scientists at Holuhraun had to evacuate their base at Drekagil in the Askja region, 25 km (15 miles) northwest of the eruption site because of a gas cloud hanging over the area.

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