Between 2,000 and 3,000 truckloads of sulfur dioxide (SO2) are being emitted daily from the eruption in Holuhraun in the northeastern highlands, according to Jónas Elíasson, seismic engineer at the University of Iceland.
Jónas has been monitoring the gases from the eruption, the information which is used to prepare gas dispersion forecasts at Belgingur. He told RÚV this morning that around 450 kg of SO2 are being emitted each second, or 40,000 to 60,000 tons per day. This is the equivalent of 2,000 to 3,000 truckloads.
Jónas said that calm winter weather could mean that the pollution accumulates in a huge cloud, 30 to 60 km (18-37 miles) in diameter. When the wind starts to blow again, the gases could drift into populated areas. “This is one of the things we need to look at and people need to keep in mind that this is a possibility. I’m not saying that it is likely, fortunately it is rather unlikely with this weather we have here which is wet and cold at this time of year.