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Eruption Could Continue Until Summer, Concerns about Pollution

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Eruption Could Continue Until Summer, Concerns about Pollution

Holuhraun eruption by night, December 8, 2014

Holuhraun. Photo: Ragnar Axelsson (RAX).

The eruption in Holuhraun could continue until at least the beginning of this summer, possibly another year, according to Andri Stefánsson, professor in geochemistry at the University of Iceland. Andri spoke at a community meeting in Reyðarfjörður, East Iceland, on Wednesday, austurfrett.is reports.

Andri said that scientists are concerned about the accumulation of pollution in snow in the eruption area and its impact on humans, as well as animal and plant life. When the snow melts in the spring, the pollution will be released into the surrounding environment. According to Andri, the conversion of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into acid rain is now being more closely monitored.

Material from the eruption is being picked up at 22 monitoring stations around the country each day, Andri said, and 40 percent of rainwater in Iceland is polluted by gases emitted from the eruption, both SO2 and fluorine.

The pollution could have a significant impact on the environment, vegetation and biosphere in general. In the Nordic countries, for example, acid rain has sometimes led to the death of fish. Mice in Iceland are suspected to have died as a result of the pollution.

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