The closures of the area around the new lava in Holuhraun in the northeastern highlands have been lifted. The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police’s Department of Civil Protection has downgraded the alert status from danger to uncertainty, which means that the area will no longer be patrolled, although it will continue to be under surveillance.
The decision was made in accordance with the Icelandic Met Office’s risk evaluation and in consultation with the Northeast Iceland Chief of Police, as explained in a statement released yesterday.
GPS monitoring shows that seismic activity in Bárðarbunga volcano, which lies under Vatnajökull glacier, has decreased considerably.
However, heightened geothermal activity in Bárðarbunga can lead to the accumulation of melt water and minor flooding in glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
Recent measurements show that gas pollution at and around Holuhraun is mostly below the danger limit.
Holuhraun lies within the borders of Vatnajökull National Park and the plan is for marked walking paths leading to the new lava to open this summer. Further information can be obtained at the park’s information centers.
The eruption in Holuhraun, which was fed by Bárðarbunga through an underground channel, lasted six months, from August 31, 2014, to February 27, 2015.
The new lava covers an area of 85 square km (33 square miles).