A glacial outburst flood has begun in Skaftá river, South Iceland, according to the Facebook page of the Icelandic Met Office. The ice cover over the Eastern Skaftá Cauldron subsided last night and continues to do so at an increased rate. Glacial outburst floods from the Easter Cauldron are generally larger and occur more rarely than those from the Western Cauldron. Such a flood last took place in June, 2010.
Glacial outburst flood, Skaftá river, 2010. Photo: Jórunn Harðardóttir.
Update from mbl.is: The flood is still under the glacier and hasn’t surfaced yet. The flow of water is expected to reach 1.300 to1,400 cubic meters per second when it reaches the first observation station of the Icelandic Met Office.
Meetings are underway at the Met Office, where the situation is being assessed. An announcement is expected later today from the Met Office and from the Civil Protection in Iceland.
A glacial outburst flood has never before been detected at such an early stage. What makes it possible is a GPS device located on the ice sheet.
Snorri Zóphóníasson, geologist at the Met Office, reports that we can expect the flood to peak by the Ring Road within 48 hours.