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Glacial Outburst Flood in Gígjukvísl River

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Glacial Outburst Flood in Gígjukvísl River

Grímsfjall

Grímsfjall, seen from the icecap of Grímsvötn. Photo: Þorsteinn Þorsteinsson/Icelandic Met Office/Facebook

A small glacial outburst flood has begun in Gígjukvísl river, originating in Grímsvötn volcano in Vatnajökull glacier, RÚV reports. The icecap over Grímsvötn has, however, subsided only five meters since last weekend and, thus, the flood is not expected to be a large one. Sulfur smell might be noticed in the area, but the flood is not believed to pose any danger.

Hildur María Friðriksdóttir, a volcanologist at the Icelandic Met Office, noted that the flow in Gígjukvísl river has not increased substantially, but is still increasing. I a large flood, the icecap can subside 100 meters, but this time, it only subsided five meters. That indicates the flood will be small.

Grímsvötn volcano is in the western part of Vatnajökull glacier and the most active of Iceland’s volcanoes. The volcano lies under a-few-hundred-meter-thick icecap, making developments under the ice hard to follow. In the middle of the caldera is an ice-covered lake. Ice accumulates there, making the lake’s surface rise.

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