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Minor Glacial Outburst Flood in Skaftá River

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Minor Glacial Outburst Flood in Skaftá River

Skafta river flood Oct 1 2015.

Skaftá river during last year's glacial outburst flood. Photo: Icelandic Met Office.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, there are indications that a minor glacial outburst flood in Skaftá river, South Iceland, has begun. Flow in the river has been on the rise since 4 pm yesterday. The cause is neither melting of ice during the summer nor rain. Therefore, meteorologist assume a glacial outburst flood has started.

The flow by Sveinstindur mountain measured 270 cubic meters per second just before noon, which is slightly more than when the river crested during the melting of ice in the summer. The source of the flood is likely the Western Skaftá caldera, but that is yet to be confirmed. The flood has reached inhabited areas and is accompanied by a strong smell of sulphur. People in the area have reported rising levels of dark-colored water in the river.

The Met Office warns travelers to stay away from the edges of Skaftárjökull and Tungnárjökull glaciers during the flood. The office points out that crevasses develop rapidly around the ice caldera and advises travelers on Vatnajökull glacier to stay away from the area. http://en.vedur.is/about-imo/news/minor-jokulhlaup-in-skafta

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