Olympian in “Race Against Time” Even Before Race Day

Icelandic skier Sturla Snær Snorrason is in the midst of a nail-biting race—but not the kind he was hoping to take part in during the Winter 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China. Vísir reports that Olympian was just released from isolation after having been diagnosed with COVID last Saturday. This means that Sturla Snær can begin training again but will not be able to actually compete unless he receives a negative PCR test result prior to his events, one of which is this weekend.

See Also: Five Icelanders Compete in 2022 Winter Olympics

Sturla, who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, was one of Iceland’s flagbearers during the opening ceremonies last Friday, along with cross-country skier Kristrún Guðnadóttir. Following the ceremony, he began to experience COVID symptoms and was taken to a hospital in Beijing and put in isolation.

After a few days, Sturla began to feel better, but he also began to get bored. “There was no coffee or anything like that,” he remarked in an interview. “It wasn’t possible to go on any social media that we use at home. […] There wasn’t even a table and chair to sit at. You had to eat in bed and lie there all day. Not much in the way of entertainment, so I had to make my own.” To while away the time, therefore, Sturla decided to create a website for the road-marking company he runs with his father.

As of Friday, Sturla was still in quarantine and still testing positive for COVID. If all goes well, however, he will compete in Men’s Giant Slalom late Sunday night/early Monday morning (GMT/Iceland time) this weekend and Men’s Slalom in the early hours of February 16.

 

Magma Intrusions Could Cause Serious Infrastructural Damage in Capital Area

Dike intrusions on the Reykjanes peninsula could potentially damage important infrastructure, both on the peninsula and in the capital area, RÚV reports. This per a Morgunblaðið interview with geoscientist Páll Einarson, who explained that regardless of whether they lead to a volcanic eruption or not, such intrusions could impact the geothermal systems that feed water and heating utilities, as well as geothermal power plants.

A dike (also spelled dyke) is a kind of igneous, or magma intrusion, a “vertical or steeply-dipping sheets of igneous rock” that forms “as magma pushes up towards the surface through cracks in the rock.”

A dike forced its way through a fine-grained, layered volcanic rock that was eroded by wind, snow and rain at the eastern part of Dyngjufjöll in Iceland. Image by Eva P. S. Eibl, CC.

Páll told interviewers that there have been magma intrusions in three or four places on Reykjanes that haven’t caused any serious problems, but one in the wrong place could do permanent infrastructural damage. Currently, there’s no sign that such an event is imminent but Páll explained the recent eruption of Fagradalsfjall in Geldingadalur valley is part of a complex chain of events on the peninsula.

See Also: Odds of Eruption Decrease As New Data Suggests that Magma is Solidifying Underground

A variety of scenarios are possible in the future, Páll continued, including volcanic activity on land or at sea, or intrusion activity around the Krýsuvík and Svartsengi geothermal areas, the Heiðmörk conservation area on the outskirts of Reykjavík, or the Bláfjöll mountains.

Páll noted that eruptions on Reykjanes tend to be small to medium fissure eruptions, and added that the capital may yet experience intense earthquakes as part of this ongoing activity on the peninsula, but there’s no way to say when these might occur.