High Levels of Gas Pollution over Weekend, Areas of Grindavík Fenced Off Skip to content
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Photo: RÚV. Lava flowing over Grindavíkurvegur.

High Levels of Gas Pollution over Weekend, Areas of Grindavík Fenced Off

Significant levels of gas pollution were detected in Grindavík over the weekend. Parts of town were also closed off over the weekend, and the Blue Lagoon closure has been extended.

Highest levels of SO2 since records began

“Especially on Saturday, there was an unusually high level [of SO2] in Grindavík,” stated Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, an air quality specialist at the Environment Agency, to RÚV. Readings are said to have topped out at 9,000 μg/m, or around 3 parts per million.

Although the highest levels were reached only briefly, the recordings are the highest-ever in an inhabited area since records began.

Such levels are considered by the Environment Agency of Iceland to be “Unhealthy.”

The high levels of SO2 are of course due to Grindavík’s proximity to the latest eruption.

According to RÚV, the Met Office also installed three new gas monitors in and near Grindavík over the weekend.

One is at the harbour, another at Húsafell mountain near the live webcam, and the third at the Blue Lagoon.

Travellers and residents can monitor the air quality in Iceland live here.

Areas of Grindavík fenced off

Additionally, nine dangerous areas in Grindavík were fenced off over the weekend following the results of a geological survey. Vísir reports.

The survey was conducted with ground-penetrating radar, reaching depths of 4 – 4.5 metres [15 feet] in order to search for sinkholes or fissures that prove hazardous.

“We quickly scan with shallow ground-penetrating radar (COBRA) and then use deeper radar in areas where we see indications of cracks or voids,” Hallgrímur Örn Arngrímsson, the project manager for the survey at Verkís, stated to Vísir.

“And what has emerged is that there are nine locations in the western part of town that we need to examine more closely and report those findings to Civil Protection authorities.” Hallgrímur continued.

The engineering firm Verkís is responsible for carrying out the geological survey of Grindavík, but it will ultimately be up to the Grindavík town council to take action, whether that means repairing roads, filling in cracks, or condemning certain parts of town.

As a protective measure, several areas in Grindavík were fenced off to prevent residents and workers from venturing into the dangerous areas.

Blue Lagoon closure extended

Today, March 25, the Blue Lagoon also extended its temporary closure through Wednesday, March 27.

Read more here.

 

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