Gas Pollution on Eruption Hiking Path Skip to content

Gas Pollution on Eruption Hiking Path

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

People admiring lava flowing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula
Photo: Golli. People admiring lava flowing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula.

People are advised to hold off on hiking to the eruption site in Geldingadalir today due to gas pollution on the marked hiking path. Guðmundur Eyjólfsson with the Suðurnes police force told Vísir that the night was a success although there were two minor injuries due to ice on the hiking path. The Met Office is working on a colour-coded system to inform hikers on whether it’s safe to approach the eruption.

The current wind direction, from the north and north-east, means that the gas pollution from the eruption is blown onto parts of the marked hiking path. The eruption emits dangerous levels of sulphur dioxide and it is not advisable to hike in those conditions, although taking longer hiking routes where you can have the wind in your back is an option. Authorities’ policy is not to close access to the area again but rather provide information and assistance to hikers, who make the trek on their own responsibility.

People are still showing up at the area, “in tens, not hundreds,” stated Guðmundur Eyjólfsson, but both police officers and search-and-rescue volunteers are on location advising people on how to proceed.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, weather conditions for hiking have been fine this morning but will deteriorate quickly around noon. Wind speeds of 13-18 m/s (29-40 mph) and snowstorms are expected.

The route is icy and there are some stretches of the hiking paths where that has caused some problems. Two hikers were brought to hospital with minor injuries after slipping on the ice in the night.

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