New Glacial Flood Came from Unknown Geothermal Area Skip to content

New Glacial Flood Came from Unknown Geothermal Area

The glacial burst from Köldukvíslarjökull, a part of Vatnajökull in southeast Iceland, on Tuesday night came from a previously unknown high-temperature geothermal area in the glacier’s western part, as discovered when scientists flew over the glacier last night.


From Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull. The photo is not directly related to the story. By Páll Stefánsson.

Pictures that were taken from air during the expedition clearly show that the flood flowed down the channel of the river Svedja, into the lagoon Hágöngulón and from there to the lake Thórisvatn, but not the river Köldukvísl as originally believed, reports.

Earth scientist Helgi Björnsson confirmed that the source of the flood is in a geothermal area scientists have been unaware of until now. A flood has never been recorded from this part of the glacier before.

The water level of Hágöngulón was elevated by 70 centimeters during the height of the flood, as recorded by the sensors of Landsvirkjun, the national power company.

It means that approximately 26 gigaliters of water flowed down the river channel in about eight hours. The flow to Hágöngulón started subsiding in the early afternoon yesterday, as stated on

There are no indications of volcanic eruptions underneath Vatnajökull and the tremors and flood aren’t considered to pose any danger.

Click here to read more about this story.


Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article