A newly discovered cave near Mývatn, a lake in North Iceland, has been closed by the Environment Agency of Iceland. The closure comes into effect today, March 14, and will be in effect for two weeks.
The Environment Agency recently received a tip on the discovery when a construction crew was laying the foundations for a new building near Mývatn. When the roof of the cave opened up, it revealed unique and fragile mineral formations associated with the geothermal area.
Experts at the Environment Agency undertook several trips into the cave and determined that, prior to its accidental opening, it was likely filled with hot, geothermal air. These special conditions gave rise to the unique formations that can be seen in the picture above. Some of these formations stretch for several square metres on the floor of the cave.
In light of the unique nature of the cave, the decision was made to close it while further decisions can be reviewed. During this time, further investigative trips into the cave will be permitted to relevant researchers and staff, but it will be closed to the public.
Initial reports indicate that navigating the cave without disturbing the many mineral formations there is difficult.
Currently, efforts are underway to map and digitally scan the cave, while also marking out a footpath that is minimally destructive.