Two Farms Vacated and Road Closed Due to Mudslides Skip to content
Mudslide in Eyjafjarðardalur from Hleiðargarðsfjall above Gilsá river
Photo: North-east Iceland Police..

Two Farms Vacated and Road Closed Due to Mudslides

Police have closed part of the road through the Eyjafjarðardalur valley due to repeated mudslides in the wake of a larger mudslide on Oct 6. Two farms and a summerhouse have been vacated due to the danger.

Just before 11 am, Oct 6, a large mudslide occurred in Hleiðargarðsfjall mountain above Gilsá river in Eyjafjarðardalur in North Iceland. It came to a halt not far from the farmhouse at Gilsá II. The mudslide is about 200 m wide, 1700m  long and with a vertical drop of 700 m. According to the Iceland Meteorological office, the cause of the mudslide is not known but is most likely due to unstable surface material aided by precipitation, although rain has not been excessive (20 mm in the last week and just over 70 mm for the past four weeks). Aerial photos indicate that the area where the mudslide originated had been unstable so the precipitation might have been enough to cause the mudslide in the loose surface material. Smaller mudslides have occurred in the area before, and this mudslide is not thought to indicate increased mudslide risk in the area overall.

North-east Iceland Police

Mud is still sliding from Hleiðargarðsfjall mountain above the Gilsá II farm. Mud and rocks have slid past the farmhouse and over the road. Buildings in the area, two farms and a summerhouse were vacated after the first mudslide and will remain empty until the danger has passed. Yesterday, the road was closed as well. Police, as well as experts from the Met Office, continue to assess the situation. While there was still a considerable flow of water through the mudslide yesterday, it had lessened today. The situation will continue to be monitored as the flow of water in the area fluctuates, and the surface material is still unstable.

Before the mudslide, a few M4 earthquakes occurred northeast of Gjögurtá, which were felt in Eyjafjarðardalur. It can’t be ruled out that the earthquakes or the ones in the weeks leading up to the event might have contributed to the mudslides. Mudslides often occur following earthquakes, but usually, that happens after larger quakes and the mudslides usually occur closer to the earthquake’s epicentre. This mudslide is not thought to indicate increased mudslide risk in the area overall.

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