Travellers Advised to Steer Clear of the Múlakvísl River

The Icelandic Meteorological Office advises travellers to keep their distance from the Múlakvísl river, on the western side of Mýrdalssandur in south Iceland due to heavy gas pollution. A small glacial flood is ongoing in Múlakvísl. Heavy gas pollution is accompanying the flood. The flood has not reached its peak and could increase.

The warning was issued following measurements at the Láguhvolar seismic station, indicating that hydrogen sulphide levels were above the level of concern for public health (20 ppm). Travellers who experience symptoms such as nasal burns or eye irritation are advised to leave the area.

Conductivity (indicating the inflow of geothermal water) has risen in the last two days and is now around 260/microS/cm. Increased conductivity and gas pollution are common side effects of glacial floods and a small flood is currently ongoing.

According to Kristín Elísa Guðmundsdottir, natural hazard expert at the Icelandic Met Office, the warning will be in effect until noon tomorrow: “Generally speaking, we advise travellers to keep clear of the area for the time being.”

Floods of this magnitude are common in Múlakvísl. Earlier this summer, experts warned that a larger than usual flood might be imminent but although water levels in the river are high for this time of year, they’re still lower than top summer levels.