Updated information on Askja volcano landslide

This is a short update on Askja volcano landslide.

Travel ban is still in effect to Askja volcano. Parts of it are going to be lifted later today or tomorrow, but access to Askja lake is going to remain forbidden at least until Friday, after estimates on risk of new landslides have been performed by Icelandic Meteorological Office and Civil Protection in Iceland (Almannavarnir). Risk of new landslides taking place in this area remains and might remain for many months to come. It is now estimated that 50 to 60 million cubic meters of material did collapse down into Askja lake, but with only part of the material ending up into the lake it self. New estimates on the flood waves that where created now put them around 50 meters high, there was also not one wave that took place, but it is now estimated that four waves took place once the landslide hit the water.

Hiking paths to Askja volcano and Víti have been closed due landslide risk in the area around Askja lake. Please respect this closure since this area is now highly unstable and more landslides might fall without warning.

Update 1: The landslide (or rock slide as IMO calls this) is now estimated to be around 1 km wide. The tsunami waves that followed this landslide in Askja lake are now estimated to have been around 73 meters high (around Hallgrímskirkja church high). The area remains closed and is now regarded as highly unstable. Risk of new landslides in this area remains high at current time. The amount of soil that did just go into Askja lake is estimated to have been around 24 million cubic meters, with the total amount much higher (this is unconfirmed number).

I will post more information as more is known what happened.

Icelandic news of this

„Bráðabani“ að fara niður að vatn­inu (mbl.is)
Víga­leg­ur mökk­ur steig til him­ins (mbl.is, pictures)
Lukka að þetta gerist um miðnætti (Rúv.is)
Svona lítur Askja út í dag – Myndband (Rúv.is, video of Askja today)
Askja – fyrir og eftir berghlaupið (Rúv.is, this are before and after images of Askja)
Berghlaupið í Öskju eitt það stærsta (Rúv.is, new video of Askja area)

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Article updated at 13:55 UTC.
Article updated at 16:01 UTC.
Article updated at 22:16 UTC.
Article updated at 22:18 UTC.

2 Replies to “Updated information on Askja volcano landslide”

  1. It’s little naive to suddenly close the area, as it’s so unstable. YES, it’s unstable but has been for ages. Since, first: Iceland has a living geology (as we all know), and secondly the mountain-slope in this specific case is heavilly cracked.

    I have been on that mountain (can I call it a mountain, please?) summit, those two little peaks that can be seen sticking out above the slide-area, in 2009. I wondered why this did not collapse immediately, the amount of cracks that we observed were crazy. Lovely view that was. 😉

    But I do wonder, has water level in Viti risen now that this Oskjuvatn has risen so much (2 meters, I read). I guess Viti has become deeper as well.

    I sincerely hope this area will open up again, soon, as I do not expect any big collapse to soon follow. Instable ground will, by the “tremor” caused by this slide, have been triggered enough to immediately follow to go down as well.

    VERY exciting stuff, this!

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Nice updates on Icelandic geology. I’d have to agree with the guy up there, Iceland looks like a pretty dynamic rock in the water. Aside from it being mentioned during news of the financial crisis. I have to admit, if volcanic activity gets really dramatic, like what’s shown in this video, it becomes fascinating.

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