Askja lake ice-free mystery deepens

A short update on Askja volcano ice-free lake.

There have been news about the tour of geologist to Askja lake this week in the news. So far the result are puzzling. It turns out that Askja lake is just 1C, but that is normal for this time of year. So why it is ice-free remains a mystery at current time. Data from GPS and seismometers. Samples of the water has been taken also for a analyze and review of weather condition’s is under way. But so far the Askja lake mystery deepens.

News about Askja volcano and new video of Askja volcano. Use Google translate in the hope to understand what is sad.

Ísleysið á Öskjuvatni er ráðgáta (Rú, Pictures, Icelandic)
Loftmyndir af Öskjuvatni (Video of Askja lake, Icelandic)

20 Replies to “Askja lake ice-free mystery deepens”

  1. Ph could have done it. A little more alkaline than normal, temp is normal? How about the winds, were they more southerly than normal. Wind in itself likely wouldnt have done it unless it was just windy as Hell out there for weeks.

    No thermal indications of any kind outta that hole.

  2. I’m sure the Ph values will be most revealing if they publish that data. The direct ineraction of Sulphur Dioxide and water produces Sulphurous acid which, like Battery acid (Sulphuric) is more (but not as) resistant to freezing, but I understand there is no evidence of gases bubbling up – there is a photo of what appears to be ash on the snow to the North side of the lake though. It is a weak dibasic acid which degrades to bisulphites. It produces bleaching effects which should be quite evident if it is present.

    I have noticed that various webcams, like katla, have been significantly greener than I would expect, but then why would the other lake near Askja remain frozen? Iceland appears to be a sleeping giant at the moment with little going on seismically on instrumentation. I suspect that wont last long.

  3. Jón,

    last or two weeks ago you said that the coast guard flew over Oskjuvatn and didn’t found any new hydro-thermal areas, but the existing ones were highly active. It’s a fact, because they measured it. The higher hydro-thermal activity is caused, because of increasing activity in Askja volcano, you said.
    So, I think most of us were satisfied with this explanation.
    Why is this explanation now abandoned?

    1. The hydro-thermal areas that are on the surface are highly activate. That has not changed best to my knowledge. As for the lake, the lack of ice should have resulted in higher temperatures then they are now measuring. This is just what they are currently saying in the news. Before Easters they had not gone to Askja lake to see what was going on. Now they have. That is also a difference.

  4. Just like Henk commented you might have been a bit too quick on that Hydrothermal story here. I am still looking more in the direction of a combination with a lake-turnover, or rather a big amount of gasses, stored in lower layer of the lake, being released suddenly, causing “eruption” of those water layer, causing high turbulence, cracking the ice above.

    Honestly, 1 degrees is still pretty cold. So that lake should be freezing or be frozen already. Nice, those mysteries.

  5. If the video of Askja lake is watched on Rúv web page (second link). It can be noticed that Víti also seems to be ice-free. But that is a lot shallower lake then Askja lake, but Askja lake has the depth of 220 meters or so.

    1. With summer temperatures of 25degrees C or even above it is HIGHLY unlikely VITI would ever freeze over. It is bubling continously, caused by gasses, so the water is very turbulent. Warm turbulent water does never freeze easily.

  6. News in English:

    “They will leave heat and conductivity sensors that will transmit signals until next summer,” Benedikt added. “We’re also collecting data on seismic activity. There are earthquake monitor stations all around which are operated by Cambridge University […]. We have also established three GPS monitors and will leave one when we depart.”

  7. Could be chemicals that are preventing the lake from freezing, such a salts or sulfur-chlorides.

      1. Chemical fumeroles at the bottom of the lake perhaps. Who knows? Guess we have to wait for the scientific results.

  8. Chemicals is a good hypothesis. Why can’t it be that there was a single geothermal event that melted the lake ice but used up all the heat energy in the process? I don’t see how 1C degree water completely rules out geothermal heat.

  9. Askja could have warmed ALL the water to 1 degree, which would not freeze, but as heat rises I dont accept the theory of hot areas lower down as they would manifest themselves at the surface automatically.

    Sulphurated water, (or Sulphurous Acid) has a freezing point below that of water, precisely how much below depends on the concentration.

    If as Sander Lelieveld says, there are constant gases bubbling up through the water, then acid is an explanation but so is water at 1 degree, so I guess that is why they had to send a team of scientists up there to determine the cause, we will have to patiently await the data which hopefully they will publish.

  10. I was looking for one of the original pictures from the lake in the initial posts….I just know i saw discoloration in the water on that picture. Ah found it,r:16,s:42,i:253&tx=88&ty=69

    This is 23rh of march, know you tell me ….if it’s not the temp, then something of the chemical compostion of the water changed and the initial picture does seem to indicate that some thing was in the water and moving. Specifically from right to left, in the middle you see some small pieces of ice, running through the word “lake” , they look an awfull lot like ice calving from a glacier, you can see a second “sheet”about to depart from the right side of the lake. Small note here that the ice there is thinner for some reason and since the sun is pretty low and casts a shadow on the lowside of the picture, that shore should have some ice…instead somehow it seems to be the sunny side that has ice ….don’t understand that one yet

    It’s not (just) wind, trust me , it would leave some tell tale signs …ice sheets building up on 1 side of the shore, and to be honest i have not seen anything like that on any picture or footage. The dutch call it “Krui” ice from the word “kruiend” , roughly translates as creeping ice sheets that because of wind break and pile up ( very damaging on larger scale )

    Wind creates a surface flow of water since the water gives resistence to the air moving along it, since that particular water cannot go anywhere in that lake once it reaches the otherside but, down or to the side ( and even a inch up, depending on windstrength and distance it has) . You can see the wind is in the same direction ( right to left ) since the ice that did break of was going that way.The wind does not have much space on this lake, but it will have an effect on circulation and thus a katalyst for anything that changes in the lake. The color of the water and the shape of them ( like a cloud ) is typical for “stuff” in the water…there not ice, it would look different, so is it just me that notices this ? or am i dead wrong here ?

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