Tags: iceland | volcano | eruption | life-threatening | gases

Volcano Eruption in Iceland Spews Life-Threatening Gases

Volcano Eruption in Iceland Spews Life-Threatening Gases
An aerial view of the lava erupting during volcanic eruption in September 2014, in Bardarbunga, Iceland. (Orvar Atli Porgeirsson/Barcroft Media/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 12 September 2014 10:11 AM

The eruption of the Holuhraun volcano in Iceland is producing dangerous sulfur dioxide gases, forcing researchers at the site to wear masks as hot lava continues to spill out after nearly two weeks.

Gas emissions were life threatening to scientists and other researchers at the volcano site, according to the Wall Street Journal, with the danger heightened by unpredictable winds that created spikes in gas concentrations. Workers had to wear individual gas monitors to test their exposure to sulfur dioxide.

"What we measured today is definitely very high," Sara Barsotti, a volcanologist at the Icelandic Met Office, said on Wednesday. "There's starting to be concern for the health consequences here."

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The Journal said Icelandic authorities began instructing people in the vicinity with respiratory problems and children to stay inside and to keep their windows shut.

"This eruption could last for several weeks or months," Barsotti told the Journal, noting that the northern winds could shift the dangerous gas cloud away from Europe.

The News of Iceland.com reported that while the town of Reyðar­fjörður has been closed, some residents have been sneaking back into the area, putting them at risk. Some have been caught by police and arrested for trespassing.

Víðir Reynis­son, man­ager for the de­part­ment of civil pro­tec­tion told the News that the arrests are critical for the safety of the residents.

"Peo­ple in the town of Reyðar­fjörður ex­pe­ri­enced a great deal of dis­com­fort yes­ter­day be­cause of gases from the erup­tion," said Reynis­son. "The dis­tance from the site of the erup­tion to the town (is) some 80 kilo­me­ters. The gases are much more con­cen­trated around the erup­tion."

"The gases cover the area and are prob­a­bly lethal and sci­en­tists work­ing around the rift have ad­vanced equip­ment to de­tect and pro­tect them from gases. De­spite this, they reg­u­larly have to evac­u­ate the area to avoid the high­est con­cen­tra­tions of gases," he said.

Reynisson told the News that with the constant eruptions of the volcano, the ground is constantly shifting and changing and new rifts are opening up, so the closer one gets to volcano the more unpredictable the stability of the ground it is.

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The eruption of the Holuhraun volcano in Iceland is producing dangerous sulfur dioxide gases, forcing researchers at the site to wear masks as hot lava continues to spill out after nearly two weeks.
iceland, volcano, eruption, life-threatening, gases
398
2014-11-12
Friday, 12 September 2014 10:11 AM
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