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Glaciers in South Iceland

Mýrdalsjökull is the fourth largest glacier in Iceland, covering about 600km2, it’s peak reaches almost 1500 m. The view from the glacier on a clear day is magnificent. Underneath the ice cap, lies the volcano Katla which has erupted on an average every 40-60 years, the last eruption in 1918. Volcano Katla is considered one of the most powerful in the world and her eruptions have usually have rather serious consequences.

The glacier, above the volcanic vent, melts during the eruption and the meltwater rushes from under the glaciers edge carrying huge amounts of ice, rocks and sand down to the lowlands. From Mýrdalsjökull run two large glacial rivers, Jökulsá on Sólheimasandi in the west and Múlakvísl in the east.

Sólheimajökull is a glacier tongue in the south of Mýrdalsjökull. It is considered to be 10-13 km long and 1-2 km wide. From the glacier runs a glacier river which is sometimes called Fúlakvísl (Stinky river) because of the sulfuric smell of the water. The last glacial flood from Sólheimajökull was in the 1999.

Caution must be taken next to the glacier, as sometimes a quicksand forms near the edge.

Eyjafjallajökull is the sixth largest glacier in Iceland with a caldera underneath. The glacier´s eruptions have been rather small but effective like the latest one in 2010. That one started at Fimmvörðuháls on March 20, a very popular mountain pass east of Eyjafjallajökull. On April 14, 2010, a volcanic eruption began under the glacier hood. The ash cloud which followed is known to the citizens of Europe which were stuck at airports all over the continent.

Eyjafjallajökull is one of Iceland's highest peaks, about 1,666 m high. From the glacier two small glaciers crawl to the north towards Þórsmörk. In the last few years, the melting has been fast and one of them, Gígjökull glacier is slowly disappearing.

Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull are closest to each other at Fimmvörðuháls.

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