Markarfljót outwash plain and Öræfajökull

Markarfljót outwash plain and Öræfajökull

This webpage is also available in Icelandic.


The present project belongs to Gosvá, a national collaborative research programme on the assessment of volcanic hazard risks in Iceland led by the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO). The programme's steering committee is composed of representatives from IMO, the Institute of Earth Sciences (IES, University of Iceland), the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, and the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

In the Markarfljót outwash plain, the project can be seen as a continuation of the extensive effort dedicated to the assessment of floods caused by eruptions of Katla (the volcano underlying Mýrdalsjökull) and Eyjafjallajökull performed in the years 2002–2005 (Guðmundsson and Gylfason, 2005). In the Öræfi district, this project is the first attempt to assess together the magnitude and impact of jökulhlaups on the inhabited slopes of Öræfajökull Volcano, situated west and south from the caldera.

Both the magnitude of volcanogenic floods and their impact were investigated in the project. Potential adverse consequences received particular attention, with the present project being the first attempt in Iceland to systematically map flood-damage potential as well as spatio-temporal patterns in population exposure. As regards the magnitude of floods, flood timings and routing, the methodologies set out in previous Katla and Eyjafjallajökull hazard assessments were applied (Guðmundsson and Gylfason, 2005).

The project was funded mainly by the National Avalanche and Landslide Fund, with additional financial contributions from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration and the National Power Company.

Published material

Under the link below, each of the chapters can be downloaded or short summaries read.

Pagneux, E., Gudmundsson, M. T., Karlsdóttir, S., & Roberts, M. J. (Eds.) (2015). Volcanogenic floods in Iceland: An assessment of hazards and risks at Öræfajökull and on the Markarfljót outwash plain. Reykjavík: IMO, IES-UI, NCIP-DCPEM.

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