An enormous landslide on Fagraskógarfjall mountain in Hítardalur in West Iceland took place early on Saturday morning, flooding a well-known salmon fishing river with mud and rock and almost completely changing the face of the landscape RÚV reports. The landslide is thought to be the largest that has ever occurred in Iceland.
Experts say that the uncommonly wet summer weather is to blame for the event. “This is a direct consequence of all this rain,” remarked geologist Finnbogi Rögnvaldsson who was called to the site yesterday. Police and Icelandic Search and Rescue were also on the scene, which has been closed off for obvious safety reasons.
Local farmer Erla Dögg Ármannsdóttir told RÚV that the landslide has formed a sort of dam across the Hítará river. “The dam is a few dozen meters high—I’m not exactly sure—and several hundred meters long and it’s completely blocking the Hítará, which is a serious issue.” She explained to Vísir that the blockage has caused a lagoon to form on one side of the dammed river “which is rising with every hour.” As of time of writing, it was unclear what direction the water would go once it became higher than the landslide, but it is clear that this event will redirect the path of the river entirely and have a big impact on the salmon that live in it.
See a video of the landslide taken by a drone here.