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Skeidará Sandur from Skaftafell

Skeiðará (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈsceiːðarˌauː]) is a relatively short glacier river (about 30 km long).[1][2] It has its source on the glacier Skeiðarárjökull, one of the southern arms of the Vatnajökull in the south of Iceland.

In spite of its short length, this river has a bad reputation. It is especially feared because of the frequent glacier runs that can be fatal.

In front of Skaftafell and Skeiðarárjökull, Skeiðará has formed the Skeiðarársandur, a black plain of lava sand and ashes crossed by a lot of small rivulets which covers the whole area between the park and the sea (about 40 km long and 5 to 10 km wide). In 1996, the latest of these glacier runs took place.[3] It destroyed parts of Route 1 (the Ring Road). The 880-metre-long (2,890 ft) bridge was damaged by floating ice boulders the size of houses. At the peak of this glacier run, 45,000 m3/s of water were coming down. No one was harmed, scientists having very carefully monitored the volcano Grímsvötn on Vatnajökull which caused the glacier run by its eruption.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Björnsson, Helgi (2016-10-04). The Glaciers of Iceland: A Historical, Cultural and Scientific Overview. Springer. pp. 391–409. ISBN 978-94-6239-207-6.
  2. ^ Ministers, Nordic Council of (February 2012). Climate Change and Energy Systems. Nordic Council of Ministers. p. 92. ISBN 978-92-893-2190-7.
  3. ^ Snorrason, Arni; Finnsdóttir, Helga P.; Moss, Marshall E. (2002). The Extremes of the Extremes: Extraordinary Floods. International Association of Hydrological Sciences. pp. 243–246. ISBN 978-1-901502-66-4.

Coordinates: 63°47′N 16°56′W / 63.783°N 16.933°W / 63.783; -16.933