A few days ago, on the 16th August, the large geothermal lake ‘Gengissig’ that sits atop the volcanic system of Kverkfjoll in central Iceland, emptied spectacularly producing a small jökulhlaup.
This area has been a major focus for my research over the past few years, using it to address problems ranging from the identification of hydrothermal deposits on Mars to volcanically-driven biogeochemistry. We last sampled this lake, and surrounding sites, in June 2011, with a plan to go back there next summer (2014). This dramatic change to the environment, as well as new access to pristine sedimentary deposits, will allow us to address a whole new set of questions relating to life in volcano – ice environments, and their detection on Mars.
Many thanks to Magnus Karlsson for bringing this story to my attention