Landsat View of a Disappearing Glacier in Iceland

  • Released Wednesday, August 14, 2019
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The total loss of a small glacier atop a volcanic peak in west, central Iceland in 2014 led to the creation of this imagery series showing ice area changes during the past ~46 years. The loss of Okjökull (Ok Glacier) was announced by Oddur Sigurðsson in 2014 based on his many years observing the island’s glaciers and ice caps for the Icelandic Meteorological Office. On 18 August 2019, a memorial will be placed on top of the area where Okjökull’s ice once flowed.

In the Landsat images here, you can see not only the disappearance of Okjökull but ice area losses to the other small ice caps nearby and also the retreat of larger glaciers flowing from the main ice cap in the area, Langjökull. The impact of ash deposition from eruptions two of Iceland’s many volcanoes is also evident (Hekla, February 2000 and Eyjafjallajökull, in April 2010). The highest point in the area is on the north side of Langjökull and is about 1,450 m (4,760 ft) above sea level.

Location names from:

Geographic Names of Iceland’s Glaciers: Historic and Modern

By Oddur Sigurðsson and Richard S. Williams, Jr.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, August 14, 2019.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:42 AM EST.