The Múlakvísl (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈmuːlaˌkʰvistl̥]) is a river in the south of Iceland on the western side of Mýrdalssandur.

Landskap pa Sydisland. Utsikt till berget Hjorleifshofdi och havet.jpg
A view of the Múlakvísl, looking towards Hjörleifshöfði in the background and the Atlantic Ocean
RegionSouthern Region
Physical characteristics
 • locationMýrdalsjökull
 • coordinates63°37′50″N 19°53′00″W / 63.6306°N 19.8834°W / 63.6306; -19.8834
 • location
Between Vík í Mýrdal and Mýrdalssandur
 • coordinates
63°24′00″N 18°53′00″W / 63.4°N 18.8834°W / 63.4; -18.8834Coordinates: 63°24′00″N 18°53′00″W / 63.4°N 18.8834°W / 63.4; -18.8834
Basin features
River systemMúlakvísl

Glacier flowEdit

The river has a glacier flow which draws its water from the Mýrdalsjökull, mainly through the glacier tongue Kötlujökull. The river's floods are usually of gray-brown color, since it carries much sediment with it.[1]

At Selfjall, about 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the village Vík í Mýrdal, the Ring Road goes across a bridge over the Múlakvísl.


As increasing water levels of this river are an important indicator of Katla's upcoming volcanic eruptions, it is closely monitored.


A predecessor of the present bridge was demolished in 1955, during a jökulhlaup with 2,500 m³/s of water. A fissure formed on Katla in 1918 in the caldera of the volcano, and a kettle had formed upon the glacier. This showed volcanic activities under the glacier, which in turn initiated the jökulhlaup. However, there was no real outbreak in 1955.[1]

July 2011Edit

On 9 July 2011, another jökulhlaup occurred, which was already anticipated hours and days before because of a series of quakes at up to 10 km (6.2 mi) depth in the Katla region.[2][3] There was a small volcanic eruption under the glacier similar to 1955.[4] A jökulhlaup again destroyed the Ring Road bridge of the Múlakvísl, which was only 20 years old. A water level early warning system prompted the closing of the bridge and surrounding area, and no one was harmed.[5] By 11 July 2011, the tremor under Katla had calmed down again. On 15 July 2011, 1,500 people were transported via the Múlakvísl by means of special vehicles.[6] On 16 July, a temporary bridge was put into operation on the river.[7]

See alsoEdit

List of rivers of Iceland


  1. ^ a b Einarsson, Hg. T.; Magnússon, H. (1989). Íslandshandbókin. Náttúra, saga og sérkenni [Iceland Handbook. Nature, history and characteristics] (in Icelandic). 2. Reykjavík: Örn og Örlygur. p. 709.
  2. ^ "May 2011". Veðurstofa Íslands (in Icelandic). Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Jarðskjálftar 20110704 - 20110710, vika 27". Veðurstofa Íslands (in Icelandic). Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Bulletin Reports - Index". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Gos hugsanlega hafið". (in Icelandic). 9 July 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Brúin yfir Múlakvísl opnuð á morgun". RÚV (in Icelandic). 15 July 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Fylktu liði yfir brú". (in Icelandic). 16 July 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2016.