On the road with the PODAS outfit on our way to Vatnajökull, we drove across this desolate stretch of road crossing the Skeiđarársandur. A stark contrast from the grass covered slopes a few kilometers to the west and east of the sandur.
The Skeiđarársandur is a floodplain south of the Skeiđarárjökull, a branch of the Vantnajökull complex, and eruptions from the subglacial volcano Grimsvötn often causes a jökulhlaup, or a glacial flood. The lavaflow will melt the ice over and around the volcano, and at some point the water will force its way under the ice and gush out under the glacier front. Water and huge chunks of ice will sweep away anything in it way like for example bridges and power lines. There was an eruption at Grímsvötn in May 2010, preceded by a jökulhlaup in the autumn 2009 which took out a couple of bridges. The last big jökulhlaup happened in 1996.