A bit over a yr in the past, I went on a trip to Iceland that’s among the many most awe-inspiring adventures of my total life. It’s not day-after-day you get to see a volcano erupt—up shut—and are available away unscathed. Oh, and climb a glacier and examine icebergs on a glittering seashore just a few days later. My four-day tour with Hidden Iceland information Ryan Connolly not solely left me (very) humbled by nature, but in addition gave me a better appreciation of Iceland—its various topography, its spirited folks, and the way rapidly the Earth can change, actually ripping aside and placing itself again collectively earlier than our eyes.

When one other volcano began erupting in Iceland final week, Ryan checked in with the most recent particulars. Briefly: Sure, you possibly can go to and examine the lava, however the hike is steep and the whole lot might change subsequent week.

LDR: Is that this the identical eruption site as in 2021? If not, how far is it from there?

RC: This new eruption, beginning on August 3, 2022, is coming from the identical normal web site because the Geldingadalur volcanic eruption, also called Fagradalsfjall [which erupted March–September 2021]. Nonetheless, the massive distinction is that the lava is flowing from a brand new 300-meter fissure that opened up on the northeast facet of the unique craters in a valley known as Meradalur. New craters are forming already and the circulation of lava is sort of large. This means that the lava/magma is from the identical magma chamber however is solely being launched from a special spot.

The enchanting factor about this new fissure is that to get to it, you successfully have to observe alongside the perimeters of the cooled lava area from the 2021 eruption, passing the 2 principal craters that had been created final yr.


Up shut, and fortunately, not private: Standing close to an lively lava area in Iceland, Might 2021.

Picture by Laura Dannen Redman

Which means the hike to the brand new volcanic eruption is gorgeous but in addition fairly lengthy compared to the 2021 eruption web site. The hike to the brand new fissure is round 14 km/9 miles and has sections of tough terrain, free rocks, and some steep sections. I might estimate the hike (every manner) is round 2 to 2.5 hours for the common traveler. The native authorities are working exhausting to make the paths extra accessible and have even began placing in reflectors to indicate folks the way in which. I’ve little question the trail and infrastructure will enhance as the times go on, however for now I might say that this hike is actually just for avid hikers with a powerful health degree.

The 2021 eruption drew hundreds of locals and worldwide vacationers as onlookers. Is there such a factor as a volcanic eruption that’s protected (or safer) to view?

No volcano will ever be really protected to go to. In any case, there’s lava as much as 1,250 levels Celsius spewing out of the bottom in each route. However is that this volcano “protected to view”? With warning, the fitting information, and by choosing the most secure viewing platform, I’d say it’s one thing vacationers can take pleasure in so long as they hearken to the professionals. Being a wilderness information in Iceland, I’m fairly biased after I say it’s undoubtedly price it—however I’ll allow you to determine. There’ll at all times be dangers concerned and that’s one thing every particular person individually should determine if it’s price it for them.

The principle motive I say that the volcano is manageable to go to is as a result of sort of eruption itself. The phrase “predictable” doesn’t get used fairly often with regards to Icelandic volcanoes, and I refuse to connect that moniker right here. With that mentioned, this (and the final) eruption are what are known as “effusive eruptions,” which suggests that almost all of the exercise on the bottom is lava circulation, i.e., much less explosive. As scary as lava is, it’s a barely extra predictable and manageable substance (from a viewing standpoint) than “explosive eruptions,” which might fireplace particles excessive into the air over giant distances.

One other main element of volcanoes is the harmful gases that they emit. Every eruption is completely different from the final. The 2021 eruption had numerous dangerous gases escaping. This meant you needed to be cautious the place you considered the lava. Tall hills are an important choice, deep valleys much less so. This eruption isn’t any completely different.


Lava pours into the valley on August 6, 2022, not removed from Iceland’s principal airport and capital metropolis.

What’s occurring on the bottom proper now?

There’s presently a warning out {that a} new fissure might open up close to the present lava circulation. So this new eruption might have some extra surprises to share sooner or later.

On the time of writing, with the fruits of the brand new fissure presently releasing lava into the Meradalur valley and it being in shut proximity to the place the postulated “subsequent fissure” will open up, it’s not protected to get fairly as near the lava circulation as we did in 2021. There are simply too many variables to account for on a guided tour. This doesn’t imply you possibly can’t nonetheless go to, although.

Fortunately, the present eruption is sort of large and the close by hills that we take our company to is an ideal spot to get one of the vital breathtaking views of your total life. As with the final eruption, the volcano adjustments and surprises us on an virtually day by day foundation so every new go to brings with it new experiences and new viewpoints. My advice is to not wait too lengthy to recover from right here to view it.

What’s one of the best (and most accountable) approach to view the volcano?

Don’t go down into the Meradalur valley the place you might be uncovered to gases and are very near the lava circulation. Staying with an skilled wilderness information and consulting the native authorities (e.g., safetravel.is) ought to will let you go to in a manageable manner. Hidden Iceland guides are skilled on this terrain. On any given day, at the least one Hidden Iceland information on the web site shall be carrying a gasoline monitor, gasoline masks, satellite tv for pc radio, and full wilderness rescue pack and have entry to probably the most up-to-date info from the native authorities. Touring with an devoted native information is one of the simplest ways to securely view this pure marvel.

The perfect and most secure route (on the time of writing) is to take Route A . . . from the primary automobile park and observe the reflective markers alongside the sting of the cooled lava fields of the 2021 eruption. After 7 km (about 4.5 miles) and a few steep hikes, it is possible for you to to view the brand new fissure from up shut. Please remember that this is perhaps one of the best route at the moment however as early as subsequent week, it may drastically change.

What excursions is Hidden Iceland working?

Hidden Iceland is presently providing a non-public model of this volcanic eruption hike both as a day journey or as a part of a multiday experience, the place you’ll go to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon within the southeast and participate in glacier hikes. For anybody who isn’t an avid hiker with a great health degree, we are able to additionally prepare helicopter flyovers with native companions, too. The final eruption lasted six months however there’s no assure this one will.

How far is the eruption from . . . the whole lot else?

The automobile park to begin your hike is barely 20 minutes’ drive from the airport. It’s additionally solely 50 minutes from Reykjavík and solely 10 minutes from the well-known Blue Lagoon within the native city of Grindavík. Because the volcano is erupting in the identical normal location because the 2021 eruption, a number of the provisions are nonetheless there: e.g., automobile park, non permanent bathrooms, and areas for the search and rescue group to base themselves. The principle downside is the size of the stroll itself.


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