Locals take stunning pictures of Iceland’s volcanic eruption

·3-min read

A volcano that has been dormant for the past 900 years erupted on March 19 about 40 kilometres (20 miles) from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. The very next day, locals were able to get close to the crater and capture stunning images, which they were quick to post on social media.

Ael Kermarec, a 38-year-old tour guide who is originally from France, stood just a few dozen metres away from the lava flow and filmed.

This video, posted to Instagram on March 22, 2021, was filmed near Mount Fagradalsfjall.

On Saturday, Kermarec and his wife, Julie, went to Geldingadalur, which is near Mount Fagradalsfjall in southwestern Iceland, where the eruption had started around 9pm the night before.

This French couple, who hail from Brittany and have been living in Iceland for the past two years, also took some striking photos of the lava flow above the crater.

This photo was published on Instagram on March 22, 2021.

"We were able to get about 20 metres from the crater, just in front of the lava”

The Icelandic Meteorological Office doesn’t consider the eruption to be very dangerous. The authorities even allowed locals to get close to observe the phenomenon.

Starting on Friday night, Kermarec who has dreamed of seeing a volcanic eruption had his eyes glued to the webcams documenting the event. As soon as the authorities gave the green light, he was on his way there.

After walking for two hours across old lava fields recovered with moss, we arrived in the eruption zone. You could get about 20 metres from the crater, right next to the lava if you could stand the heat, that is! The lava is extremely hot, but because we had the wind at our backs and the outside temperature was about 1 or 2 degrees Celsius (33 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit), it was manageable. We even touched the lava, which was cooling pretty quickly upon contact with the air.

It was incredible to have the opportunity to get so close, but you have to be careful and examine the terrain closely because faultlines can still crack open. There is also a certain fear in being face-to-face with the natural phenomenon that created the continents and life on earth … It teaches you humility. You really feel small in comparison to nature.

While only a few dozen people saw the volcano on Saturday, thousands of curious onlookers came to see the eruption the next day. Because of the variable weather conditions and certain visitors’ failure to prepare, emergency workers had to help dozens of people who had lost their path on March 22.

More stunning images were taken by another resident, Bjorn Steinbekk, who flew a drone over the crater.

Bjorn Steinbekk regularly posts videos filmed by drone of the magnificent Icelandic landscape on his Youtube channel.

Another video from Steinbekk shows lava flowing down the sides of the volcano.

Nearly 50,000 small earthquakes shook southwestern Iceland over the past three weeks before lava started to flow from a 500 metre fault line located in a small valley. There hasn’t been an eruption in the Krysuvik volcanic system for 900 years.

On average, there is a volcanic eruption about every five years in Iceland. In 2010, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupted European airline traffic for nearly a month.