Hikers Have to Vamoose as Volcano Speaks Up

Iceland's latest eruption suggests a shift is underway
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2021 12:56 PM CDT
Hikers Have to Vamoose as Volcano Speaks Up
Lava flows from an eruption of a volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on March 31. Iceland's latest volcano eruption is still attracting crowds of people hoping to get close.   (AP Photo/Marco Di Marco)

As volcanic eruptions go, the latest one in Iceland has been a relatively tame affair. Gentle lava flows have allowed hikers in Geldinga Valley to get up close and personal—and even roast hot dogs, as photos rounded up in the Atlantic show. Things changed Monday, however, when a new fissure forced hundreds of hikers to evacuate, reports the AP. This fissure is about half a mile from the first one, suggesting that the eruptions are shifting. "We now see less lava coming from the two original craters," says geophysicist Magnus Gudmundsson. "This could be the beginning of second stage."

If the idea of a live volcano being a tourist attraction sounds odd, the AP notes that this is fairly typical in Iceland, which is situated above a volcanic hot spot. In fact, a new one flares up every four or five years. One of the more famous recent ones was the Eyjafjallajokull eruption of 2010, which grounded international flights. Tourist officials estimate that 30,000 people have visited the latest eruption, thanks in part to its proximity to the capital, Reykjavik. For the record, Iceland emergency authorities officially frown on the cooking of hot dogs or sausages on lava and remind people that an eruption is an "extremely dangerous phenomenon," per Nerdist. (More volcano stories.)

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