The volcano in Iceland spewing lava into the sky since it erupted last Friday could continue its spectacular display for years, potentially becoming a new tourist attraction on the island known for its natural wonders.
Thousands of Icelanders have flocked to the site of the eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula, some 30 kilometers southwest of the capital, hoping to be awed by the rare lava fountains and even to cook a meal on the scorching crust of magma.
Drone footage filmed over the crater shows the molten lava bubbling and spurting, and gushing down the sides of the volcano.
“It’s a perfect tourist eruption,” volcanology professor at the University of Iceland, Thorvaldur Thordarson, told Reuters.
“I felt like when Liverpool won the Premier League”
The drone pilot behind this incredible footage spoke to @5_News.
Bjorn says he just had to “take the chance” to get the footage – and luckily the drone survived in one piece.pic.twitter.com/I8z8BFBmFH
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) March 22, 2021
To cope with the hoard of visitors, authorities in Iceland set up a 3.5 kilometer (2.2 miles) hiking trail to the eruption site and are patrolling the area to prevent onlookers from venturing into hazardous areas polluted by volcanic gasses.
“People were hiking from many different directions into the area,” Agust Gunnar Gylfason, project manager at the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, told Reuters.
Since the initial eruption, lava has steadily seeped out of the volcano at a rate of between 5 to 10 cubic meters per second, Thordarson said, a flow strong enough to ensure the lava does not solidify and close the fissure. For now.
“If it drops below three cubic meters, it’s very likely that the eruption will stop,” Thordarson said
He compared the lava flux to that of the Pu’u ‘O’o eruption in Hawaii, which began in 1983 and continued to erupt for 35 years.
“It could end tomorrow or it could still be going in a few decades.”