This is the first time I see a volcanic eruption. Like seeing a prehistoric creature. One curious thing is the sound. What does a volcano sound like? They are probably very different, but this is a very nice volcano. You can hear the sound a few kilometers away, like a pulse, like a heavy breath, a breathing dragon. Even in my low quality camera, the sound comes through quite close to reality. And strangely it is not overwhelming up close, a running diesel engine will ruin the acoustics. It’s very ambient, on a very human scale, but also hypnotic with the gushing red lava that the eyes see, but somehow the brain does not comprehend. Boiling rocks – they are there, the stuff stars are made of – but you do not really understand. The volcano does not roar like thunder, it’s nothing like the power of standing by a roaring waterfall and it does not explode like fireworks or a bomb. When lava meets ice we see steamy explosions, but compared to new years eve in Reykjavik, the eruption is a relatively silent event. The volcano throws heavy molten rocks a hundred meters up into the air, but there is no bang when they land, just thumps and the pulsing strokes of bubbling molten earth. The ash sometimes falls on your head. Once in a while you will hear a heavier thump followed by a high spray of lava. The volcano has a bass like whipping woofer sound. You can hear it in in the middle of the video. The closest sound I could think of is the beat you hear from a pregnant woman’s belly. (Trust me on this I have four children). The whipping whooshing sounds as heard through the doppler device. So mother earth metaphors are not so far fetched. But the volcano is slower – not 150 beats per minute, probably closer to 50. I went up there with my friend Christopher Lund, more pictures can be seen here: www.chris.is and on the National Geographic website.
Compare for yourself here. A randomly picked doppler fetal sound on youtube.