Another eruption has started – 10 times bigger this time. After the really depressing and endless IceSave debate the volcanic eruption in South-Iceland gave us something more thrilling and uplifting to talk about (I am not kidding, people were delighted – look at the video and you will understand). The eruption went on for almost three weeks, people drove up to see it in the night under blazing northern lights. The eruption stopped exactly the morning when the long awaited national report on the banking crash was released. Then into the midst of the outrage – it started again, under the glacier this time – ten times bigger, causing flash floods and a cloud of ash in the sky – so sorry Norway and Russia – no flights tomorrow.
The first eruption made us kind of forget how destructive the volcanoes can be. I went with my friend Christopher Lund to document the eruption the 30th of march. He is an excellent photographer and his volcano shots can be seen on the National Geographic website. The eruption could be visited either on foot or by a powerful 4×4. We got a ride in a Nissan Patrol 93 model on 44′ tires. They deflate the tires almost entirely, down to 1 or 2 pounds of air pressure so they can float on the snow.
This is the first time I see molten lava, the million tons of freshly baked rock that crawled slowly forward did not sound like rolling stones. The lava front sounded like breaking glass, like thousand bottles being slowly crushed. And the eruption itself sounded like a deep breath. Not like a waterfall or fireworks. You could hear the sound a few kilometers away, like a pulse, like
a very low frequency sub woofer. It sounded like the heartbeat of a fetus through a doppler device. Write more about this below.
Nobody can predict what will happen next, nobody predicted the new eruption. When the lava meets snow – it can cause explosions, rapid melting and flash floods. So the people you see here on this video, including myself – are really petting a sleeping dragon. Seduced by the soothing heartbeat, the dizzying flakes of molten rocks thrown up into the air almost like slow motion, the vivid red orange pink colors that your eyes see but your brain does not really believe or register. You can forget to be careful. You look but you don’t really comprehend.
A new crack opened up the day after I we were at the site, exactly where we had stood the day before. It just took about five minutes for the earth to open up. But still you feel safe. You just want to get closer, feel the warmth, catch some lava with a shovel and try to mold it. But then you smell something strange – like foul eggs, and keep back – the fumes can be lethal – specially if the weather is calm. And you also forget that you are standing on snow, against lava – you never know if something starts boiling underneath. If you are careful and respect the sleeping dragon you will experience something truly majestic.
The photographer that took the pictures in my video is Christopher Lund. More info here: www.chris.is. This was his second trip to the eruption site. I hope we can get a chance to see the new one.