Thousands of tourists have been flocking to Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula to witness the eruption of a volcano that has been dormant for 800 years. While you may not be able to join them in person, you can check out the action at the eruption site live via livestream.
A volcano on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula has sprung to life after lying dormant for 800 years. It began spewing lava into the night sky on March 19, following a series of small earthquakes in the area. The spectacle was not just visible from the capital city of Reykjavik, about 30 kilometres away, but was also captured by satellites orbiting the Earth—there’s even drone footage of the eruption site.
Iceland is among the most volcanically active places in the world, with roughly one eruption every five years. The country straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack on the ocean floor separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The shifting of these plates is in part responsible for this intense volcanic activity.
The Icelandic Meteorological Office has classified the eruption as “minor” and says it is unlikely to cause major damage, unlike Eyjafjallajökull, which sent a plume of volcanic ash into the sky and disrupted air travel across Europe for a week in 2010. Rather than being a cause for concern, the eruption site has turned into a tourist spot. Agust Gunnar Gylfason, project manager at the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, told Reuters that the volcano has attracted over 10,000 onlookers since it first erupted. Authorities have even set up a 3.5-kilometre hiking trail to the site and are patrolling the area to make sure no one gets too close to hazardous areas polluted by volcanic gases.
A group of scientists were even filmed cooking sausages and toasting hot dog buns close to the lava. Apparently, they weren’t the only ones having a bit of fun. Other onlookers brought their own sausages and marshmallows for an impromptu barbecue, reported AFP.
While there are safer ways to enjoy a barbecue, you can join the several Icelanders and revel in the spectacle from a safe distance. Check out this livestream where you can watch the eruptions in real time.