LifestyleThrill-seekers defy warnings to witness spectacle of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption

Thrill-seekers defy warnings to witness spectacle of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption

Many people want to see an eruption up close.
Many people want to see an eruption up close.
Images source: © EPA, PAP | ANTON BRINK

9:52 AM EST, December 19, 2023

The volcano, which had been preceded by weeks of intense geological tremors, erupted in southwest Iceland on Monday. The eruption began approximately 1.5 miles from the town of Grindavik, leading to the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents.

Ignoring the hazards

According to scientists, the volcano has already expelled twice the amount of lava compared to the total ejected throughout the month-long eruption this summer. Though the current eruption is decreasing in intensity, scientists cannot definitively predict its duration. "It could end in a week, or it could go on much longer," said Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, a scientist who surveyed the eruption site from a coastguard research plane on Tuesday morning.

Despite the apparent dangers, thrill-seekers continue to gather near the site of the colossal volcanic eruption.

The Icelandic Environment Ministry has issued safety guidelines for those who might be tempted to approach the volcano.

In a direct appeal to the public, one ministry spokesperson urged, "Think about someone other than yourself and adhere to public safety guidelines, please."

Vidir Reynisson, the Head of the Department of Civil Protection, has also warned people to refrain from visiting the area. "This is not a tourist eruption," he emphasized to local media.

Gathering crowds at the volcano

Regrettably, these warnings haven't deterred various individuals from getting near the volcano to observe, record videos, or snap photos. A Daily Mail journalist managed to interview some of these spectators.

"It's like something out of a movie!" exclaimed Robert Donald Forrester, a tourist from the United States.

Four local boys - Joi, Halli, Stefan, and Stefan - revealed to the media they had no intention of heeding the warnings. "We are trying to see the eruption. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get closer. This has been our hobby for four years; we participate in every eruption and plan on continuing," shared one of them.

The local residents carry mixed emotions. While they agree the volcano's sight is captivating, they also harbor underlying unease. "The city could end up under lava," expressed Ael Kermarec, a French guide residing in Iceland. "It's amazing, but there's a bittersweet mood right now."

Tourists observe the volcano
Tourists observe the volcano© EPA, PAP | ANTON BRINK
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