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the heat and roar of Iceland’s volcano

A blanket of magma reaching temperatures of 1,200 degrees Celsius (2192 degrees Fahrenheit) has spread into the valley

A blanket of magma with temperatures of 1200 degrees Celsius (2192 degrees Fahrenheit) has spread into the valley.

The ground rumbles underfoot, then roars as red-orange lava fountains shoot out of the ground, the intense heat cloaks the nearby crowd in awe of Iceland’s latest volcanic eruption.

“It’s indescribable,” said 40-year-old French tourist Magalie Viannisset, one of the curious onlookers who gazed in wonder on Thursday at the fissure that opened the day before in an uninhabited valley just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Icelandic capital. Reykjavik .

“You can feel it in your heart. Imagining it or seeing it on TV is nothing compared to seeing it in person — there’s heat, smells, the sound of lava flowing,” she told AFP.

As the lava fountains hit the ground, a blanket of magma reaching temperatures of 1,200 degrees Celsius (2192 degrees Fahrenheit) spreads into the valley, plumes of smoke spread a rotten egg smell from the sulfur.

Occasionally, helicopters spinning overhead interrupt the roar of the lava.

Some intrepid visitors walk straight into the cooling magma, including scientists who measure its thickness and take samples to study in their labs.

Others, both locals and tourists overjoyed to be in the right place at the right time, keep a safer distance and enjoy the dramatic views from nearby hilltops.

The Icelandic Meteorological Bureau estimates that the fissure is about 360 meters long

The Icelandic Meteorological Bureau estimates that the fissure is about 360 meters long.

“It’s absolutely breathtaking,” says Theo, a 14-year-old Norwegian who is visiting with his family.

The Icelandic Meteorological Bureau estimates that the fissure is about 360 meters long, with lava fountains about 10-15 meters high.

The lava covers an area of ​​about 74,000 square meters, it said.

‘Feel the power of the earth’

Visitors must make a strenuous trek to reach the site on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about a two-hour drive from the nearest parking lot.

Walking along the trail you can hear people speaking English, French, Spanish, Italian and of course Icelandic.

The winding path runs near the lava fields created last year by the nearby Fagradalsfjall eruption, which spewed molten rock for six months.

Like scars, cracks in the ground along the trail serve as a reminder of the seismic activity that has raged underfoot in the region for the past year and a half.

Some intrepid visitors walk straight into the cooling magma

Some intrepid visitors walk straight into the cooling magma.

Known as the land of fire and ice, Iceland has 32 volcanic systems that are currently considered active, the highest number in Europe. The country has had an eruption every five years on average.

Until last year, however, the Reykjanes Peninsula hadn’t experienced one since the 13th century, when a volcano erupted from 1210-1240 for 30 years.

Geophysicists have said the 2021 eruption could mark the beginning of a new period of eruptions lasting for centuries. For now, the craters it left behind remain silent.

As the trail approaches the Meradalir Valleys (the valleys of the Mares), the final eruption comes into view, captivating trekkers with the raw power of nature.

“You feel the power of the earth. You look at the stone and you see it melting, that’s not usual”, surprised Agusta Jonsdottir, a 52-year-old Icelandic woman.

Icelanders never seem to tire of watching volcanoes.

Known as the land of fire and ice, Iceland has 32 volcanic systems that are currently considered active

Known as the land of fire and ice, Iceland has 32 volcanic systems that are currently considered active.

“We came early and we sat in the moss for a few hours watching and enjoying. And it was so calm,” says Audur Kristin Ebenezersdottir, 53.

“Just you and nature – it’s very beautiful.”


Spectators flock to Icelandic volcano


© 2022 AFP

Quote: ‘Indescribable’: The heat and roar of the Icelandic volcano (2022, August 4), retrieved August 4, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-indescribable-roar-iceland-volcano.html

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