After the volcano eruption expedition it is clear we have to make a second trip. By now the eruption has been going on for more than a week and the lava has started flowing. The authorities have banned the use of the shortest route, but we can go over the Myrdalsjokull glacier.
As we get on the gravel road and take some city air out of the tires the weather is pretty nice. Cool but sunny and little wind.
We start out in two trucks. My Sport Trac and a rented Land Rover Defender on 38 inch tires. Olafur and his wife Maria rented the Land Rover to take a few friends to see the eruption. They own the weather forcasting company commonly known as Belgingur.is and SARWeather. The Defender is therefor a bit packed.
According to their site the weather will get worse in the afternoon, so we have to hurry.
The snow is powdery and with all the passangers the Defender is a bit heavy - so we have to pull the Land Rover up through the worst spots.
After about two hours driving we see the new crater in the distance.
As we get closer we see it better. The eruption has already created a small hill.
You can see the size of the eruption when you compare to the truck on the left.
The lava is slowly engulfing the snow covered land. You can see how the older tracks are cut off right at the edge.
Getting close to the lava is magical. The heat is enourmous and the glow from the 1200°C gives it an unearthly feel.
The lava is quickly turning into rocks.
Lava flowing over snow can cause steam explosions and throw hot lavarocks hundreds of meters. Here is a hole made by such a rock, sinking slowly as it cools down while melting the snow.
The lavafall is the most spectacular sight!
Lava flowing off a cliff and falling down 30 meters (100 feet). Gradually filling up the canyon.
A little distance and you can see how huge this is compared with the trucks.
Other travellers enjoy the amazing view - from snowmobilers...
...hikers to the rescue units.
We are actually on the other side of the canyon from the volcano eruption expedition. This is "Heljarkambur".
This is a once in a lifetime experience!
Some are even taking tours in a helicopter. Would have been fun to try that.
It's about time to get going before the weather starts getting to bad.
As it turns out, the visibility on the glacer is close to zero and we rely on the GPS tracking to get back.
Finally after two hours of struggling we start to make out the view over the south coast of Iceland.
A memorable day to say the least.
P.S. For some more photos from this eruption and the new bigger one in Eyjafjallajokull, please visit:
As I write this text, the eruption is still going strong as you can see by looking at the webcams linked to from that page.