Spectacular aerial footage shows red hot molten lava emerging from a cooling crust on a volcano in Iceland.
Donatas Arlauskas filmed the fiery eruptions with a drone in the Natthagi valley near Fagradalsfjall volcano in Southwest Iceland last Sunday (June 20).
He said that the volcano had been releasing lava non-stop since March. He added: ‘People need to see how dangerous it is to walk on solidified lava.’
Donatas’s warning comes after an American tourist stood on the edge of the Fagradalsfjall volcano screaming with excitement as a huge flow of lava swept downhill towards him.
The American tourist Van Reynolds, who lives in Denver in Colorado, had apparently been trying to get close to the crater, but failed after it was completely surrounded by lava flows.
Van Reynolds, who has a bachelor’s degree in geology, told the news site Visir that his visit was not as perilous as it may have seemed, adding that he is sorry if his behaviour upset anyone and that he plans to visit Iceland again in the near future.
However, this claim that it was somehow not dangerous was rejected by Donatas who lives locally and said he wanted to warn people that such risks could be deadly.
His footage shows a small break in the crust as if a footprint has just been there, revealing the molten hot and bright red lava underneath.
The footage he recorded was from just one of the 130 volcanic mountains located in Iceland which is spewing out lava burning at 1,200 C as it flows down the Icelandic valley.
Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist at Lancaster University, told National Geographic that the Fagradalsfjall volcano is ‘reawakening’.
McGarvie and other experts believe that the unprecedented recent seismic activity, amounting to an estimated 50,0000 earthquakes in the last 15 months, could be the beginning of a very turbulent period for the country of ice and fire.
In the past, Iceland’s volcanoes have wreaked havoc not only on the lives of the local population but on the world as a whole.
When Eyjafjallajokull erupted in April 2010 flights were grounded all across Western Europe as plumes of ash carried by the jetstream filled the sky and mortality didn’t return until October that year.
Even more severe was the eruption of Laki in 1783 and 1784 which according to historical accounts darkened the skies of Europe for years which resulted in widespread famine across much of the continent.
Iceland is estimated to be home to between 150 and 200 volcanoes but an eruption has not taken place on the country’s southwestern tip for over 800 years.
Going against the government’s advice locals have been gathering in their 100s, some of whom can be seen in the footage, gathering precariously close to the rivers of lava.
McGarvie said: ‘The amount of seismic energy release for this small eruption is disproportionately high.’
For this reason, he believes that it is likely that additional pockets of magma could make their way to the surface resulting in further eruptions.
Evgenia Ilyinskaya, a volcanologist at the University of Leeds, shared McGarvie’s concerns saying that historically when there has been a significant increase in earthquakes several eruptions have followed.
Ilyinskaya added that the next eruption could come in the following days, weeks, months or even years potentially occurring on any part of the island as pressure builds up below the surface.
Thorbjorg Agustsdottir, a seismologist at Iceland GeoSurvey, said that for now the lava doesn’t present a threat and is instead an opportunity to study the eruption.
He added that if this is the start of something bigger, then the opportunity to study the eruptions must be used as training for potentially more serious incidents in the near future.