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Iceland volcano eruption: Reckless tourist narrowly escapes dying in lava flow

Sat, 12 Jun 2021, 12:49 12:49 PM | BY: T
Location of a tourist on the slope of the active cone of the Reykjanes eruption in Iceland, almost caught in lava flows (image: RUV webcam / Iceland Review)
Location of a tourist on the slope of the active cone of the Reykjanes eruption in Iceland, almost caught in lava flows (image: RUV webcam / Iceland Review)
A visitor to the main eruption site in Geldingadalir narrowly escaped a self-provoked catastrophe and cruel death by lava flow. Yesterday (11 June 2021) around noon, a person could be seen on the webcam approaching and presumably attempting to climb the side of the active cone, when a large surge of lava erupted from it and started to rapidly flow downhill towards him or her.
Fortunately, the tourist managed to ran away and the lava flows missed him or her, but it was clearly a very close call. The person must have had made the rather long way across older, already solidified parts of the lava flow field to finally approach and probably climb the active cone, which contains a small lava lake and rhythmically - typically every 10 minutes or so - erupts bubbling fountains and surges of lava that overflow its rims, even though these episodes have been becoming weaker and more rare in the past days.

The webcam recordings show how the person turns around, runs and falls, when he or she realized the imminent danger of the lava surge coming from just a few tens of meters uphill distance. Finally, the lava branches and spares the location of the person who manages to evacuate to safety afterwards.

Unfortunately, it seems that it was not an isolated case: especially since the convenient lookout, the hill just southeast of the cone, has been cut by fresh lava on 4 June and become inaccessible, several people trying to get a better and closer view have been seen venturing on the fresh lava flow field.
Dangers of the fresh lava flow field
Going onto the fresh lava surface is venturing onto very treacherous ground, and putting oneself into serious danger: even if the lava is already cool enough on the surface in many places and at first glance seems easy and safe to walked on, it is highly unstable ground essentially composed of glassy slabs and blocks of unstable lava.
Falling through the thin crusts into cavities underneath, stumbling and hurting oneself badly at the at lava slabs with knife-sharp edges is just one of the various risks involved. Others include getting into hotter-than anticipated areas, gas-becoming trapped in gas and steam pockets, or being surprised by new flows that can break out from tubes underneath, or fast-moving new surface flows. Accidents related to these hazards have frequently occurred on the lava flow fields of Kilauea on Hawai'i, but the presence of an active cone and the relatively small size of the area, the extreme dynamics of the Reykjanes eruption, only increase the risks.
People who ignore warning signs are calling for trouble, and unfortunately, the so-far generous attitude of authorities allowing and even facilitating access to the site, relying on common sense and easy-to-read warning signs, are due to change - thanks to the recklessness of a few ignorant people.

Watch the video here:

Source: Reykjanesausbruch: Abenteurer entkommt Lavaschwall mit knapper Not (Video) (Iceland Review, in German)

Previous news

Fri, 11 Jun 2021, 07:41

Fagradalsfjall volcano update: New video of eruption

Our friend Ronny from Belgium just returned from Iceland. We present a small selection of his great video clips and photographs taken during 26 May-3 June 2021: Read all
Thu, 3 Jun 2021, 19:16

Fagradalsfjall volcano update: Eruption continues, lava effusion rate increases

Lava overflow from the main vent at the Reykjanes eruption in Iceland this morning (image: RUV webcam)
The eruption goes on with little changes overall, but lava effusion rate has increased to approx. 12.4 cubic meters per second. The activity, however, has remained almost entirely effusive with no more lava fountains from the vents during the past 24 hours. ... Read all
Show more
Fissure swarm 385 m / 1263 ft
Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland, 63.89°N / -22.27°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5) Fagradalsfjall volcano eruptions:
2022 (Aug), 2021
Less than few million years ago (Pleistocene)
Typical eruption style
fissure eruptions, lava flows
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