The extremely active volcanic region near the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland has erupted, giving filmmakers who happened to be in the area a chance to capture new, visually stunning aerial footage of lava flows.
After almost a week of increased seismic activity in the area between Fagradalsfjall and Keilir, a new volcanic eruption has taken place in Iceland.
“Since the eruption began Monday afternoon, July 10th, around 300 earthquakes have been recorded on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Most of the earthquakes have been below 2.0 in magnitude, but two have been measured larger, they were 2.0 and 2.1 in magnitude,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office reports.
On July 11, a lava-producing fissure eruption broke the surface near Litli-Hrútur mountain on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The eruption took place in an uninhabited area and posed no threat to any infrastructure. Seismic activity has been in a steady decline since Tuesday, but there was a period where lava poured out of the ground and flowed across the surface — a prime target for filmmakers.
Because this particular eruption did not produce any volcanic ash, the area around the flows was relatively clear, allowing for some very pretty aerial footage to be captured. That said, dangerous gas emissions were still a threat.
As seen in the video above, spotted by Colossal, drone pilot Isak Finnbogason captured a series of beautiful shots of the eruption from the air. The above video is cut from a longer live stream that Finnbogason did during the most active portion of the eruption.
Finnbogason wasn’t the only one who was in the area with filmmaking equipment. Photographer Chris Burkard and his photo assistant Joel Barger happened to be in Iceland opening a gallery in Reykjavik and while Burkard was on the other side of the island spending time with his family, Barger rushed over to the eruption and put his drone in the air.
“After a series of frequent earthquakes heralding the arrival of another volcano on the Reykjanes Penninsula, I found myself crammed in the backseat of an SUV speeding towards the new eruption site to document it on behalf of Chris Burkard for Lava Show Iceland and RVK Grapevine,” Barger says.
“A nine-kilometer hike lay between us on the volcano due to the road closure, so we shouldered our bags and started jogging. Despite dense fog rolling over the hills, I crested the top and couldn’t miss the orange glow of the eruption visible about 2km away Every step closer felt like an entrance into a dream state, mesmerized by the dancing of magma shooting over 20 meters in the air in some places,” he continues.
“Fortunately for me, a strong wind blew at my back keeping dangerous gasses away. Even so, ISAR warned us to vacate the area soon after shooting some photos with the expectation that winds could shift and the gas could prove hazardous, even deadly to visitors.”
Barger says that the fissure he shot was over a kilometer long and about 10 to 15 times the size of the eruptions he witnessed last year.
“Around 1:30 AM, the police arrived and started directing everyone to leave, conditions deteriorating. I could have stayed for hours, feeling absolutely no sense of time and fatigue, just literal awe and exhilaration at the foot of an active volcano,” Barger concludes.
At the time of publication, the Icelandic Meteorological Office says that the balance between the inflow of magma and outflow in the eruption is taking place, and seismic activity has significantly decreased. Still, the eruption is categorized as “ongoing” and volcanic gas pollution and smoke from burning vegetation are still present.