Have you ever wanted to see an active volcano up-close? Do you want to hear hardening lava roar and crack under movement and pressure? Now you can. On the 19th of March, a dormant volcano made its first move in 800 years. The volcano is situated on the south side of a mountain called Fagradalsfjall and is truly a sight to behold.
Situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Reykjavík, this location is perfect to reserve a private tour and hiking guide with Reykjavik Tourist Information. Our guides are knowledgeable about seismic activity and specifically this volcano. To top it off, we transfer you to the Blue Lagoon afterward to give you time to relax after your volcano adventure.
Some say they knew it would erupt; others admit that they didn’t know. But now we all know it’s cool as hell standing in front of something that looks like the gates to Mordor.
The volcano is even a rare type of volcano called a shield volcano. Shield volcanoes are rare and often last for months, even years, even decades! This longevity is because the lava is a steady stream from beneath the earth’s crust. Somewhere between 15-20km under the surface of Iceland is a constant river of melting-hot-glowing-death is flowing up. The last time this happened in Iceland was before the last Ice Age!
The volcano is also a part of the Krýsuvík volcanic system, which stretches across long distances in the southern peninsula.
Usually, when a volcano erupts in Iceland, it takes the elf council at least four days to name the thing, a complicated process. This time we humans were ahead of the elves deciding on the name. It was named Geldingardalsgos, after the valley, it’s situated in. Good luck trying to pronounce that one.
The Volcano is on private property! So there’s a family somewhere in Iceland that owns an active volcano! Don’t worry about checking it out, though; it’s all open and accessible to the public. But the hike can be a challenge.
Mount Fagradalsfjall has its history from the second world war. The U.S. bomber plane Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Hot Stuff” crashed into the mountain’s side in 1943 due to bad weather. The aircraft carried 14 U.S. soldiers on a mission to get back to Washington D.C. with Lt. General Frank Andrews Maxwell. Lt. General Frank had recently taken over as the Commander of European Theater of Operations from Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was supposedly on his way to D.C. for a promotion to a 4-star general. Sadly only one man survived the crash, Tail Gunner George Eiesel.
The weeks leading up to the eruption on March 19th saw 50.000 earthquakes in the southern peninsula. The highest number since digital records began in 1991.
The name Fagradalsfjall is a compound of the Icelandic words of fagur (“beautiful”), dalur (“valley”), and fjall (“mountain”). And the name Geldingardalsgos is a compound of the Icelandic words of geldingur (“eunuch”), dalur (“valley”), and gos (“eruption”).