If you live in Iceland, or plan to be here soon, you might be tempted to check out the Geldingadalsgos eruption site. It is, after all, very pretty to look at, far from populated areas, and of a size that poses no immediate threat to anyone.
Víðir Reynisson, the chief of Civic Protection, has some words of advice for prospective volcano-watchers.
First of all, there are no roads leading directly to the area, so unless you have a helicopter, you will have a walk lasting many hours long ahead of you. It will also be quite cold and wet, as it stands now—although dressing for any kind of weather is always advisable for a long hike in Iceland, any time of year.
Another thing to consider is that lava is not the only danger eruptions pose. These eruptions also release a lot of SO2 gas, which in small levels can irritate the eyes and throat, and at higher levels prove deadly. Check wind directions at the site of the Icelandic Met Office and stay upwind of the eruption.
While Suðurstrandavegur, the southern coastal road of Reykjanes, is still closed for the moment, Reykjanesbraut—the main road which connects Keflavík International Airport and the greater Reykjavík area—is still open. Víðir recommends that those who are well dressed, packed a lunch, and can ensure that they are in constant contact with the mobile phone network begin walking from the Blue Lagoon eastwards to get to the eruption site.
Eruptions can be beautiful, and this one is definitely photogenic, but your own safety comes first. Be prepared, and remember that there is no shame in turning back if the journey proves too difficult. Your own life is more valuable than a few good snaps. Besides, you can always watch the action live remotely.
(Map by Google Earth/Vísir)
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