From Iceland — Lava Threatens Landowners Of Ísólfsskáli

Lava Threatens Landowners Of Ísólfsskáli

Published June 24, 2021

Alina Maurer
Photo by
Arnar Halldórsson / Stöð 2

While tourists admire the eruption site, the landowners of Ísólfsskáli are fighting against time and lava in order to save valuables from their property in Ísólfsskáli. Ísólfsskáli is only two kilometers south of the Geldingadalur crater.

Lava will claim the house in Ísólfsskáli

The landowners Halldór Ármannsson and Stefanía Haraldsdóttir are trying to pack up heirlooms and valuables, as it seems that the lava will soon be coming close to their house on the property. “Yes, it all seems to be heading down here, just in the next week or the week after that,” Halldór states.

According to Vísir, the owners tried to investigate the situation on their own. They went into the Nátthagi valley and observed the lava flowing fast since last weekend, but it has not moved much since.
However, the Meteorological Office’s new lava flow model assumes that the lava will eventually reach Suðurstrandarvegur and Ísólfsskáli if the eruption continues. As experts suspect, the eruption could last for years to come.

Fight against lava is hopeless

“In one word, it’s just sad,” Stefanía replies, when asked about the emotions emerging from facing the threat. “I’ve been here since I was five years old. You can’t handle that,” Halldór adds.

In the beginning, authorities thought about saving Suðurstrandarvegur and Ísólfsskáli but came to the conclusion that it was not realistic. The mayor of Grindavík explains the reasoning behind the decision with extensive costs: “First of all, it is very expensive, running into the hundreds of millions. Secondly, this may not be enough, at least not in the long run. So it was not considered to defend [Ísólfsskáli] because the results could be small or none.”

Not only the property of Ísólfsskáli is endangered, as archeological sites are as well on the property and archeologists are trying to map it out before it’s too late.

New hiking trail and car park awaits tourists

Despite saving the property of Ísólfsskáli being too expensive, a new footpath is being built and financed after the lava flow closed the main hiking trail A. The new trail is leading spectators up on a viewing hill, on Langahryggur east of Nátthagi where the carter is visible.

At the same time, it is also planned to open a new car park on a field in the so-called Stóra-Leirdalur valley, which is closer to Langahryggur, the new hiking trail.

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