From Iceland — It’s Getting Hot In Here

It’s Getting Hot In Here

Published July 23, 2023

The news making headlines in Reykjavík these days

There’s no dancing around the biggest news in Iceland these days: a new eruption has started on the Reykjanes peninsula. Specifically, a 200 metre fissure opened up around 16:20 on July 10, spewing forth an obscene amount of lava. Like seriously, eruption, check yourself.

While the eruption of Litli-Hrútur started with a flow of an estimated 60 cubic metres of lava per second, by July 11 the flow had slowed considerably. Still, the ongoing eruption is larger than the 2021 eruption in Geldingadalir or the 2022 eruption in Meradalir.

The Litli-Hrútur eruption is also harder to reach than the eruptions of the previous two years. Authorities are urging those wishing to visit the eruption to check the news, be aware of conditions and understand that you’ll be hiking in rough terrain for at least 9 km in each direction – that’s an 18-20 km round trip, people. If you’re not accustomed to walking further than to your car, this might not be the activity for you, no matter how much you want to see an erupting volcano.

Those who do embark on the trek to the eruption site are reminded to pack water and food, dress appropriately and ensure you have a full charge on your phone. A gas mask is also advisable, as the eruption is emitting carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, both of which can be fatal if exposed to for a prolonged amount of time. The gases are particularly dangerous if there is little wind, as it gives them a chance to settle.

And for the love of god, do not walk on the lava. That shouldn’t need to be said, but it seems some strong candidates for the Darwin Prize have been walking on the just hardened lava. Search and rescue has even announced they will not send help if you’re stranded on the lava. You will die.

On that note, summer finally arrived in Reykjavík in early July and the city has absolutely come alive with people crowding outdoor patios, soaking up all the vitamin D they can before the weather inevitably takes a turn for the worse.

The capital area has been graced with clear blue skies, light wind and temperatures that reached 20º C on Monday. It’s the perfect weather to play a round of “Local or Tourist?” Locals will be out in their summer gear – t-shirts, linen sun dresses, shorts – while tourists will be sporting PrimaLoft jackets and toques. It’s an easy game to play, but it’s still wildly entertaining. Sorry, that’s mildly entertaining.

While those of us in Reykjavík all too often find ourselves looking North or East for sunny skies, we’re the winners for the time being. Recent days in Reykjavík have been among the top five hottest days ever recorded in the capital, while those suckers in Akureyri are shivering in a mere 12º. How do you like them apples, Akureyri?

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