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Trending: The World Is Erupting With Images From the Iceland Volcano

By David Schonauer   Monday April 19, 2021


Björk couldn’t be happier.

That was one of the takeaways reported by The New York Times last month when a rare volcanic eruption in Iceland. “We in iceland are sooo excited !!!” Björk notes on social media. “We still got it !!! sense of relief when nature expresses herself !!!”

“There is a long history of volcanic activity in Iceland, which has more than 30 active volcanoes,” noted The Times. “The country straddles two tectonic plates, which are themselves divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten hot rock, or magma. Quakes occur when the magma pushes through the plates.”

Anticipation for last month’s seismic event had been building in the days leading up to eruption, as Iceland experienced a plentiful number of earthquakes. And while the eruption itself— near Mount Fagradalsfjall, about 20 miles southwest of Reykjavik, on March 19 — was rather small and controlled, it drew lots of observers. The world has been filled with imagery of the scene.

Colossal, for instance, spotlighted images from photographer Thrainn Kolbeinsson, who had been camping out on the Reykjanes peninsula, waiting for something fiery to happen. Like Björk, he was delighted when it did, noting that after a few days of calm, “the Earth suddenly opened up, and the night sky turned red.”

“Even though it might look terrifying, it was actually a beautiful experience watching the violent spits from the volcano quickly turn into smooth streams of glowing lava as new earth was being born. Every day the area has changed, and at this pace, the whole valley will fill up in about 10-20 days,” he writes.

DIY Photography, meanwhile, featured work from photographer Iurie Belegurschi, who has been  living in Iceland since 2006. Belegurschi recorded the eruption from above, using a drone, but also from a helicopter. “For the helicopter shots, he used a Sony a7R IV with the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS and the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lenses. His drone of choice was a DJI Mavic 2 Pro with its Hasselblad L1D-20c 20MP 1-inch camera,” noted DIYP.

Photographer Garðar Olafs, founder of the Iceland-based stock agency Airstock, also used a drone to document the eruption. But, noted PetaPixel, he may have flown it a little bit too close when he tried to get a shot looking straight down into the mouth of the fissure. “I slowly lowered the drone until all I could see was erupting lava, and when I looked up, I didn’t see the drone anymore. Basically, I was inside the crater of the volcano,” he said. He managed to fly the drone out of the fissure, but found later parts of it were melted and the sensors damaged by heat.

Meanwhile, DP Review spotlighted drone footage of the eruption from local resident Bjorn Steinbekk. Miraculously, his DJI FPV drone survived the extreme conditions while maneuvering around spurting lava, noted DPR.

The Washington Post noted that one lucky man, Christopher Mathews, celebrated his birthday while photographing the northern lights dancing over the erupting volcano. How is that for synchronicity?

At first, Mathews noted by SpaceWeather.com, he thought he would be disappointed because of cloud cover.

When the skies cleared just before midnight, Mathews noted, “the aurora promptly lit off over the volcano. It was a magical sight, and one I took especially to heart because it happened to be my birthday!” He shot the scene with a Canon 6D and Sigma 24mm f/1.4 ART lens. Exposure: 4 seconds at f/2.2, ISO 1000
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At top: from Thrainn Kolbeinsson

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