It started as three fissures. They appeared in southwestern Iceland, near a small mountain located on the Reykjanes peninsula. They began spewing molten lava and a plume of gases. Thus begins the story of the baby volcano that emerged in Iceland.
In July, the surrounding area trembled for several days and more than 12,000 earthquakes were recorded before the eruption began. The fissures initially extended more than a kilometer and opened three red-hot lava lines. Two of the fissures were closed by the next morning. But lava still emanated from an elongated cone. It grew rapidly into a large crater as the lava accumulated. Soon after it became known as the baby volcano that emerged in Iceland.
In just one week, the crater grew to about 30 meters high and continues to grow every day. On July 17, a road opened up. Visitors began arriving to get a closer look at this rare event.
Access to the volcano depends on conditions and changes every day. At the moment, visitors can arrive near the crater. It can be seen through a strong heat haze. It is an incredible spectacle especially at night. The erupting lava fountains are more visible in contrast to the darker sky.
Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove is a Belgian professional photographer living in Iceland. He documents eruptions since 2021. “Seeing a new landscape being created in front of your eyes is a privilege granted to very few people,” he said. “The eruption occurs in the most photogenic place in the area, with the picturesque pointed peak of Keilir as a backdrop,” he added.
Volcanic eruptions produce different types of lava. This is a basaltic lava characterized by a rough and brittle surface. It is composed of broken blocks of lava. As it progresses, the pieces fall to the ground to reveal red-hot areas between the gray and black of the cooler lava. An eerie cracking sound is often heard. It is similar to that of glass shattering as it moves forward.
The baby volcanic crater continues to grow day by day as lava is ejected and accumulates in the cone that already exists. Lava now flows at an estimated daily volume of nine cubic meters per second. There is no way to predict how long the eruption will last. How far will this baby volcano grow?