On August 3, 2022, Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted, sending lava spewing across the ground near the country’s Keflavik International Airport. Despite officials warning tourists and residents to stay away from the area, people have been flocking to the site to snap pictures and take selfies.
The eruption opened up a 100-to-200-meter-long volcanic fissure approximately 10 miles from the airport and 20 miles from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. Scientists had been expecting one to occur, as the area had been experiencing strong earthquakes in the days prior, including one just an hour or so before the eruption began.
“The eruption follows intense seismic activity over the past few days,” said the country’s Foreign Ministry in a press release. “It is considered to be relatively small and due to its location, there is a low threat to populated areas or critical infrastructure.”
Unlike a large-scale volcanic eruption, volcanic fissures don’t typically result in large explosions or a mass dispersal of ash into the atmosphere.
Individuals have been flocking to the Fagradalsfjall volcano, despite the danger and repeated warnings to keep away, due to the poisonous gases emanating from the fissure. The same occurred last year, when the volcano experienced a similar eruption that lasted approximately six months.
The event has brought to mind the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which spewed lava and ash into the air. The ash and smoke eventually entered the atmosphere, causing travel delays and flight cancellations across continental Europe.
On average, Iceland experiences a volcanic event ever four to five years. This is due to the country’s location atop the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Eurasian tectonic plates.