The long-dormant volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland first began to erupt in March, attracting a wealth of tourists to the region to witness the spectacle (some 30,000 people have visited the area since the eruption began, according to the Icelandic Tourist Board) – reports note that it was the area's first volcanic eruption in nearly 800 years.
The new fissure that opened up was about 500 meters long and about a kilometre from the original eruption site in the Geldinga Valley. Following a tourist helicopter spotting the new crack, the Icelandic Department of Emergency Management announced an immediate evacuation of the area, although it did note that there was no imminent danger to life due to the site's distance form popular hiking paths.
“We now see less lava coming from the two original craters,” Geophysicist Magnus Gudmundsson explained. “This could be the beginning of second stage.”
In December 2019, White Island volcano eruption just off the coast of New Zealand killed 17 people, including tour guides and cruise passengers. At the time, Robin Gauldie mused whether this eruption might spell the end for ‘volcano tourism’?