A daring photographer risked his life to capture spectacular images of the intense molten lava flows of Holuhraun in the Icelandic Highlands soon after Bardarbunga Volcano began erupting last month.
Valdimar Leifsson, 61, along with fellow risk-takers—his son, Arnar Steinn, and wife, Bryndis—got to within 50 feet of the scorching lava flows to obtain incredible, apocalyptic-like photos.
"The heat emanating from the lava is much more visible during the night," Leifsson told Caters News Agency. "Standing close to the margin of the lava field, one realizes the unbridled force of the eruption.
"You can hear a constant hissing sound from the crater. It is like you are watching the creation of the Earth. And sometimes you think the Earth is going to open up under your feet."
There are good reasons for him to think that, what with the constant earthquakes and word that if the eruption of lava stopped, another eruption would be expected to occur in the same area shortly afterward because of the volume of magma accumulated below the Earth’s surface, according to one expert.
The Iceland Review reported Thursday that the seismic activity around the Bardarbunga Volcano continues—100 earthquakes were documented Wednesday.
It is now estimated that the flow of lava in Holuhraun, a lava field, is now estimated at up to 11.6-square miles (and still growing), making it one of the largest eruptions in Iceland since the 19th century, Iceland Review said.
To reach Holuhraun, Leifsson and his family traveled three to four hours from Modrudalur, a small farming village that is the nearest civilization to the eruption.
"One sees almost nothing but black sand, and at times, you have to rely on small road markers," Leifsson said. "It's like being alone on the moon."
The payoff was a series of stunning photographs.
"You feel very, very small in a moment like this in front of a 100-meter high helted lava fountain," he said. "I realized acutely how small and insignificant we are, compared to the awesome power of natural forces."
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