Did you miss the volcanic eruption in Fagradalsfjall that ended in August this year? Now you have a chance to see lava flowing in Reykjavík because The Icelandic Lava Show has opened its doors to visitors. We went there last week and as the name indicates, they are melting lava for the shows, 1100 degrees of glowing liquid flowing down a small slope and they experiment with it, using a steel bar to poke it when it starts to solidify again.
This is the first time in almost 5000 years that lava is flowing in Reykjavík, Elliðaárdalur lava field was formed 4800 years ago. The original Lava Show in Vík in South Iceland opened 2018 and has been widely popular since then. The show revolves around recreating a volcanic eruption by superheating real lava up to 1100 degrees Celsius (2000 degrees Fahrenheit) and then pouring it into the showroom where the visitors are waiting for it. It is a unique experience that makes it possible for everyone to get up close to real molten lava in a safe and controlled environment and learn a bit about Icelandic geology at the same time.
The idea behind the Lava Show comes from its founders, husband and wife, Júlíus Ingi Jónsson and Ragnhildur Ágústsdóttir. They were inspired by the volcanic eruption in Fimmvörðuháls in the spring of 2010 where they saw an incredible 200 m (600 feet) high lava fall. It took them years to figure out how the scenery could be recreated and in 2018 they opened the Lava Show in Vík. Since then their dream has been to open another exhibition in Reykjavík.
In the few years since the Lava Show opened in Vík, it has become a must-visit in Iceland. The show has received local and international awards. The Lava Show was among the winners of the Golden Egg in 2016, Iceland’s largest entrepreneurship contest, picked out of hundreds of participants to be one of ten participants of a startup accelerator by Startup Reykjavik the same year. In 2021, Lava Show received the Travel Industry Entrepreneur Award in Iceland and in 2022, the founders received the international Global Wiin Award.
As you can imagine, the lava is not melted in an ordinary baking oven, but in a custom-made furnace designed by a company that has also made rocket components for SpaceX and Blue Origin. The power source of the furnace is methane gas, produced from organic waste from the local waste management company Sorpa. The lava is also recycled between the shows and excess heat from the furnace is used to heat up the entire building.
The Lava Show provides extensive knowledge and trivia about Icelandic geology and volcanoes, presented in an accessible way. Júlíus says: “We want this to be the most entertaining geology lesson in the world!”
Get your tickets to the Lava Show in Reykjavík.
Our best advice: Do not try this at home.
Photos in this post are from the marketing agency Pipar\TBWA.