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The path to the volcano at Meradalir


Slower eruption

 

 

 

 

Since the start of this week, the Volcano at Meradalir has been producing a lower volume of Lava than previously, down from 11m3  to between 3-4 m3 per second. The consistency of the Lava has also changed, it appears now to be thicker and more viscous. It’s not possible to predict what this means, however. Last year’s eruption at Fagradalsfjall also slowed for a period and then came back gangbusters and erupted more dramatically than ever. So while everyone breaths a collective sigh of relief that the nearby coastal road looks safe for now, we remain, quite literally, on shifting ground.

 

About a kilometer from the trailhead, the switchback path is visible top left. The dark tear shaped section next to it is the edge of last years lava field.
In a dramatically changing landscape, this misleading sign from last year remains!

Getting there

 

The path to the volcano, though not exactly a walk in the park, will not pose too much of a challenge if you can handle a few hour’s hike.  Decent boots are essential, and hiking poles are preferable. There are some steep ascents and descents over uneven ground. The trail is crowded and narrow in sections, requiring opposing lines of traffic to pass at points that are slippy when wet. It takes time to cover this type of terrain and rain will slow everything down. You don’t want to rush, overtaking people on the short steep sections is hazardous, for yourself and others.

 

 

 

Looking back towards the car park. The first 2-3 Km are an even dirt trail.

Reykenes Terrain

 

 

Much of the path is over uneven rocky terrain, where you need to take care with every step. Approximately 2 km of this uneven section was levelled with earth-moving equipment (below). There remain several Km of uneven terrain and steep, moderately challenging sections on the journey to the eruption. 

 

 

Several Km of the middle section has been levelled.

Most of the hike takes you across a plateau, to your right is the crater from last year’s eruption at Fagradalsfjall rising up from the still cooling lava field. 

The crater from last year, if you look closely you can see people wandering over the lava, oblivious to the risk, while to the right smoke rises from the same lava field.

There are no bathrooms at the carpark, and worst there is very little cover, no trees to hide behind, so be warned! Last toilet call is the gas station at Grindavik. 

 

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