The earth is constantly a volatile planet, and in case you did not know, volcanic eruptions or other kinds of geographic upheavals are always happening somewhere around the world. A few weeks ago in Iceland, the Bárðarbunga volcano in the Holuhraun lava field began ejecting hundreds of cubic meters of lava, producing a rare opportunity for celebrated Icelandic photographer Lurie Belegurschi.
Belegurschi is also Guide to Iceland co-founder, and the famous photographer shot some harrowing views from a helicopter, a perspective that revealed a fissure nearly 2 miles long spewing lava as high as 500 feet into the air. Even from an aerial vantage point, it was a powerful experience, according to Belegurschi.. “I […] came very close to [the volcano],” he said, “We took the doors off, so we could actually feel the heat from the volcano! My face was burning :).” That smiley face is by the way not a typo. For the unfamiliar, Belegurschi has a thing for volcanoes and this kind of dance with danger is exactly his cup of tea.
During the past month countless earthquakes in the region had both locals as well as photographers closely watching the situation if it would deteriorate as it seemed a full blown eruption was forthcoming. While it is not an exact science, these photos unmistakably show that Bárðarbunga is very restless, and anything can happen.
So far, lava from the fissures around Bárðarbunga has reached land that is not covered by ice. Experts however caution an eruption under an ice cap may be catastrophic and create an ash cloud that could under certain situations potentially affect airline operations.
Four years ago in 2010, a cloud of coarse ash spewed by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in a different region of Iceland threw into chaos most of Europe’s air space for close to a week after an eruption under the ice cap. The ash warning level for aviation pertaining to the current fissure eruptions has held steady at orange, the second-highest stage on a five-color scale.
There have been several but short spikes to the top red during recent weeks. The Icelandic Met Office however says that the lava eruptions from Bárðarbunga present no threat to flights at the present time. At any rate, the images shot by Belegurschi are simply intimidating and beautiful at the same time.
See his collective works here.