Visiting the new volcanic eruption in Iceland 2023: Litli-Hrútur
On July 10th, a new eruption started in Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland, and many travelers want to visit the new Litli-Hrútur volcano. While witnessing such a natural phenomenon can be awe-inspiring, it is crucial to prioritize safety and follow the guidelines provided. In this blog post, we will discuss the necessary precautions and preparations you should take before venturing near the eruption site.
The hike to Litli-Hrútur eruption
The most direct hiking path to the eruption site and the newly formed crater is a 18 km return journey (over 11 miles), originating from Road 427 towards the east of Grindavík. Suitable parking facilities for your vehicle are available, notably at Fagradalsfjall Parking P2.
Ensure not to leave your vehicle haphazardly on the roadside, and keep in mind that any off-road driving is strictly forbidden in Iceland. Anticipate a 6 hour hike, which doesn't include the time you'd like to spend at the site. The trail is somewhat challenging with a few inclines to surmount. Most of the pathway follows a dirt track, with the concluding stretch navigating an exposed lava field and ascending a minor mountain. Therefore, it's crucial to prepare well for your journey and assess your physical endurance before setting out on this expedition.
A fantastic option for undertaking this hike is with the new volcanic eruption tour offered by 2Go Iceland Travel. This unique experience prioritizes your safety and well-being, providing a tailored journey designed specifically for you.
What gear to use for the hike to Litli-Hrútur eruption?
Dressing appropriately for the climate and activity is crucial for comfort and safety. We advise dressing in layers, with waterproof outerwear being essential.
Recommended attire and gear for this hike include:
Base Layer: Opt for a long-sleeved top to keep your core warm.
Insulating Layer: A cozy sweater will provide additional warmth.
Outer Layer: A waterproof shell coat is indispensable to protect against any potential weather changes.
Bottoms: Equip yourself with waterproof pants for comfort and dryness.
Headwear: A Merino wool hat is perfect for warmth and breathability.
Footwear: Merino wool socks and comfortable hiking boots will keep your feet warm and well-supported.
Hydration & Nutrition: Don't forget to pack a bottle of water and some snacks. An energy drink or bar can also be a great pick-me-up during the hike.
By following these suggestions, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the hike comfortably and safely!
Safety Measures to follow while visiting Litli-Hrútur Volcano
First and foremost, the inherent risks must be recognized: The eruption site, despite being open to the public, can still pose significant dangers. The hazards associated with volcanic eruptions are not to be underestimated - wildfires can ignite spontaneously, new fissures may open without warning, and new lava flows can erupt rapidly from the lava rim. It's not uncommon for glowing lava to unexpectedly fall from the rim as well.
Next, adhering to the marked paths and steering clear of low-lying areas is vital: Gas pollution, invisible and devoid of smell, can escape from the smoke cloud of the eruption, causing an increase in pollution levels. If you experience any discomfort, it's important to immediately vacate the area. When approaching the eruption site, have the wind at your back and, while returning, face into the wind to minimize exposure to gases.
Lastly, when accompanied by children, it's crucial to assess their capabilities before setting off on the hike. Children are more prone to the harmful effects of gas pollution, hence it's necessary to take additional precautions to ensure their safety.
In our commitment to safety during our private tours to the volcano, we supply gas masks for your protection. Moreover, our guides are equipped with portable gas meters that actively monitor the levels of CO2 and SO2 in the vicinity. This helps us ensure your safety and well-being throughout the tour.
CO2 and SO2 are abbreviations for carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, respectively. These are two types of gases that can be released during a volcanic eruption.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless gas that is naturally present in the Earth's atmosphere. It is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and volcanic eruptions. High concentrations of CO2 can be harmful to humans, as it can displace oxygen in the atmosphere, leading to suffocation in extreme cases.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a toxic gas with a pungent, irritating smell. It is released from the earth's crust during volcanic eruptions. Inhalation of sulfur dioxide can lead to burning sensations in the nose and throat, breathing difficulties, and severe airway obstructions. Long-term exposure to high concentrations of SO2 can affect lung function and can exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.
During a volcanic eruption, it's essential to monitor the levels of these gases, particularly in areas close to the eruption site, to protect people from potential health risks.
The forecast for gas pollution can be checked through trusted meteorological sources. This information can provide useful insights about the expected dispersion of volcanic gases in the upcoming hours or days. Regularly checking this forecast will help ensure that you are adequately prepared and informed about any potential changes in gas pollution levels.
In iceland, Lavas are under "special protection act" according to art. 61 of the Nature Conservation Act and therefore they must be protected from damages such as trampling, stones, or inscriptions.