On March 21, a glacier south of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik opened and began spurting lava. The volcanic eruption caused a few hundred people who lived nearby to evacuate, but almost immediately began attracting tourists. Less than two weeks after the eruption, at least 25,000 visitors from Iceland and across the world have come to see the amazing spectacle of fire and ice at the Eyjafjallajokull glacier.
The coolest video we’ve seen is this one from the AP (via The Huffington Post):
The Daily Mail has an impressive first-hand account and pictures from writer Sarah Gordon. The Washington Post also has a great slideshow.
Within 48 hours of the eruption, the first volcano tourists were arriving, undaunted by subzero temperatures and spurred on by the prospects that the volcanic activity is likely to only last a few weeks. Excursions are available by helicopter, jeep and skidoo.
Hundreds of locals first learned of the eruption just after midnight on the 21st through phone calls and text messages. The volcano had been dormant for 200 years. The boom in tourism dollars should help what had been a struggling Icelandic economy.
Another AP video has close-ups and night shots of the volcano:
This ITN video focuses more on the evacuation of around 500 people, plus at least one cute kitten:
[image credit: Vilhelm Gunnersson, European Pressphoto Agency via NY Times]