Inside the Volcano – Part 1/2

Close to Reykjavík, Iceland, amid the bleak but hauntingly beautiful lavascape of the Reykjanes peninsula, lies the trio of peaks Þríhnjúkagígar (Thrihnjukagigar, which translates to ‘three peaks craters’). What distinguishes this crater that has lain dormant for 4000 years is its allowance for a vertical descent into its magma chamber. Following several years of study and groundwork by a team lead by Icelandic doctor and environmentalist Árni B. Stefánsson, the tour Inside the Volcano began operations last month, offering controlled access to small guided groups.

We made the sortie on the morning of July 19. The first installment of this two-part photo essay deals with getting to the Þríhnjúkagígar base station after a trek of of 4.5 Kms through the lava field, the second part covers the actual drop into the cavern.

In my backpack I carried two Canon EOS 5D Mark III bodies and three lenses (Canon Tilt-Shift 17mm f/4 L, Canon Tilt-Shift 24mm f/3.5 L II, and Zeiss ZE 50mm f/2 Makro Planar).

 
Location of the volcano

Location of Þríhnjúkagígar (Thrihnjukagigar)
Courtesy: Google Earth

 

The morning was overcast and moist, a near perfect setting for this austere landscape. We assembled near the parking lot for a briefing by our assigned guide Þórunn.

Briefing before the trek to the crater

All set to head out
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Volcanic scape of Reykjanes

Lavascape of Reykjanes
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Our lovely guide Þórunn

Our lovely guide Þórunn
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

The 50 minutes hike across the lava field is fairly easy but more challenging than a leisurely stroll through Keukenhof. A good pair of hiking shoes with ankle support is essential to forfend damage to body parts.

The trek begins

The trek begins
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Three at last!

The three peaks of Þríhnjúkagígar

The three peaks of Þríhnjúkagígar come into view
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 

At the base station we were welcomed by the Inside the Volcano team and decorated with harnesses and helmets.

Base station next to Þríhnjúkagígar

Base station
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Electric generators power the operation

Electric generators power the operation
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Path to Þríhnjúkagígur

Path leading to the crater
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 

Continued in Part 2.

 
 
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