Derry woman to visit active volcano close to her home

A Derry woman who lives in Iceland hopes to hike to the site of a volcano in an area close to her home which has not seen an eruption for hundreds of years.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:15 pm
The volcano erupted last weekend after thousands of earthquakes in the area.

Sinéad McCarron, who has lived in Iceland for the last 13 years, is hoping to take the trip to see the volcano at Mount Fagradalsfjall this weekend.

Thousands of people have already flocked to the site of the volcano, which is just 50 kilometres outside the capital Reykjavik, since it erupted a week ago.

Among them was Sinéad’s husband, Palli Kristjansson, who described the experience as ‘surreal’.

Sinead travelled to the outskirts of the city to see the volcano, as there were high levels of dangerous gases. She hopes to hike up to the site at the weekend if the weather is suitable, but will be unable to get as close as Palli as the lava pool has grown significantly.

During her time living in Iceland, Sinead has experienced the eruption of two other active volcanoes. She said this one is more ‘exciting’ as the others weren’t so close to her home in Reykjavik.

The volcanic eruption was preceded by thousands of other earthquakes, another new experience for Sinéad.

“We had been experiencing lots of earthquakes, over 40,000 in the last three weeks. I have always missed the really big ones in the past, but by last week I was getting really fed up of them.

“No Icelander alive has ever experienced so many earthquakes at the one time. It was constant and they gave me the sensation of sea sickness.

Sinéad McCarron, her husband Palli, children Daði and Flóki and step son Solvi celebrating the new year

“I was being woke up during the night by them and as a mother it was really unsettled, worrying about what could possibly fall on top of the wains (sons Daði and Flóki).”

However, Sinéad said that in Iceland ‘life doesn’t stop for nature’.

Once the volcano erupted, Sinéad and Palli celebrated with a bottle of champagne because they were so relieved that the earthquakes had subsided.

“It has been 800 years since the last eruption in that area and scientists are suggesting that while this is a pretty small eruption, it is the start of many in that area.”

A young rock that Palli brought home to Sinead and the rest of the family after hiking to the volcano.

Last weekend Palli made the trip out to the site, driving to the nearest town and then hiking the remaining eight kilometres,

He was able to go within 40 metres of the volcano, something which is no longer possible due to the increasing lava pool, and brought home a young rock for his family.

“Palli just keeps describing it as surreal, because it is so rare to be able to get so close to a volcano,” Sinéad said. “He said it was an overwhelming experience.”

Sinéad said that local experts are predicting that the volcano could keep going for ‘months or even years’, but it could stop tomorrow.

“The lava might fill up the volcano and stop it. Either way they believe it is now a very active area for volcanoes and it is quite exciting because it is so close to Reykjavik.”

Sinéad drove out to the edge of the city this week, as the volcano could be seen in the distance. However, at that time she could not go any closer due to the level of dangerous gasses coming from the eruption.

She hopes to hike out to the site this weekend, but that will be dependent on the weather and the level of gasses.

“The authorities are constantly measuring the level of gasses and will advise people to stay away if they are too high. In Iceand you can’t predict the weather either, so you can’t plan any more than an hour ahead.”