Into Thrihnukagigur Volcano July 2017

Thrihnukagigur, literally translates to Three Peaks Crater, is a dormant volcano about 30km southeast of Reykjavik.  The last eruption was in the 2nd century BC about 4,000 years ago.  Ever wondered what the inside of a volcano looks like? This is the only volcano in the world where you can descend 120 meters into the magma chamber via an open cable lift.   The magma chamber and its passageways cover an area equivalent to 3 basketball courts with the height of the Statue of Liberty.  The inside of the chamber is a spectrum of color because of centuries of housing the magma.  It is here in the magma chamber where liquid rock waits to spew out during an eruption.  Usually, after a volcano erupts, the crater is closed up by the cold and hard lava.  Thrihnukagigur is different in that the magma solidified into the walls or simply retreated back to the depths of the earth so that we can go inside today.  This place was discovered by some hikers who then returned together with National Geographic for a more thorough investigation.  The operators today purchased the equipment such as the open cable lift etc from the expedition team and now operate tours for visitors.  We were told that every winter, they pack up all the equipment such as spotlights, barriers, as well as the lift.  They will return after the snowy winter and clean up all the snow inside the volcano before setting everything up all over again.  We were picked up in town and dropped off at the Blue Mountains Country Park where we had to then hike about an hour across a lava field to arrive at the crater.  We were supposed to go in the morning but there was a storm and was extremely windy so our tour got postponed until later in the afternoon.  Even then, it was pouring rain and sometimes the wind was so strong I felt like I would be blown across the lava field like a plastic bag.  After an hour in the rain and wind, we finally arrived at base camp where we got into our safety helmets and harness in order to enter the volcano.

DSCF5984Hiking across the lava field in the rain and wind.  Basically can’t see anything in front of you.


DSCF6088Base camp where we put on our safety helmets and harness and leave our stuff.  After the visit inside the volcano, they also offer some hot soup which was extremely soothing.


DSCF5997Short uphill hike to the entrance of the volcano.  This bit was extremely windy!! I had to hunker down and grab the metal chains along the path!



DSCF6081About 10 of us (including a guide and the lift engineer) can fit inside the open cable lift each time.


DSCF6023Open cable lift


IMG_20170714_213820_497Me in my safety gear…. not too flattering I must say….





DSCF6057Looking up at the opening to the volcano


To be inside the chamber of a volcano is both awesome and intimidating.  The colors left by the minerals in the lava are truly mesmerizing.  It was worth the miserable trek in the rain and wind.  What an experience and what a privilege!

Next post will be on the Golden Circle Tour in Iceland.  Stay tuned!

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