Volcanic plume and clouds forming above it, I see from the balcony of my apartment. On social media, I browse through pictures of friends and strangers visiting the crater. I can see how this place has changed since the last time I was there. I think I would like to go again, but at the same time, I feel… that it doesn’t want us to be there (I refer to the volcano as “he” because although English nouns do not have genders and the Icelandic word “eldgos” is neutral too, in my native Polish language, “wulkan” is masculine, and I just feel that it’s a “he”).

The Challenge of Close Encounters

As I mentioned before, unlike the previous eruptions in the Fagradalsfjall area, this one seems the least accessible. Not just subjectively. Wild fires of moss and grass around the crater have been cutting it off from people from the beginning and were also the reason why the eruption area was closed to tourists for several days after the explosion. They are still a problem, and that’s why visiting the volcano, while possible, is not recommended. It’s as if Litli-Hrútur doesn’t want us to come close. I’ve visited it three times, and each time, I felt like those were visits barely tolerated.

Once I managed to get really close, but I felt like I was abusing its hospitality. I couldn’t establish the intimate connection with the crater that I experienced during previous eruptions. During the first one at Fagradalsfjall in 2021, when I climbed the hill surrounding the volcano, I was there all alone with it early in the morning. I recorded the sound of its eruptions, later the flowing lava, and I even felt like we became friends. This time, for some reason, I don’t have that kind of connection.

See also:  Fagradalsfjall Volcano - Season 3 Episode 1 (2023)

(more text below the picture)

fot. Magdalena Łukasiak

Respecting Nature’s Warnings

“Don’t go,” my wife said to me, listening to my doubts. “Iceland is listening to you, so you should listen to Iceland,” she added. During one of the recent interviews, a reporter told me that when she hears me talk about Iceland, she feels like I’m talking about a person who needs protection. Yes, it’s no secret that I personify the island. I believe that the entire Noise From Iceland was created by Iceland itself – I’m just documenting its beauty and framing it with my recordings – and I’m trying to spread it as far as possible in the world. I hold this place in great respect, and I want my field recordings and accompanying stories to convey the need to protect the delicate, beautiful, yet dangerous nature.

Does this mean I discourage visits to Litli-Hrútur? I don’t know. The area is accessible, controlled, and every adult has their own judgment and ability to assess risks. It bothers me when people throw stones into the lava, destroying the landscape. I am also bothered by attempts to turn the volcano into some kind of festival venue – hosting lavish dinners or playing DJ sets – because it is a primal, powerful force of nature, not a circus. But everyone has the right to do what they think is appropriate. Perhaps I am oversensitive when it comes to thinking that nature is not our property.

In any case, so far, I’ve managed to capture two sounds at Litli-Hrútur, and I don’t know when the next ones will appear. I think if I go there again in the near future, it will be primarily to meet the flowing lava, whose sound never ceases to fascinate me (I managed to capture it in the summer two years ago – link below). I no longer want to approach the crater closely. I will respect my feelings about what the volcano wants to tell me.

Click below and listen to the sounds I’ve managed to capture so far.

Sound of lava 

The sound of freshly flowing lava I recorded in the summer 2021 under Fagradalsfjall.
Volcano Season 3 Episode 1
Sounds from the first meeting with Litli-Hrútur volcano this year.
Solidifying lava from the third visit

While getting close to the volcano third time, I managed to record the sound of solidifying lava.

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