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Inside the Volcano

By Laura Blake

Posted: 24th March 2014 10:55

Gather your wits about you and journey to the centre of the earth…Jules Verne, eat your heart out.  Since 2012, Iceland’s hottest (yeah, we went there) tourist attraction has invited thousands of bold explorers to descend into the chilly depths of Thrihnukagigur Volcano to see what the world looks like from the inside.


Lying dormant for over 4,000 years, Thrihnukagigur (we can’t pronounce it either) shows no sign of waking up any time soon.  The volcano’s name directly translates to ‘Three Peaks Crater’ and was named by Árni B. Stefánsson; the world’s leading speleologist (the scientific study of caves) Stefánsson was, in 1994, the first to explore the empty vault.  He immediately saw its potential and campaigned for years to make it accessible to the public. 

Located in the protected, sublimely beautiful Bláfjöll Country Park, all eager adventurers need is the willingness to undertake a moderate 45 minute hike to the crater, and the guts to descend 400 feet to the bottom of the chamber in an open cable lift.  Visitors are literally swallowed up by the earth – despite the slow, steady descent, cold air will rush past your face as you inch through the gloom.  As the expert guides will tell you, looking down is very much encouraged – as the glistening lava-encrusted walls slowly come into focus, you will be immediately struck by the awe-inspiring power of the earth.  The drop is twice the size of the Statue of Liberty, and the chamber’s bed (when you finally reach it) is equivalent to three basketball courts.  Carefully and eerily lit, the chamber walls shine in all their glory; tinted indigo, amber and burnt orange by iron oxide, you will be struck by just how unfathomable and humbling your surroundings seem.  Surely this is a place that humans were never meant to see. 

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