• Bjorn Steinbekk, a drone pilot from Reykjavik, captured footage of the eruption at the Fagradalsfjall volcano
  • He flew his drone above flows of lava running down the mountainside and then over the main vent itself
  • Mr Steinbekk was one of hundreds of tourists who flocked to the crater at the weekend to see the rare sight
  • Fagradalsfjall began erupting on Friday for the first time in many millennia  

By JACK NEWMAN and CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE 

PUBLISHED: 13:04 AEDT, 22 March 2021 | UPDATED: 02:22 AEDT, 23 March 2021

Incredible drone footage has captured lava spewing out of a volcano in Iceland that erupted for the first time in 6,000 years last week – as thousands of tourists flock to the crater and even grill food over the liquid magma.

Bjorn Steinbekk, a drone pilot from Reykjavik, recorded the video on Sunday at the Fagradalsfjall crater in Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, where an eruption began on Friday last week.

Crowds have since rushed to the volcano to get a glimpse of the rare natural phenomenon, with Mr Steinbekk among them. On Monday, visitors were spotted toasting marshmallows and hotdogs over the molten rock.

The awe-inspiring footage captures a river of lava flowing out of the main vent and down the side of the volcano in what could easily be mistaken for footage from a video game.

Mr Steinbekk then flew his drone over the main vent as it spewed lava, travelling straight through a plume of molten pieces of rock which go whizzing past the camera lens. Incredible drone footage has captured the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland, after it began spewing lava for the first time in 6,000 years on Friday last week+28

Incredible drone footage has captured the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland, after it began spewing lava for the first time in 6,000 years on Friday last weekBjorn Steinbekk, a drone pilot and photographer from Reykjavik, flew his aircraft along lava flows coming out of the sides of the volcano and then above its main vent as lava spewed out of the top+28

Bjorn Steinbekk, a drone pilot and photographer from Reykjavik, flew his aircraft along lava flows coming out of the sides of the volcano and then above its main vent as lava spewed out of the topTourists have rushed to the edge of the active volcano in Iceland which is spewing out molten lava after it erupted for the first time in 6,000 years this week+28

  • Tourists have rushed to the edge of the active volcano in Iceland which is spewing out molten lava after it erupted for the first time in 6,000 years this weekCrowds gathered around near Fagradalsfjall, a mountain on the Reykjanes Peninsula, on Sunday to watch the incredible natural phenomenon+28

Crowds gathered around near Fagradalsfjall, a mountain on the Reykjanes Peninsula, on Sunday to watch the incredible natural phenomenonStreams of red lava bubbled and flowed out of a fissure in a valley in Geldingadalur on the southwest of the island in the rare sight+28

Streams of red lava bubbled and flowed out of a fissure in a valley in Geldingadalur on the southwest of the island in the rare sightThe last eruption in the surrounding area took place 900 years ago and the public have been warned to stay away+28

The last eruption in the surrounding area took place 900 years ago and the public have been warned to stay away

The volcano is located only about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital Reykjavik and can be reached after a 90-minute hike from the nearest road.

‘It’s absolutely breathtaking,’ says Ulvar Kari Johannsson, a 21-year-old engineer who spent his Sunday visiting the scene.

‘It smells pretty bad. For me what was surprising was the colours of the orange: much, much deeper than what one would expect,’ he tells AFP.

The incandescent lava bubbles and spurts from a small cone in the Geldingadalur valley, piling up in the basin and slowly turning a thick black as it cools.

Some 300,000 cubic metres (10.5 million cubic feet) of lava have poured out of the ground so far, according to experts, although the eruption is considered relatively small and controlled.

‘For me it’s the heat that really surprised me. When we approached the lava flowing on the ground, the temperature rose by 10-15 degrees and our faces flushed,’ says Emilie Saint-Mleux, a French exchange student in Iceland who came with two friends.

‘It reminds you a little of a barbecue in summer,’ jokes her friend Lucille Fernemont.

Access to the site was blocked in the first hours after the eruption. Authorities then lifted the roadblocks but discouraged visits, but by Saturday afternoon visitors were allowed – under strict guidelines.

‘We are just here to look after the people and see that everything is okay. And just watch that the people are not going too close to the lava and asking them step back,’ explains Atli Gunnarsson, a 45-year-old police officer, donning a yellow hardhat with a gas mask in hand. 

ShareThe eruption occurred on Friday around 8.45pm GMT, lighting up the night sky with a crimson glow as hundreds of small earthquakes shook the area+28

The eruption occurred on Friday around 8.45pm GMT, lighting up the night sky with a crimson glow as hundreds of small earthquakes shook the areaA view of the volcano eruption in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland on Sunday+28

A view of the volcano eruption in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland on Sunday Many ignored the advice to stay clear of the volcano and the gases it is emitting as they climbed to get a front row seat for the awesome natural display.+28

Many ignored the advice to stay clear of the volcano and the gases it is emitting as they climbed to get a front row seat for the awesome natural display.Lava flows from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano some 25 miles west of the Icelandic capital Reykjavik+28

Lava flows from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano some 25 miles west of the Icelandic capital ReykjavikAs the lava flow slowed under rain showers on Saturday, a blue gas plume and a vapour cloud rose from the site+28

A small recurring beep can be heard around the emergency crews. They’re carrying devices that measure gas pollution, especially sulphur dioxide, which can pose a danger to health and even be fatal.

Early Monday, authorities again blocked the site due to high levels of gas pollution.  

While eruptions are common in Iceland, with one taking place about every five years on average, they usually occur far from populated zones, in inaccessible areas. Others are too dangerous to allow public access.

This time, the curious can inspect the lava up close after a six-kilometre (four-mile) hike from a road near the fishing port of Grindavik, the closest populated town with 3,500 inhabitants, not far from the famed tourist destination, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

By Sunday, the throngs of hikers trodding across the volcanic moss had already left a visible trail to the Geldingadalur valley. Sunday hikers look at the lava flowing from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano as they climbed towards the active site+28

Sunday hikers look at the lava flowing from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano as they climbed towards the active siteFriday's eruption took place in the Krysuvik volcanic system, which does not have a central volcano, about three miles inland from the southern coast+28

Friday’s eruption took place in the Krysuvik volcanic system, which does not have a central volcano, about three miles inland from the southern coastEarthquake hazards coordinator Kristin Jonsdottir said it was 'very likely the eruption will last for the next few days'+28

Earthquake hazards coordinator Kristin Jonsdottir said it was ‘very likely the eruption will last for the next few days’Sigurdur Kristmundsson, a 54-year-old Grindavik port official, told AFP that locals were exhilarated by the eruption+28

Sigurdur Kristmundsson, a 54-year-old Grindavik port official, told AFP that locals were exhilarated by the eruptionGases from a volcanic eruption - especially sulphur dioxide - can be elevated in the immediate vicinity, and may pose a danger to health and even be fatal+28

Gases from a volcanic eruption – especially sulphur dioxide – can be elevated in the immediate vicinity, and may pose a danger to health and even be fatal