Thrihnukagigur Volcano (Thrihnukagigur — Three Peaks), located about 30 km from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, has become a popular attraction and place for tourist adventures, because it is the only dormant volcano that allows you to explore it from the inside and get to its heart. In most cases, when a volcano erupts, the magma chamber is filled with lava, which subsequently cools and hardens, blocking the entrance. But at Thrihnukagigur, the lava is believed to have simply flowed back into the bowels of the earth. The magma chamber remained intact and undamaged, making the volcano an absolutely unique place to visit.
This place definitely does not fall into the list of the most powerful volcanic eruptions. The volcano last erupted approximately 4,000 years ago, leaving an entrance approximately 4 meters by 4 meters in diameter leading to a bottle-shaped volcanic vault. The magma chamber is approximately 120 meters deep and is 1×2 meters at the bottom. An Icelandic tour operator is now providing a curious adventurous chance to explore this ancient volcano from the inside.
The basket, which holds 5–6 people, is connected to a crane that lowers it directly into the crater. The 120m descent takes approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once inside, visitors can spend up to an hour in the heart of the volcano, seeing the beautiful colors on the rock’s surface and appreciating the sheer size. The interior space is equivalent to nearly three full-size basketball courts stacked one behind the other. The height is such that a life-sized Statue of Liberty would easily fit here.
The tour is only available during the summer, given that the average temperature in the volcano is always 6°C. On May 15th, 2013 the next tour was confirmed. The idea to open Thrihnukagigur volcano for visiting came from Arnie B. Stefansson, a doctor in Reykjavik and a cave world enthusiast. He has been studying Iceland since 1954 and was the first to descend into the crater of a volcano in 1974.
Arnie insists that the conservation of caves and volcanic vaults is not conservation. Rather, it is that natural wonders must be treated with care and respect—they must be made available in the right way. “First it’s a project about conservation, then research, and finally education,” Arnie told The Guardian.
Continue reading about the highest volcanoes in the world by visiting a special selection.