The presenters of the British motor action television series Top Gear drove a modified jeep onto new scorching hot lava on the Fimmvörduháls mountain pass yesterday. Although the tires had been cooled, one of them caught fire.
The eruption seen from Mýrdalsjökull. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson traveled to the eruption zone with the Top Gear crew. He said the eruption is continuing with the same force as yesterday.
“Yesterday we had magnificent weather. We got the worst possible and the best possible Icelandic weather,” Sigurdsson said. The tour began in a blizzard last night and it took ten hours to cross the glacier.
The volcanologist said the Top Gear crew had wanted bad weather and their wish was certainly granted.
“I have worked with many television crews before but never people who were as energetic as these men,” Sigurdsson said. “Even thought there was a crazy blizzard they always kept one jeep in front of the car where James May, the series’ presenter, and I were seated. They always had the back window open with a large camera sticking out. There was a huge pile of snow in their car. But they never stopped shooting.”
The crew was assisted by the Kópavogur search and rescue team and safety regulations were followed at all time, Sigurdsson stressed.
Modified jeeps from Arctic Trucks were used during the expedition. “They had a car which the Brits had driven to the North Pole once. Now they changed it so that it could be used for an eruption,” the volcanologist explained.
Sigurdsson said the sight when they reached the crater had been amazing. “It is block lava and it is just brown and black during the day. At night you can see that it is glowing, full of glowing holes,” he described.