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Fox News
Fox News
16 Nov 2023


Fears of a volcanic eruption have led to the closure of the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the town of Grindavik, not far from the international airport. The spa's temporary closure occurred after a series of rattling earthquakes. Grindavik has now been evacuated.

Blue Lagoon geothermal spa sign

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa located in a lava field near Grindavik. (Danuta Hamlin)

The country "Iceland" has the word "ice" in its name, but ice is not the problem here. The path leading to the steamy lagoon demonstrates that.

Iceland’s terrain is earth still in the making. There are lava rocks as far as the eye can see, and patches of billowing steam add to the atmosphere.

People in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa

Tourists enjoying the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. (Danuta Hamlin)

The enormous, natural outdoors jacuzzi is heated by volcanic lava bubbling underneath.

ICELAND DISPATCHES BULLDOZER TO BUILD VOLCANO DEFENSES AS FEARS PERSIST OF IMMINENT ERUPTION

Iceland sits in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Rift, which makes it a hotbed for geothermal activity.  There are over 130 volcanoes here, as well as a variety of geysers and volcanic fissures.

Scenery of Iceland

Iceland water and mountains.  (Danuta Hamlin)

It makes for a dramatic landscape, but the dangers of an eruption lurk in the conscious of the inhabitants.

The 1947 eruption of Mt. Hekla was the first volcanic eruption in Iceland to be photographed and filmed, and Fox Movietone News was there to bring the coverage to American moviegoers.

Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital lit up at night

Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at night. (Danuta Hamlin)

Iceland is a Nordic nation. The first people said to have explored this frigid island were the Vikings from Norway, who settled here as early as the ninth century. They were hardened Norsemen accustomed to braving cold elements.

They created an Icelandic Commonwealth, which eventually fell under Danish rule. Iceland became an independent republic in 1944.

ICELAND OFFICIALS SAY ‘HIGH’ VOLCANIC ERUPTION POSSIBILITY AS HUNDREDS OF EARTHQUAKES HIT REGION

Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church in Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church in Reykjavik. (Danuta Hamlin)

Not far from the fishing town of Grindavík sits the capital city of Reykjavik. With over 123,000 inhabitants, it’s the most populous city in Iceland. Its most recognizable landmark is Hallgrímskirkja, a Lutheran parish church, one of the tallest structures in the country. 

Leif Eriksson statue in Reykjavik

Leif Eriksson statue in Reykjavik. (Danuta Hamlin)

In front of the church, stands the statue of Icelandic Viking hero, Leifur Eiríksson (aka Leif Eriksson). This monument was a gift to Iceland from the United States in 1929.  Erikson, the son of Erik the Red, is thought to be the first European man to set foot in mainland North America, around the year 1000.

TOURISTS FLEE POPULAR ICELAND SPA AFTER 'EARTHQUAKE SWARM' RAISES FEARS OF VOLCANIC ACTIVITY

Gift shop called The Viking in Reykjavik

The Viking gift shop in Reykjavik. (Danuta Hamlin)

Iceland is proud of its Viking heritage, and all sorts of souvenirs relating to the Viking culture can be bought here.

The island is not very well suited for agriculture, and the traditional Icelandic cuisine may surprise some visitors. Smoked Puffin and Whale Pepper Steak are on the menu.

Sign displayed with the dinner special in Reykjavik

Dinner special in Reykjavik. (Danuta Hamlin)

Christmas, known as "Jól" (Yule) here, is Iceland’s favorite holiday. Oddly enough, for a country with such a small population, they boast not just one but thirteen slightly mischievous Santa Clauses.

Mailbox for letters to 13 Icelandic Santas

Letters to the 13 Icelandic Santas can be dropped off here in Reykjavik. (Danuta Hamlin)

This picturesque island, known for glaciers, hot springs and its natural beauty, remains on edge, holding its breath as it awaits to see whether the current seismic activity will awaken another volcanic giant.

Danuta Hamlin joined Fox News Channel in 1997.  She is the author of two books: The Manuscript and "Camp Nel."