Ask the average American what he or she would be doing in the event of a nearby volcanic eruption, and I suppose the answers would include "Panic!", "Run like hell!", or "Pray". In Iceland, apparently, it's "None of the above". Its residents appear to regard a new-born volcano as an excuse for a road trip to see it for themselves - and would you believe their volcanologists apparently view red-hot lava as an opportunity for a cookout?
The BBC reports:
Thousands have flocked to a volcano in Iceland which erupted near the capital, Reykjavik.
Lava started to burst through a crack in Mount Fagradalsfjall on Friday evening, in the first eruption of its kind in more than 800 years.
The site was initially blocked off, but from Saturday afternoon people were allowed to make the trek.
"It's absolutely breath-taking," Ulvar Kari Johannsson, a 21-year-old engineer, told the AFP news agency.
"It smells pretty bad. For me what was surprising was the colours of the orange: much, much deeper than what one would expect," he added.
Scientists at the foot of the volcano were filmed cooking sausages on its lava as they studied the eruption.
There's more at the link, including several photographs of the crowd of onlookers.
My initial reaction was to ask my wife, "What about the food hygiene aspects of cooking hot dogs on bare naked rock?" Miss D. just rolled her eyes at me, and pointed out that the temperature of that bare naked rock was so high that no self-respecting germ could survive on it - so why was I worrying? I could only nod in agreement, and laugh.
Where most of us would be ducking and covering, or headed as fast as we could go in the other direction, the Icelanders treat a new volcano as an excuse for a holiday. Good for them - as long as it doesn't really blow its top and incinerate them all, along with their hot dogs!