Massively disappointing volcano

Yeah – after this, that might come as a surprise. But wait, there’s more. This massively disappointing volcano is also in Iceland, home of exciting stuff like whale-hunting tourism, puffin pie and the Best Landscapes In The World™.
Iceland doesn’t do “massively disappointing”. Or rather, it didn’t, until now.

Imagine my excitement upon reading this headline:

The view from inside Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur volcano

Thrihnukagigur – still way up in the top 50% of Icelandic volcanoes listed by ease of pronunciation. And now they’re going inside it:

I’m being lowered through the dome of a subterranean cathedral-like space. Above me, the volcanic crater is a small bright circle in a thin tube. Beside me rainwater runs down ripples of frozen lava and cascades into the quiet depths.

OMG! How cool? How HOT? But then anticipated amazement turns into that crushing, massive disappointment.
Because what it turns out to be is just a big cave.


And I’m not alone in thinking this way; even its discoverer – a local opthalmologist – was rather unimpressed:

On Midsummer Eve 1974 Mr Stefánsson was lowered down into it with the help of nine friends. He was really disappointed.”I dreamt about finding a drainage channel with lava falls, lava pits and formations, never seen by a human eye before,” he says.
Instead he found an expanse of bare rock with a pile of rubble at the bottom, “like a stone quarry”, he said.

And, over the intervening 41 years, bugger all has changed.

Still, there’s a video of this expanse of bare rock with a pile of rubble at the bottom, so click that link above and go and play.

Just don’t expect to be impressed.