For the first time in history scientists have descended 650 feet into the magma chamber of a volcano. These incredible images show one explorer gently lowering himself into the heart of the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano in Iceland. When it last erupted 3000 years ago, superheated molten rock from the depths of the Earth’s crust spewed from this magma chamber to help create the Atlantic island we call Iceland. Since then, it has been known as the “sleeping volcano.”
Only now – 50 years since the first man went into space – have human beings visited the only magma chamber on the planet currently safe to explore.
The team were made up of two scientists and 15 support staff, including expert mountaineers accompanied by a film crew and a photographer to document the historic event. By physically visiting a magma chamber the scientists were able to learn valuable lessons about the complicated plumbing system of the volcano as they looked to draw comparisons with how the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted. Last March Eyjafjallajokull caused global chaos when it erupted, grounding aeroplanes and leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded.