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Daníel Páll Jónasson and his life-long fascination with Icelandic volcanoes

|August 19, 2022
Svetlana is a writer and brand strategist. Her favorite activity in Iceland is to head out of her adopted hometown of Reykjavik into the countryside to observe the magic of the Northern Lights.

Daníel Páll Jónasson, 40, jiggles a lot of plates. A physical geographer and photography enthusiast, who works in sales and IT for a cleaning products wholesaler, he is a father of two girls and a published author of a photography book about volcanoes — among other things. Jonasson, a Reykjavik native, said he had traveled around Iceland every year since he was a child, so “I know a bit about every place in the country.” He also really loves volcanoes— since the eruption of Fagradalsfjall in 2021, he has hiked to the site over 30 times.


 

What's your relationship with volcanoes?

I’ve been interested in geology and volcanoes ever since I saw the news footage from the eruption in Vatnajökull in 1996 and the destruction following the glacial flood in Skeiðará.

Volcano Eruption in Early Morning

Photograph by Daníel Páll Jónasson - Moss Fires

Since then I have always found eruptions both beautiful and a bit threatening. I hiked twice to the fissure eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, flew over the eruption in Holuhraun in 2014 and then I hiked 30 times to the eruption in Fagradalsfjall last year. And I’ve already been to the new eruption there, and it’s magnificent!

Woman Sitting by Erupted Volcano in Iceland

Photograph by Daníel Páll Jónasson - Mesmerized

Do you recall your first close encounter with a volcano?

I first came up close to a fissure eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. It was a spectacular experience, one that played on all the senses. Before that, I’d only seen volcanic plumes from afar.

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano Eruption in Iceland

Photograph by Daníel Páll Jónasson -Eyjafjallajökull in 2010

What are your absolutely favorite facts about volcanoes in Iceland?

How various they are. We have fissure eruptions, explosive eruptions under glaciers or water, glacial floods from eruptions, lava shields, stratovolcanoes, calderas, and so on.

Huge Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption in Iceland

Photograph by Daníel Páll Jónasson - Lava Pyramid

We actually have every type of volcano possible and the frequency of eruptions is quite high compared to other countries.

- Daníel Páll Jónasson

Hole in Hot Lava Field

Photograph by Daníel Páll Jónasson - Entrance to hell

You've published a book about the Fagradalsfjall eruption. Can you talk a little bit about it?

At first, I just took photos for fun, to post on my Facebook page, but when the praise came pouring in from friends, family and others, I realized I could use them for a photography book.

Photography Book by Daniel Pall Jonasson

Cover of the photography book by Daníel Páll Jónasson

So I ended up going 30 times to the eruption site and I took over 10.000 photos. I frequently took longer tours, for example, around the lava field, to capture moments in the eruption that most people wouldn’t be able to witness. 

Book of Erupted Volcanoes in Iceland

Photography book by Daníel Páll Jónasson

Have you hiked to the Meradalir volcano? How did you find it?

Yes, I went to the site when the eruption was only a few hours old, and I took over 200 photos and videos. I will, of course, go there again and again until the eruption is finished and then I will publish a new book.

Meradalir Erupted Volcano in Iceland

Photograph by Daniel Pall Jonasson at the Meradalir eruption in 2022

Daniel’s photographs, prints, and book are available through his own website. You can follow his weekly trips to the Meradalir volcano on Facebook.

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