Iceland is an example of a destination facing a growing trend of tourists visiting volcanoes during eruptions.
The dangers posed by a growing trend in “volcano tourism” is the subject of a new study by the London-based Royal Geographical Society and the University of Cambridge, the BBC reports.
By heading towards volcanoes when they erupt or when there is the chance of an eruption, thrill-seeking tourists are putting their lives in danger and interrupting or endangering emergency services, the study stresses.
Iceland is one of the countries named in the publication, where emergency authorities are increasingly having to deal with a rising tide of tourists who rush to dangerous areas to feel the intense power of volcanoes – and to take selfies. As a result, there have been several deaths and injuries there in recent years.
The volcano tourism phenomenon has involved thousands of people worldwide trying to get close to erupting volcanoes for the physical experience.
“You can breathe the gas, hear the sounds the earth is making. They want to get closer to feel the power of the earth,” says the study’s author, Royal Geographical Society geographer Dr Amy Donovan.
There are even people who ‘chase’ exploding volcanoes around the world end, known as ‘volcanophiles’.
But tourists who get too close are often injured by chunks of rock, lava bombs or poisonous gases. Eruptions can change quickly and other threats such as flooding can emerge, Donovan points out.