How to: Lower tourists into a volcano

So, say you're an Icelandic tour company, with access to an extinct volcano (or, at least, a volcano that hasn't erupted in 4,000 years). And say you want to offer tours inside of said volcano, to tourists who don't have the rappelling experience to get themselves down and up the steep sides of the volcano's crater. How do you do it?

We use a system normally used to carry window cleaners outside of skyscrapers, an open elevator system. A basket that holds 5-6 persons is connected to a crane that has been placed vertically over the crater opening. Massive cable wires move the basket up and down the bottle-shaped vault. The 120 m/400 ft journey takes about 10 minutes to complete.

I really dig this solution!

Inside the Volcano tour, operating in Iceland through August 20.

Via Marilyn Terrell



  1. and to think, we’ve just been pushing our human sacrifices off the edge of the caldera all these years! i think madame pele prefers her offerings to be lowered gently. i mean, you want them to burn, not hit their heads on rocks.

    seriously though… this is pretty ossm. it’s definitely on the list the next time i make it to iceland.

  2. Answer: Cackle madly & whisper “yesss…yesss….” while doing so.
    Alternate answer: while chanting Latin  in dire tones.

  3. Also helps to keep the walls of the volcano nice and clean. Takes a crew a few hours with an asbestos squeegee, but it’s an important part of planetary maintenance.

  4. I had never thought about the possibility of going inside a magma chamber. It looks exactly like I’d expect it to and some of the shots look a lot like standard geology textbook diagrams!

    If you’re ever in Idaho I highly recommend Craters of the Moon National Monument, a lava field with explorable lava tubes and everything (and no time or health and safety restrictions, be careful). Probably not as good as in Hawaii (I haven’t been there myself), and not as spectacular as this one in Iceland, but easier to get to for people in the continental US. 

  5. So THIS is where the Thuggee cult worships the goddess Kali!  Isn’t there a ritual where the living heart is pulled out of the sacrificial victim, which bursts into flames when the victim is lowered into the lava below? 

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