Lava Smells Like Fourth of July

Don Barri.

Don Barri. Ljósmynd/Aðsend

“The smell [of the lava] reminded me of Fourth of July,” states American geology teacher Don Barri, who since his arrival in Iceland has twice visited the eruption site by Fagradalsfjall mountain, Southwest Iceland. The smell was strong, he notes, and reminded him of the smell of fireworks.

mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson


He was surprised by the strong smell and the unbelievable heat from the lava. The closest he could get to it was about four meters (13 ft).

He tells mbl.is he has never experienced anything like the eruption, and he hopes to see it once again when he returns next year.

Barri received a grant from the Los Angeles high school where he teaches to go on a geology expedition to Iceland. He first visited the eruption site on June 14, along with an Icelandic friend.

Traveling in South Iceland.

Traveling in South Iceland. Ljósmynd/Aðsend

This was the first time he saw flowing lava with his own eyes. He is excited to share his experience with his students, and notes that they find his lectures much more interesting when he speaks from personal experience. He states he is constantly encouraging his students to visit Iceland to see the landscape. This is his fourth visit to the country.

mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon


He first came here with his wife in 2015. For a geologist like myself, something about Iceland changed my life, he relates. This is such a beautiful place, and because there is so much I can teach my students about Iceland and geography, I always want to return here, he admits.

His plan is to travel all around Iceland, with stops at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, on Reynisfjara beach, in the town of Húsavík, at Mývatn lake and in Akureyri, North Iceland, before returning to the US.

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