Stop Taking Volcano Selfies, Experts Warn

Stop Taking Volcano Selfies, Experts Warn

Tourists are being discouraged from visiting erupting volcanoes around the world in an effort to reduce the number of accidents, a phenomenon that is partly fueled by people seeking to photograph themselves in exciting locations.

The UK’s Royal Geographic Society is warning that visitors are exposing themselves to unnecessary risks and undermining the work of emergency services as a result of their desire to capture images of volcanoes erupting. Tourists fail to realize the dangers posed by falling rocks, explosive lava, noxious gases, and rocks and particles flung into the air by the volcano, not to mention lava flows that may move faster than expected and can easily leave people stranded. In addition, the approach to a volcano can be perilous; in Iceland in 2010, two people were killed while crossing a glacier in order to get closer to a crater.

Speaking to the BBC, geographer Amy Donavan suggested that the rise of mobile phone technology has meant that capturing natural phenomena is more appealing and accessible. Selfie culture has already been seen to have had an effect on certain sensitive locations; recently, it was reported that the vast number of visitors to Mount Aspiring in New Zealand was having an impact on the delicate alpine ecosystem.

Certainly, some volcanic sites are much safer than media would have you believe, as suggested by this side-by-side footage of television presenter Bear Grylls visiting Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii.

However, many sites offer genuine threats to people’s safety, as proven by the experiences of this film crew who were caught up in explosions caused by Mount Etna in Sicily last year.

Lead photo by Julien Millet.

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Deleted Account's picture

OR! We allow nature to decide who is smart enough to survive. At some point stupid proofing everything is making the world a worse place overall.


Nick Viton's picture

People die every day man... people die, every day... So what if we lose a few stupid people? amirite?

Deleted Account's picture

Can't pass along the "Lack of self-awareness behavior". I get that these are real people with loved ones but I mean... It gets really hard to feel bad.

Elan Govan's picture this a perfectly good argument for another form of Darwinian natural selection in play?

chrisrdi's picture

I hey i say break out the awards. lets see how many people win one.

Simon Patterson's picture

The self appointed "tourist police" sure are getting a lot of publicity lately. I hope the fad ends soon.

revo nevo's picture

Thank god we have experts

Lee Stirling's picture

If someone is hurt or killed taking a foolish risk to capture a selfie, it's a sad thing. You can't make every place safe in order to protect the few people willing to risk their lives to take that photo. Risky behaviors like reckless driving or train track selfies can certainly have an impact on other people and result in their injury or death in addition to the photographer, and should be prosecuted and restricted. But I don't think it's reasonable (financially and logistically) to try and protect people from themselves in all circumstances. In fact, doing so may negatively impact others trying to enjoy the same places (think fences and barriers along the Grand Canyon). Actions have consequences. Let's not forget that.

Deleted Account's picture

Like they say, "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes"

I'm for calling this type of death "Suiselfies"

Matthew Saville's picture

"Stop Taking Selfies"

There, I fixed the headline for you.

Mark Schultz's picture

Dumb Dogs Die.......just saying.