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Icelandic man gets naked next to erupting volcano

(CNN) — Stripping off a few layers when things heat up can often be the most natural thing in the world.

Few of us, however, would attempt it in front of a crowd of hundreds while stood in front of a volcano spewing lava.

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But adventure tour guide Sveinn Snorri Sighvatsson has gone viral for doing just that during a visit to Geldingadalur in Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula.
His impromptu striptease took place as revelers gathered at the site of the erupting volcano to watch the remarkable display, which began last Friday.
Sighvatsson, who works for tour company I Am Iceland, was asked to model the Pit Viper shades as a favor and decided to take things up a gear to ensure maximum exposure.

A volcano in Iceland erupted after tens of thousands of earthquakes disturbed the magma underground.

“My friends and I were joking about naked pictures in the lava field,” he tells CNN Travel. “One of my friends is a photographer and he was telling me about these sunglasses. So I said, ‘get your camera ready, I’m going to take my clothes off.'”

The photographer who captured the moment was Norris Niman, who says he knew Sighvatsson was “the was the perfect man for a shot in the freshly formed lava field.”

“A festival is not a true festival unless someone gets naked,” adds Niman. “And this one was of course no exception.”

Maximum exposure

Sveinn Snorri Sighvatsson says the heat was “gripping into his skin” as he posed nude near the Geldingadalur.

Courtesy Norris Niman

But undertaking an off-the-cuff photoshoot beside an eruption site was no easy task, and is definitely not to be recommended. In fact, visitors have been instructed not to gather too near to the lava fountains.

“It was like standing too close to a big bonfire,” adds Niman. “So we had about a minute to snap this collection while rotating around so as not to roast either side too much and with a big crowd watching.”

While his experience as an adventure guide meant he was able to assess the danger and “get in and out” quickly, Sighvatsson stresses that anyone who “doesn’t know what they’re doing” should stay on upper ground and avoid going near the lava fields.

“People are not aware of the gasses that are there,” he says. “It’s ok to stay above it [the volcano] on the higher ground, there you are completely safe. But going down into it can be really, really dangerous.

“A heavy wind was blowing on Sunday, so the gasses went into the opposite direction and we were fine staying close to the lava field. But if there is no wind, you don’t go down there.”

Although the shoot took less than a few minutes, hundreds of people were there to witness it and the moment found it way onto the Internet.

‘This eruption is something else’

Huge crowds have been flocking to Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano, which began spewing out lava on March 19.

Huge crowds have been flocking to Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano, which began spewing out lava on March 19.

JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Sighvatsson and Niman seem to be enjoying the attention brought about by their eruptive photoshoot, and while commentators haven’t been focusing their attention on the sunglasses too much, their unnamed friend is pretty pleased with how things turned out as well.

“He actually sent a message saying that that was the picture he was waiting for,” says Sighvatsson, who has been back to see the volcano a couple of times over the past few days.

“I have seen every eruption here on the island since 1991, but this is something else.”

As crowds continued to gather at Geldingadalur, which is still spewing out lava, Icelandic authorities have set up a hiking trail to regulate the large numbers of visitors and the area is patrolled regularly in order to ensure everyone stays safe.

“With the caveat though, don’t go too close.”

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