While living in Iceland, we noticed a huge column of steam a pretty good distance away. The sky was clear and blue and nobody knew what it was. We wondered all day; it never went away and looked exactly the same every time we would look at it. We found out the next day that it was an unexpected volcanic eruption and we were seeing the column of steam as the lava poured into the sea. We never saw any lava erupting from our distance.
Several of the military guys volunteered to go and help shovel ash out of the homes, which were being buried. He took some photos and brought back a hunk of lava he picked up with gloves while it was still hot. He gave it to me and I have it in a box somewhere.
What makes this a serendipitous story....the Icelandic government contracted with Peerless Pump to manage pumping the seawater onto the lava to redirect it and save the harbor. My uncle in Indiana worked for this company. He was sitting at his desk when his boss came through and asked if anybody was willing to go to Iceland to manage this assignment. Not a plum job, of course.
My uncle looked up and said "my niece is in Iceland, I will go". What a treat for two lonely twenty-somethings in the land of Frost and Fire! He stayed in the capital city in a lovely hotel. He seemed to enjoy the trip, except he could not believe how expensive the eggs and bacon were at breakfast (we told him he was supposed to be eating the smoked fish and skyr!!!)
Here is the scrapbook page I made with the photos.