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Eternal Enigma: The Vanishing of Two German Scientists at Askja

In the heart of Iceland’s untamed landscapes, a fateful expedition in 1907 etched an enduring enigma into the annals of exploration. Led by the young German scientist Walter von Knebel, a rising star in European volcanology, the quest unfolded on the shores of Lake Askja. Knebel, a mere 27 years old, had already made his mark, his curiosity kindled by the volcanoes of the Canary Islands.

Knebel’s fascination led him to Iceland in 1905, where he painted vivid landscapes and embarked on a journey into the geological heart of the country, venturing from the Reykjanes peninsula to the majestic Mt. Hekla and the tranquil expanse of Lake Mývatn. His connection with the land deepened, leading to his return two years later, accompanied by fellow explorers: Hans Spethmann, a budding geologist, and Max Rudloff, a painter. With Ögmundur Sigurðsson as their guide, they converged on Askja, driven by a shared thirst for discovery.

July 10, 1907, marked a turning point. On the tranquil surface of Öskjuvatn, Knebel and Rudloff set out in a small boat, unknowingly embarking on their final journey. As the days passed and their absence weighed heavily, their fiancée and fellow scientists initiated a search, their hopes dimming as the unyielding landscape refused to relinquish its secrets.

Speculations arose of seismic disturbances, a land altered by unknown forces. The threads of time did little to unravel the puzzle, and despite determined efforts, no trace of the intrepid explorers or their vessel emerged. In 2014, a monumental landslide rekindled the debate, its echoes reaching back to that mysterious summer over a century ago.

The mists of Askja hold close the truth, an enigma that endures, whispering of vanished dreams and unsolved mysteries. The legacy of the German scientists Knebel and Rudloff lives on, a testament to the enduring fascination of exploration and the silent secrets of the earth.

Media contact: Orly Orlyson +354 848 7600