4 Icelandic Volcanoes (Science)

Some info about four volcanoes from Iceland.

What is a volcano?

Well, a volcano is basically some sort of structure that helps hot magma escape the Earth. When magma is ready to burst out of the ground, it begins to carve through the land above it, slowly creating a cone-like structure known as a volcano. (Not all volcanoes are shaped like a cone, though.) Eventually, the volcano is done being made, and the magma bursts out of the top of it. The magma reaches the ground, and becomes lava. Eventually, that lava will harden, thus making new land.


Today, i’ll be educating you on four volcanoes from the country of Iceland.

First off, we have Eyjafjallajökull. (Ay-a-fyat-la-jo-kult) This is probably one of the more well-known Icelandic volcanoes. Eyjafjallajökull has a very long history, with eruption dates going back to 1612, and possibly even earlier. Aside from it’s long, difficult to pronounce (for most people) name, Eyjafjallajökull got a lot of attention back in March 2010. Eyjafjallajökull started erupting, and let out tons of ash. This ash was responsible for causing massive air travel disruption. Sports events were postponed, the environment was poisoned by the ash cloud, electrical storms raged near the volcano, delivery and air travel companies lost a very large amount of money, and the funeral of Polish President, Lech Kaczyński could not be attended by many people, such as U.S. President, Barack Obama.


Secondly, we have Grímsvötn. Grímsvötn is a lot younger than Eyjafjallajökull, but has still been around for quite some time. Like Eyjafjallajökull, it gained a lot of fame for its more recent eruptions. Grímsvötn’s latest eruption occurred in May of 2011. Flights from places such as Ireland, the UK, Norway, Germany, and Greenland, were cancelled or moved to a further date. The 2011 eruption was just about as destructive as Eyjafjallajökull’s 2010 eruption. And like all volcanoes, many things were covered in ash.


Next, we have Katla. Katla is a very old volcano, with eruption dates going back as far as about 930. Unlike the previously mentioned volcanoes, Eyjafjallajökull, and Grímsvötn, it’s last eruption wasn’t very recent. Katla’s most recent eruption occurred in 1918. Additionally, Katla has an interesting relationship with Eyjafjallajökull. Aside from the short distance from it’s relative, it seems that events from Katla come after Eyjafjallajökull, and vice versa. Katla hasn’t been up to much lately, however, in 2010, President of Iceland, Ólafur Grímsson, stated that the country would be prepared if Katla does erupt again.


And lastly, we have Eldfell. Eldfell is another volcano that’s last eruption wasn’t too recent. Eldfell’s latest eruption was in 1973, on about January 21st. The eruption in ‘73 was possibly one of the most unexpected and dangerous volcano eruptions to ever occur in Iceland. Lava fountains appeared and blasted into the air, evacuations were made, Houses were buried in ash, lava flows cut electricity, a power plant was destroyed, lava destroyed a processing plant and nearly ruined two others, volcanic gasses were released, and planes from Reykjavik and boats were sent to help the people near Eldfell. Eldfell is still technically active, but it may not erupt. However, there is another volcano located very close to Eldfell named Helgafell that has a good chance of following in Eldfell’s footsteps.