Eldfell, Heimaey Island

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Eldfell is a volcanic cone just over 200m high on the Icelandic island of Heimaey. It formed in a volcanic eruption which began on the eastern side of Heimaey in the Westman Islands on 23 January 1973. This came without any sign of warning. The name of Eldfell means Mountain of Fire in Icelandic.The eruption caused a major crisis for the island and nearly led to its permanent evacuation. Volcanic ash fell over most of the island, destroying around 400 homes, and a lava flow threatened to close off the harbour, the island's main income source via its fishing fleet. An operation was mounted to cool the advancing lava flow by pumping sea water onto it, which was successful in preventing the loss of the harbour.After the eruption, the islanders used heat from the cooling lava flows to provide hot water and to generate electricity. They also used some of the extensive tephra, fall-out of airborne volcanic material, to extend the runway at the island's small airport, and as landfill, on which 200 new houses were built.BackgroundIceland is a region of frequent volcanic activity, due to its location astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian Plates are moving apart, and also over the Iceland hotspot, which greatly enhances the volcanic activity. It is estimated that a third of all the basaltic lava erupted in the world in recorded history has been produced by Icelandic eruptions.
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Eldfell Reviews
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39 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 11, 2017
    Amazing views. Bring kids to warm their hands in holes on top do volcano. They will love it. Not terrible hike. It was the safest hike we did during our visit of Westman Islands. Westman Islands trip ...  more »
  • July 24, 2017
    The walk/climb to the top is not that long, but it can be a bit difficult, especially if the weather starts acting out. But the view on the city, on the hills, on the volcano, on the sea, on the islan...  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    this volcano spewed lava all over. people were evacuated by boats and planes. they have sign of the streets and peoples names where house once stood.  more »

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