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 Hill 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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Google
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TripAdvisor
  • The walk to the top of Eldfell is the one every visitor to Heimaey wants to do. It's that famous volcano that spectacularly erupted out of nowhere in January 1973. I wrote a description of this walk o...  more »
  • Our guide from our day tour to Heimaey drove us around to see the volcanic lava cliffs around town from the devastation in January 1973. We stopped at a sight where the sign posted photos of the volca...  more »
  • You have the volcano Eldfell, (which you can not miss), a majestic, red nine (1973), which blends with the rest of the island green and the white houses of the 'city', it's just... There is still no word. You can climb up the volcano in 10-20 minutes, it's well good steep but fast. If you have Vertigo (like me), you will not be necessarily super comfortable on the Ridge at the top with the wind that pushes you. I sat there for a moment, and look at the landscape directly calm me. More info on our road trip in Iceland (itinerary, tips etc..) on lespitchousvoyagent.com!
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Google
  • 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.
  • Great hike and great view. Not to hard and definitely worth it.
  • Definitely worth the hike up for a great view of the island and to see the impact of the 1973 eruption.
  • Beautiful experience of mounted. an excellent view across the island and the coast of Iceland. If you are on the island it is an obligation to mount!
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  • You should necessarily walk on the volcano if you are on the island. You are here rewarded with stunning views
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