Hekla is a strato-volcano in the south of Iceland with a height of 1,491 metres. Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes. Over 20 eruptions have occurred in and around the volcano since 874. The earliest recorded eruption of Hekla took place in 1104. The longer Hekla stays dormant the more catastrophic its eruption will be. The most recent eruption was on the 26 February 2000 but it is overdue for another eruption.


Katla is one of the largest volcanoes in Iceland. It is situated to the north of Vík í Mýrdal and to the east of the smaller glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Its peak reaches 1,512 metres and is partially covered by the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Since Iceland was settled in the ninth century Katla has erupted on average every 60 years but it has not had a significant eruption since 1918. Eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in 1612 and 1821-23 were followed within months by eruptions of Katla. The volcano has been showing signs of unrest since 1999.  

The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010

President of Iceland at the time of Eyjafjallajökull


Olafur Grimsson

In April 2010 almost three thousand small earthquakes were detected near the volcano all having a depth of 7–10 kilometres. On 26 February 2010 unusual seismic activity along with rapid expansion of the Earth's crust was registered by the Meteorological Institute of Iceland. This gave geophysicists evidence that magma was pouring from underneath the crust into the magma chamber of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and that pressure stemming from the process caused the huge crustal displacement at Þorvaldseyri farm. The seismic activity continued to increase and from 3–5 March close to 3,000 earthquakes were measured at the epicentre of the volcano. The eruption is thought to have begun on 20 March 2010 about 8 kilometres east of the top crater of the volcano on Fimmvörðuháls the high neck between Eyjafjallajökull and the neighbouring icecap Mýrdalsjökull. This first eruption in the form of a fissure vent did not occur under the glacier and was smaller in scale than had been expected by some geologists. The fissure opened on the north side of Fimmvörðuháls directly across the popular hiking trail between Skógar south of the pass and Þórsmörk immediately to the north. On 14 April 2010 Eyjafjallajökull resumed erupting after a brief pause this time from the top crater in the centre of the glacier causing jökulhlaup (meltwater floods) to rush down the nearby rivers and requiring 800 people to be evacuated. This eruption was explosive due to meltwater getting into the volcanic vent. It was estimated to be ten to twenty times larger than the previous one in Fimmvörðuháls. This second eruption threw volcanic ash several kilometres up in the atmosphere which led to air travel disruption in northwest Europe for six days. Eyjafjallajökull has been fairly quiet since 2010.

Iceland sits astride the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which is an integral part of the global mid-oceanic ridge system. This ridge is a 40.000 km crack in the ocean floor caused by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge has made Iceland into a landmass between the submarine Reykjanes Ridge to the SW and the Kolbeinsey Ridge to the north, and has been active during the last 20-25 million years, broadly coinciding with the time-span of active volcanism in Iceland.


In the last 48 hours there has been 159 earthquakes up to 09.51 hours on Sunday 28 November.

On Wednesday 24 November there was a 3.2 mag earthquake at 16.41 hrs 6.7 km SSW of Eldeyjarboði. On Friday 26 November at 03.17 hrs there was a 3.5 mag earthquake 0.8 km W of Vatnafjöll at a depth of 4.4 km.









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Icelandic News : 

Update Sunday 7 November : Since the year 2000, when Hekla volcano, South Iceland, last erupted, inflation has steadily increased in the mountain, Páll Einarsson, geophysicist and professor emeritus tells Morgunblaðið. He adds that already in 2006, the inflation was as extensive as what it had been before the 2000 eruption. Since then, you could say the volcano has been ready for an eruption. There are no visible signs of that, though. “Hekla is not used to showing any sign of an imminent eruption until a short while before it occurs,” Páll states. “That’s what makes it so dangerous.”The last time Hekla erupted, it gave only a 79 minute notice. In 1980, the notice it gave was no more than 23 minutes.

Update Friday 19 November: The Earth continues to tremble in the vicinity of Hekla volcano, South Iceland, Morgunblaðið reports. Four earthquakes of magnitude 3 or more were detected yesterday in the Vatnafjöll mountains, south of Hekla. The largest one occurred at 13:21 hours and measured 3.8. Those earthquakes are part of a seismic swarm that began in the area on November 11. Last night, 40 tremors had registered in the region during the previous 48 hours. The Icelandic Met Office received reports of the largest earthquakes having been detected in the towns of Hvolsvöllur and Hella, South Iceland. According to the Icelandic Met Office, the earthquakes are not believed to indicate that an eruption in Hekla volcano is imminent. The largest earthquake in this seismic swarm hit on November 11, measuring 5.2 in magnitude. At the time, Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, geophysicist, stated that in all likelihood, the earthquake was tied to the tectonic plate boundary in South Iceland.

Ice sheet in Grimsvotm subsiding - Thursday 25 November: The ice sheet has now subsided about 60 cm in the last few days and the speed of subsidence has increased in the past 24 hours. The ice sheet has continued to subside evenly throughout the night. IMO´s GPS instruments show that is has sunk about 25 cm since 10:00 yesterday. There are no signs of increased water level, electrical conductivity or gas in Gígjukvísl at this time.


See the video: Published by Sky News showing the rapid melting of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier  >>>