No volcano has been as unpredictable. Eruptions have at from around 100 year intervals to the recent 10 yearly eruptions. Long periods of quiescence are followed by explosive rhyolitic eruptions and destructive ash fall.

Our reason for visiting Hekla was twofold - partly to see the geology of the volcano at first hand and climb part of the way up to the top, partly to visualise the devastation caused in the Þjórsá valley by the major eruption of 1104.

click for larger image (70Kb and 82Kb))

But first - what did we see? No that´s not actually the top of Hekla but the northern lower slopes of the 5 km long ridge which forms the backbone of the volcano. As you can see, the blowing snow obscured our view of the top today.

More information and images:

The eruption of 1970 - we drive to the north of Hekla to Skjólkvíarhraun

The Þjórsá valley and settlement - we investigate devastation from the 1104 eruption

Hekla - from the Nordic Volcanological Research Institute, Reykjavík - a good scientific summary of the geology, tephra distribution and geochemistry from NVI geoscientists.

How does a volcanic eruption look to a four year old?