The 1973 lava - effects on life and property

special harbour report

During the earlier days of the eruption, the town was buried in large amounts of ash. This was eventually cleaned away in an amazing feat of voluntary work. The effects of the lava flow, on the other hand were not so easily reversed. Over 200 houses now lie underneath the new lava. To some extent, the western edge nearest the town has been dynamited and cleared. Not all the effects were negative either. The entrance to the harbour was greatly improved by the new lava, which now provides shelter from the prevailing southeast winds.

Ruined gable wall stands as monument to natures forces. Over 200 houses lie beneath the lava.

Houses escaped by a hair´s breadth in some cases. Pioneering experiments to cool the lava edge with water pumping proved successful and doubtless helped divert the flow away from the town to a large extent.


The road runs in the direction of Eldfell and along the lava edge, which here has been cleared and modified to some extent.

special harbour report