GEO.

Vestmannaeyjar and Hekla

 


A field trip to the Vestmann Islands, where an eruption took place in 1973 forms part of a joint course entitled Volcanic Eruption and Civilization run by the Earth Science and History Departments at Hamrahlíð College. This course has proved very popular with students, who not least enjoy the adventurous field trips which form a large part of thecourse. As well as the Vestmannaeyjar field trip, weekend trips are made to the site of the huge 1783 Skaftáreldar eruption (often referred to as the Laki eruption in foreign literature) and Hekla which is one of the country´s most active volcanoes. The pictures on these pages give some idea of the Vestmann Islands´geology and a little of Hekla, as well as what our students look like! (note the images have all been reduced to 256 colours to speed up the loading time - this is intended as a quick look at our field trips)

1. The entrance to the harbour in Vestmannaeyjar was poorly protected from southeasterly winds before the eruption!

click to enlarge

2.By the end of the eruption in 1973, new lava had narrowed the harbour entrance and formed a more sheltered entrance. The students are standing on the new lava in the foreground, while the older (8,000-12,000 yrs) móberg formation (altered tuff) can be seen across the entrance. Mainland Iceland in the distance.

click to enlarge

3. Looking across the town on Vestmannaeyjar from the new lava. About 200 houses were buried under lava, mainly to the right in this picture. The smoke is from the capelin processing plant.

click to enlarge
4. Students examining the new lava. The steam is from a recent rainfall, which evaporates as it percolates downwards through the still hot lava, 20 years after the eruption.
click to enlarge

5. From a boat trip around the Vestmann Islands. The sea has eroded many caves in the móberg rocks (altered tuff).

    click to enlarge

6. Picture taken from the new volcano, Eldfell, looking southwards along the eruption fissure, which has been marked in on the right hand image.

click to enlarge    

7. Hamrahlíð students climbing Hekla. Behind them is part of lava erupted in 1970. Hekla last erupted in 1991.
click to enlarge

8. A quarry section through mainly rhyolitic volcanic ash from various Hekla eruptions, some of it from the 1947 eruption, some earlier. In 1104, a huge explosive eruption led to hardship and disappearance of settlement in a large part of the þjórsá valley, near Hekla.

click to enlarge

You can see more virtual field trips if you wish.

If you have found this trip to be of interest, have any comments or wish to get in touch, then please use the forms or E-mail - it´s easy!


Forms


E-mail


These pages are maintained by Dr Georg R Douglas, Hamrahlíð College, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland.