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The Land of 'Fire and Ice'.

Iceland, where the fear of another volcanic eruption is always imminent.

By Novel AllenPublished 15 days ago 3 min read

Iceland, aptly named 'the land of fire and ice', is one of the most striking places on our planet. This frozen landscape is set right on top of a volcanic melting pot, which is evident in the fountains of scalding water and explosions of molten lava that escapes the crust. The end result is a landscape of stark and fiery beauty.

Joshua Earle - Unsplash

The country regained its independence in 1944, after having been previously ruled by Denmark, Norway and briefly by Britain. It then became embroiled in several 'cod wars' with Britain and Germany; endured one of the worst economic crashes in the recession, welcomed the world's first openly gay and first female prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Iceland caused havoc throughout the world of aviation when volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010.

Ása Steinarsdóttir - Unsplash

The eruption was rated as a 1 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index when it began on March 20, 2010, and then entered a second phase on April 14, 2010, creating an ash cloud that led to the closure of most of the European IFR airspace from 15 until 20 April 2010. Consequently, a very high proportion of flights within, to, and from Europe were cancelled, creating the highest level of air travel disruption since the Second World War.

Now experts have warned that Iceland’s town of Grindavik faces a catastrophic countdown to a volcanic eruption that could see its destruction.

Almost 4,000 people were evacuated from Grindavik over the weekend as authorities feared that molten rock would rise to the surface of the earth and potentially hit the coastal town and a geothermal power station.

It comes as the country has been shaken by more than 880 small earthquakes, prompting fears that the tremors could disrupt the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest of the country.

Lava flows from an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tetiana Grypachevska - Unsplash

Iceland is highly susceptible to natural disasters because it lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – a divergent plate boundary where the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate are moving away from each other, leading to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Three eruptions have taken place on the peninsula of Reykjanes near the Fagradalsfjall volcano in the last three years: in March 2021, August 2022 and July 2023.

However, previous eruptions did not cause damage, having occurred in remote valleys.

As Iceland waits in trepidation for the looming volcanic eruption, we take a look at some of the biggest volcanic eruptions in the last decade:

2022: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai

Located in the southern Pacific Ocean, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption in January 2022 saw a plume of rock and ash shoot a staggering 58km high into the sky.

Fagradalsfjall - Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

It was the biggest atmospheric explosion to be recorded by modern tools, with a volcanic cloud so large it could be seen by astronauts orbiting on the International Space Station.

The violent explosion triggered a devastating tsunami with waves up to 45m high.

2021: Mount Semeru

On 4 December, 2021, Mount Semeru erupted on one of Indonesia’s most populated island, Java.

Semeru, the tallest mountain on Java, threw up towers of ash and hot clouds on Saturday that blanketed nearby villages in East Java province and sent people fleeing in panic.

Authorities have said that the eruption destroyed buildings and severed a strategic bridge connecting two areas in the nearby district of Lumajang with the city of Malang.

Lava hisses down Java’s Mount Semeru, which erupted on 4 December 2

The Taal volcano in the Philippines slept for 43 years before it rumbled into a violent awakening on 12 January 2020.

Tens of thousands were sent into shelter and a total of 39 people died as a result of this eruption of Taal, although only one reported case was directly caused by the eruption.

Luca Micheli - Unsplash


Excerpts taken from article Provided by The Independent


About the Creator

Novel Allen

(Uk based) I Exist within moments, driven by whims and fancies, a free spirited dreamer. I Run wild with the wind.

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Comments (13)

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  • Elaine Sihera11 days ago

    Well researched, and so informative. Such skilled writing, Novel. Thanks for sharing this. Iceland is such an amazing country.

  • Vicki Trusselli 14 days ago

    Very informative . Iceland is beautiful and unpredictable

  • Quite an insight.

  • Real Poetic14 days ago

    Great story! I really like volcanos but this reminded me of how dangerous they can be when active.

  • Naveed15 days ago

    Excellent job Keep up the great work!"

  • Mother Combs15 days ago


  • Hannah Moore15 days ago

    What an extraordinary world we live on.

  • Bozhan Bozhkov15 days ago

    This is a very informative article! A couple our acquaintances went to excursion in Iceland some years ago. They were captivated by the country's charm and its people, prompting them to revisit multiple times. Eventually, they made the life-changing decision to immigrate to Iceland. They were deeply drawn to the breathtaking natural landscapes and the serene demeanor of the locals. It happened after a volcanic eruption a village near to they residence to be evacuated. Despite the necessity of relocating all the villagers and their animals, they faced this situation with remarkable composure and a cheerful attitude.

  • Eyjafjallajökull. Fagradalsfjall. Lol, I cannot pronounce these. Anyway, this was so fascinating to read!

  • Mariann Carroll15 days ago

    Great non fiction story. Very informative. I experience a volcano eruption first hand, when I was 17 years old . I thought it was the end of my life. Before the eruption was an earthquake 7.25. The ashes from the eruption is the worst .

  • Babs Iverson15 days ago

    Awesome and informative!!! Left some love ❤️❤️💕

  • Mark Gagnon15 days ago

    Interesting facts which are presented logically and compellingly. I think if I were living in Iceland I might be looking for a new country to call home.

  • Volcanically chilling. If it wasn't for how so many people are displaced & otherwise affected (not to mention wildlife), I would simply enjoy their power & majestic beauty.

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