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Fun Facts about Eyjafjallajökull

Learn everything you need to know about this explosive volcano

|December 3, 2023
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What is Eyjafjallajökull? How do you pronounce it? Is it true that it’s an active volcano? Our blog will satisfy all your curiosities about this geological wonder in Iceland.

Located in Southern Iceland, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull rises to an impressive height of 5,417 feet (1651 meters)! But this is not the only fun fact about Eyjafjallajökull. Among the volcanoes in Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull is something of a celebrity, having shocked the international public with its sudden eruption in 2010.

What else does Eyjafjallajökull have up its sleeve? Keep reading to learn all about this stratovolcano.

1. Pronunciation Can Be a Challenge

With a notoriously complex name, Eyjafjallajökull has never failed to fascinate non-Icelandic speakers. Translating to “island-mountains-glacier” in English, this volcano in Iceland also goes by Eyjafjalla Volcano, Eyjafjöll, and Eyjafjalla Glacier Volcano. With six syllables (Ei-ya-fat-LA-yer-kitle), Eyjafjallajökull is a linguistic curiosity for sure.

2. It’s Actually a Glacier-Covered Volcano

With molten lava on the inside and a snow-capped glacier on the outside, Eyjafjallajökull is the best embodiment of the land of fire and ice. An amazing fact about Eyjafjallajökull is that it is a volcano covered completely by an icecap. It is not the only such volcano in Iceland, and Kalta is another popular example of this type.

Eyjafjallajökull covered by a glacier.

Eyjafjallajökull covered by a glacier

3. It’s an Active Volcano

While the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull are few and far between, it is still considered an active volcano. Could another eruption be lurking beneath the surface? It’s likely there won’t be for some time - other volcanoes in Iceland erupt more frequently.

The 2010 Eruption

When Eyjafjallajökull sent a gigantic ash plume 5 miles into the atmosphere, all air traffic across Europe and the transatlantic stopped in its tracks. Starting with a series of small earthquakes in January, tectonic activity had increased significantly by March. On April 14, cracks appeared under the crater of the glacier-covered volcano. The lava’s heat vaporized the glacier above causing the ice to melt.  Of all the local rivers and streams, the Markarfljót glacial river, in particular, overflowed with mud and melted ice which trickled down the volcano. This caused flooding in farmlands as well as damage to roads in the area.

Eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Luckily, the eruptions themselves caused no loss of human life. This fact about Eyjafjallajökull is a testament to the resilience of Iceland and its people.

4. It has Unique Flora and Fauna

Despite the challenging conditions, the region surrounding Eyjafjallajökull has some of the most unique plant and animal life in Iceland. The coastline, in particular, will captivate bird-watchers with varied seabirds and puffins. If watching wildlife is something you’re eager to experience in Iceland, don’t forget to pack your binoculars!

5. It’s Surrounded by Waterfalls

Eyjafjallajökull not only feeds the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall but is surrounded by some of the most recognizable waterfalls in Iceland, including Skógafoss. A rainbow stretching across these cascading falls with a volcano in proximity is an unforgettable view.

6. Nearby Geothermal Springs

The geothermal activity in Iceland is responsible for the creation of hot springs. The health benefits of these mineral-rich pools cannot be overemphasized. Luckily for visitors, Eyjafjallajökull is surrounded by geothermal pools like Seljavallalaug.

7. Hiking Trails for the Adventure-Hungry

Did you know that this active volcano offers some of the most picturesque hiking trails in Iceland? The volcanic terrain of Eyjafjallajökull will take you past lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and awe-inspiring landscapes. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the scenic views on your trail!

Did you know that two new volcanic craters, namely, Magmi and Móði were formed when an eruption started on the Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail?

Eyjafjallajökull against a blue sky with green fields in the foreground

Whether you’d like to snowmobile across this glacier-capped wonder or go on a super jeep drive across its black sand beaches, visiting Eyjafjallajökull gives you the chance to experience the best of what Icelandic volcanoes have to offer.


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