• TF-SIF_15april2010


This aerial photograph depicts the three main vents in Eyjafjallajökull volcano and received considerable attention at the time of the eruption. A tremendous amount of ash caused considerable damage to the farms around the glacier and flight disruption all over Europe caused extensive  financial damage. The media claimed that the photograph “has an undeniable resemblance to some behemoth that has broken its way from the great depths of the Earth and now spews fire and brimstone into the atmosphere.” (Fréttablaðið, April 16 th 2010). The photograph was taken on April 15 th 2010 at 17.223 feet altitude with a 360° Elta radar from the Coast Guard's airplane.

The explosive eruption began with a bang on April 14 th 2010. A little later that day the coast guard airplane radar captured this image on a surveillance flight over the eruption site. The image reveals the main volcanic craters, measuring 200 – 500 metres in diameter each. At the end of May 2010 the eruptive activity decreased considerably but the ash was problematic all over Iceland until the fall of 2010.

Eyjafjallajökull is one of the highest mountains in Iceland, measuring around 1,666 metres. Eyjafjöll (“mountains of the islands”) belong to a mountain range that lies west of Mýrdalsjökull and the mountains are so named because they are directly opposite the islands Vestmannaeyjar. Underneath the glacier of Eyjafjallajökull lies one of five stratovolcanoes in Iceland and this one has erupted four times since Iceland's settlement, first in 920, then 1612, in 1821 and finally in 2010. It is interesting to note that the volcano Katla in Mýrdalsjökull is close by and during the previous Eyjafjallajökull eruptions, Katla erupted simultaneously or very soon after. This is a strong indicator that the volcanoes are linked.


with permission from the Coast Guard

The Icelandic Museum of Natural History