Hekla

Elevation (feet): 4,892
Elevation (meters): 1,491
Continent: Europe
Country: Iceland
Range/Region: Iceland
Latitude: 64.0167
Longitude: -19.65
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jul, Aug, Sep
Volcanic status: Active
Nearest major airport: Reykjavik, Iceland
Convenient Center: Vik, Iceland

Hekla is a perpetually snow-covered volcano in southern Iceland. It is the most active volcano on the island, having erupted over twenty times since 1104. Some of the eruptions caused much loss of life. Major eruptions occurred in 1300, 1766, and 1947. The most recent eruption was in 1991. Because of its eruptive tendencies, Hekla is said in Icelandic folklore to be the gateway to Hell, and many local legends center upon its fierceness. New data! From http://volcano.und.nodak.edu. On 26 February 2000, Iceland's most famous volcano, Mt. Hekla, began erupting at 1819 GMT. The seismic networks of the Science Institute, University of Iceland and the Iceland Meteorological Office recorded a short-term precursory earthquake activity. A seismograph near the summit of Hekla beginning at 1700 detected small earthquakes. Thunder, lightening, and earth tremors accompanied the eruption. A 6-7 km long fissure appeared and a steam column rose nearly 15 km (45,000 feet) into the sky. A discontinuous curtain of fire emanated from the entire fissure. The lava flows down the slopes of Hekla and covers a large part of the Hekla ridge. One lava stream flowed from the eruptive fissure towards the north. A more active lava stream emanates from three craters near the southern end of the eruptive fissure. On February 27, this lava stream was several kilometers long and was advancing at a rate of about a meter per minute. The Coast Guard reported that the new lava covers a stretch of about 3-4 km at its longest. The maximum thickness of the ash sector, 21 km north of the volcano, was 4-5 cm when measured 7 hours after the onset of the eruption. Most of the ash fell in uninhabited areas in the interior of Iceland. The eruption reached its peak intensity in the first hour of the activity. Presently, the lava flows and ash fall pose little danger to human settlement. Geologists said the activity could continue for about a month.