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Quick note: more on Hekla 13 January 2010

Posted by admin in Hekla, Iceland.
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Last week we reported hints from Iceland that Hekla may be building up to an eruption. No new substantive news on that, but the English-language Iceland Review has caught up with the story and has a report here. And the Hekla webcam seems to be working again.

For an Icelandic artist’s view of Hekla, see Saturday Volcano Art: Thórarinn B. Thorláksson, ‘Hekla from Laugurdalur’ (1922).

News
Iceland’s Hekla could erupt with short noticeIceland Review, 12 January 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Hekla – summary information for Hekla (1702-07=)

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Hekla building up to an eruption? 5 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Hekla, Iceland.
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Can we expect an eruption of Icelandic volcano Hekla in the near future? According to a report at Visir.is (original here, English version at IceNews), University of Iceland geophysicist Freysteinn Sigmundsson has said that pressure in the magma chamber ‘is similar now to immediately before the last Hekla eruption’. This information, Sigmundsson says, ‘should be used as an early warning of an upcoming eruption and monitoring and general preparedness should be increased accordingly’.

There’s a longer report in the Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid, which is in Icelandic only. The translation served up by Google hints that temperature increases have been recorded at the surface at Hekla and suggests that magma may only be 2-3 km below the summit, but I’d welcome a proper translation.

Hekla’s last eruption was in the spring of 2000. Since 1970 it has erupted roughly every ten years (although that doesn’t mean it’s going to keep to that timetable in the future).

There is a webcam for Hekla here, although it is currently down for maintenance.

News
Hekla gæti gosið á næstunni – Vísir.is, 3 January 2010
Gæti gosið með skömmum fyrirvaraMorgunbladid, 3 January 2010
Hekla threatens to erupt – IceNews, 4 January 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Hekla – summary information for Hekla (1702-07=)

The Volcanism Blog

Icelandic volcanoes ‘preparing their next eruptions’? 9 October 2009

Posted by admin in Hekla, Iceland, volcano monitoring.
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In Iceland, some notable volcanoes are ‘preparing their next eruptions’, according to this article in the English-language Iceland Review:

The Icelandic volcanoes Hekla and Grímsvötn are likely to erupt shortly, according to geophysicist Páll Einarsson. Katla, which lies underneath the icecap of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, has been quiet ever since a period of six years of unrest ended in 2005, but Askja should be paid close attention to, he said in an interview on the radio program Morgunvaktin on Rás 2 on Tuesday.

It’s notable that Páll Einarsson does not say ‘Hekla and Grímsvötn are likely to erupt shortly’. That’s an invention of the journalist.

What Einarsson does say is that ‘Volcanic eruptions happen every two or three years in Iceland in general … Some [volcanoes] are preparing their next eruptions, including Hekla and Grímsvötn’, although he avoids the ‘eruption overdue’ fallacy by pointing out that just because Hekla has erupted every ten years in the past that doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to do so. With an eye to possible locations of future activity, Einarsson warns that attention should be paid to unrest at Askja and Upptyppingar, where an inflow of magma into the base of the crust has been suggested as the cause of an earthquake swarm in 2007.

[Thanks to Stefan at stromboli.org for the tip.]

UPDATE. Further startling volcanological insights from Icelandic Review: ‘Volcanoes are nature’s PMS’, says Nanna Árnadóttir.

News
Volcanoes in Iceland preparing to eruptIceland Review Online, 8 October 2009

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Saturday Volcano Art: Thórarinn B. Thorláksson, ‘Hekla from Laugurdalur’ (1922) 28 March 2009

Posted by admin in Hekla, Iceland, Saturday volcano art, volcano art, volcano culture, volcano images, volcanoes.
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Thorarinn B. Thorlaksson, 'Hekla from Laugurdalur' (1922)

Hekla, the most active volcano in Iceland, has a distinctive elongated humped shape built up by repeated fissure eruptions and is a prominent feature of the southern Icelandic landscape. Its frequent eruptions and forbidding aspect have given this famous volcano a grim reputation: in local folklore Hekla was long known as one of the mouths of hell.

In Thórarinn Thorláksson’s 1922 painting ‘Hekla from Laugurdalur’, however, the volcano is depicted in a more positive light. It rises over the landscape like a guardian spirit, the evening sunlight touching its snowy slopes with a rosy light – noble and remote, but benign.

Thórarinn B. Thorláksson (1867-1924) was one of the pioneers of modern Icelandic art, concerned with exploring and expressing a distinctive Icelandic identity, particularly through the depiction of the Icelandic landscape. Thorláksson studied in Denmark and assimilated the prevailing Danish academic approach to landscape painting, which was conservative and naturalistic, but also also sought to give his work a truly Icelandic character, giving expression to the unique qualities of his homeland. He exhibited his work in Reykjavik in 1900, the first such exhibition ever held by an Icelandic painter in Iceland.

Hekla and the landscapes around it were favourite subjects for Icelandic artists. Thorláksson painted Hekla many times, giving the volcano an almost iconic status as a symbol of Icelandic identity. His ‘Hekla from Laugurdalur’ is a view of the volcano from the north-west, and shows Hekla rising above a green-blue landscape in which stunted vegetation and bare soil convey the ever-present tension in Iceland between barrenness and fertility. There is a sense of intimacy in the enclosed valley in the foreground, contrasting with the indeterminate spaces of the wide valley that opens beyond. Distant dark blue uplands rise like ramparts, with the volcano looming above, its form picked out with lightness and clarity. Hekla, the agent of destruction and violence, here slumbers peacefully in the light of the long Northern evening.

For all ‘Saturday volcano art’ articles: Saturday volcano art « The Volcanism Blog.

References

Julian Freeman, Landscapes from a High Latitude: Icelandic Art 1909-1989 (London: Lund Humphries, 1989)

Neil Kent, The Soul of the North: A Social, Architectural and Cultural History of the Nordic Countries, 1700-1940 (London: Reaktion, 2000)

Ólafur Kvaran (ed.), Þórarinn B. Þorláksson: Pioneer at the Dawn of a Century (Reykjavik: Listasafn Íslands/National Gallery of Iceland, 2000)

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