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The great Mount Hekla of Iceland

The great Mount Hekla of Iceland

Article by Bjorn Olav Jonsson

Mount Hekla, an active volcano situated in Iceland is famous all over the world. According to ancient stories narrated by some old men there, it is believed that its crater was the way to hell for the ill-natured souls. The entire range of mount Hekla is around forty kilometers long in stretch and the crack that emits lava and gas is around 6 kilometers wide. The height of this mountain is somewhere around 1491 meters and is still rising.

According to experts, in the last 7000 years, this volcano has five big fissure explosions. It is assumed that eruptions occurred 4000 years back and 2800 years back were the biggest and the worst of them all. Hints of these two eruptions are still visible very clearly in the soils of northern and north-eastern Iceland. It was 2800 years ago that the biggest layer of tephra formed from a single eruption fall. This layer of tephra covered more than 80 percent of the country and its volume was 12 cubic kilometers. This layer of tephra also spread in major part of Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe as well.

It is said that the last twenty eruptions in mount Hekla occurred after the settlement of Iceland. The first and the biggest were seen in 1104 A.D. there were many eruptions recorded during the era of the great Vikings. In 20th century, mount Hekla has shown its aggression four times and last time in 1991. The last time an eruption was seen was in the year 2000. The effects of the last eruption in 2000 were horrible. Entire country was covered by the ash flown out from the volcano. It became very difficult for people living there as the conditions were very hard. The entire grassland became poisonous by that ash and number of cattle died after eating that grass. As far as Mount Hekla is concerned, all the ice and snow that was gathered on tip in course of time was melted completely creating a flood like situation. Huge amount of pumice was gathered to stop the flow of water.

Despite of all this odds, mount Hekla is very famous among the adventure freaks. People love to hike to the top of this volcano when the weather conditions are complimentary. It takes three or four hours to complete the hiking of 900 meters. On a bright sunny day, view from that mountain is breath-taking and fantastic. Everything connected to hiking is available here and people also tend to bring their own to avoid the problems of time limits. The only condition made by the government is that one has to be in good health to hike this mountain. One should also check the weather forecast before starting their trip. The weather of Iceland can change very quickly so it’s better if you bring your protection gear along with you. There are some directions and signs that show that this mount is on a boil and can erupt any time. Check them before and avoid hiking if they are negative.

Again some old men say that on Easter nights, mount Hekla becomes a place where witches gather and party, so be careful of them if by chance you are near there at Easter time.

About the Author

Bjorn Olav Jonsson is a freelance writer. For further information visit the website, www.icelandguest.com.