Eldfell in Westman Islands / Vestmannaeyjar
Eldfell volcanic cone is located on Heimaey and is over 200m high. It formed in a volcanic eruption on the morning of January 23rd 1973 and caused the big evacuation in Heimaey. During the eruption, volcanic ash fell from the sky and covered most of the island. About 400 families lost their homes in the eruptions and it nearly lead to permanent evacuation of the island. Luckily there was a stormy weather the day before the eruptions, so all the fishing boats were in the harbour so most of the inhabitants were able to flee.
The eruption lasted until July 3rd, when it was officially pronounced as being over. The damage was overwhelming. Nearly one-third of all the homes and buildings had burned or been covered under the lava and ash. A thick layer of ash covered nearly the entire island, especially the part of town nearest the crater. Immediately in the summer of 1973, clean-up and reconstruction plans were implemented and the townspeople started to return to the island. It was decided that the schools would open in the fall. Many islanders who had lost their homes in the eruption decided not to return, but in their place a large group of new people arrived on the island, full of energy and an interest in participating in rebuilding the town.
Visit Eldfell volcano on our Puffin and volcano tour and our Westman Islands Express tour