The volcanoes in Iceland are one of the country’s signature features. There are many of them, as the island nation sits on top of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a tectonic plate boundary separating the North American Plate from the Eurasian Plate in North Atlantic region, and the South American Plate from the African Plate in the South Atlantic. One of the most interesting facts about Iceland volcanoes is the country’s sheer number of volcano systems. There are no fewer than 30 of them, and thirteen of these systems have erupted since Iceland was first settled in 874 AD. In fact, the volcanoes in Iceland are responsible for emitting nearly a third of the world’s total lava output.
Among the most well-known eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes are the 1783 eruption of the crater row that is known as Lakagigar and the eruption from beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which occurred in 2010. Due to a release of poisonous gases that wiped out about half the country’s livestock, the Lakagigar eruption caused the death of nearly one-quarter of the Icelandic population at the time. As for the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the clouds of ash it spewed had a major impact on air travel in northern Europe for weeks on end.
Iceland is often referred to as the Land of Ice and Fire, and it is a fine destination for vulcanologists—or travelers simply interested in geology—to explore. Regarding the total number of volcanoes on the island, there are about 130, eighteen of which have erupted since Iceland was founded. To say that the country has high levels of geothermal activity would be an understatement, and its volcanic history is very much tied to its cultural history.
Iceland volcano tours can be arranged for travelers who want to learn more about the country’s volcanic nature, and they’re one of the most common things to do during a trip to the island. Thanks to the geothermal activity, this is also a great spot for spa vacations, as the geothermally heated pools are a perfect place to relax. The Blue Lagoon spa is an especially popular place to take a soothing soak and even has its own hotel.
Those who want to learn more about the volcanic side of things during an Iceland visit are encouraged to book a volcano tour. Some of the Iceland volcano tours include learning about the effects of specific volcanoes, and it is common to include a visit to the Blue Lagoon on the itinerary. Jeeps or mini buses are typically used for getting around on Iceland volcano tours, and there are some tours that even include a bird’s eye view of things from a plane or helicopter.
The length of the tours will vary depending on what you’ve decided to include; it’s typical for an Iceland volcano tour to last anywhere from six to twelve hours. Travelers can also look to book more complete Iceland vacation packages that include volcano tours and such other things as flights and accommodations.
Much of Iceland’s land area is a mountainous lava desert. Add that to the fact that approximately eleven percent of the terrain is covered by glaciers, and it is easy to understand why the country is commonly called the Land of Fire and Ice. Glaciers actually cover volcanic calderas in some spots, and the landscape is extremely fascinating. The volcanoes are a key feature of the Icelandic landscape and worth seeing on any vacation.