Compare the 2010 Iceland Eruption to that of 1821 (Old Pictures) Skip to content

Compare the 2010 Iceland Eruption to that of 1821 (Old Pictures)

By Iceland Review

Now that the volcanic eruption is over, historians are comparing it to previous eruptions. Interesting drawings of the 1821 Eyjafjallajökull eruption have come to light.

One such drawing was made by E. Bruhn, or Erik Bruun, on July 8, 1822. Bruun was probably a corporal in the Danish Navy, in Iceland to map the coastline. The picture is a watercolor, 21×33.5 cm, preserved in the Royal Library in Copenhagen.

Eyjafjallajökull. The drawing of Erik Bruun, July 8 1822.

The picture is drawn from a great distance, most likely from the Westman Isles, perhaps even from a ship. The picture is very similar to those taken during the first weeks of the 2010 eruption.

Eyjafjallajökull April 20 2010. Photo Benedikt Jóhannesson/Iceland Review

Another drawing of the eruption exists, although it is not as detailed as the other one. This drawing is by a man called Graah, who may also have been in the Danish Navy, and is likely to have been drawn in the summer of 1822.

Eyjafjallajökull. The drawing of Graah 1822.

The 1821-23 eruption started in December, reached its peak in the summer of 1822 and leveled off in 1823. The earlier eruption is considered to have been rather small, even though it lasted for a year and a half. At its height, seven craters were visible.

Volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson has studied the old pictures and compared the two eruptions on his blog.

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