Pumice Drift Reminds Westman Islands of Eruption Skip to content

Pumice Drift Reminds Westman Islands of Eruption

Clouds of volcanic pumice have been carried by the wind into the inhabited areas of the Westman Islands recently, though snow and rain should weigh the pumice down. It reminds residents of the day when they had to evacuate their homes due to a volcanic eruption 35 years ago today.

“I remember there was crazy weather the day before, because I, a 15-year old boy, had been sent out to fetch a trash can the storm had carried down to the hayfield,” Westman Islands resident Óskar Fridriksson told Fréttabladid.

“I thought war had broken out because it happened in the middle of the Cold War. I was relieved when I realized that it was a volcanic eruption, which we Westman Islanders were familiar with because of the Surtsey eruption a few years previously,” said Kristín Jóhannsdóttir, who is organizing celebrations to mark the anniversary.

The event will be remembered with a march with torches from the local church. Afterwards, residents of the Westman Islands will be entertained with stories, songs and surprise events in the sport’s hall.

In 1973, the then 5,000 inhabitants of the Westman Islands woke up to a fierce volcanic eruption from a supposedly dormant volcano and had to escape to the mainland. Not everyone returned; today the islands are inhabited by 4,027 people.

In 1963, the island Surtsey was created in a volcanic eruption and became the southernmost of the Westman Islands.

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