Fagrahraun or Fagradalshraun: New Reykjanes Lava Field Awaits a Name

Tourists admiring the new lava in the Reykjanes eruption

The town council of Grindavík, Southwest Iceland has narrowed down around 339 name suggestions for the new lava field at Fagradalsfjall to just two: Fagrahraun and Fagradalshraun. RÚV reports that both options have been submitted to the authority that approves new place names in Iceland. The many craters at the eruption site, which has been active for over a month, will also be named Fögrugígar or Fagradalsgígar, depending on which name is chosen for the field.

Grindavík authorities organised a competition between March 31 and April 9, 2021 where the public was allowed to submit suggestions for what to name the new lava field. “The conclusion was that after reviewing the ideas that were received, which were 339, evaluating and weighing it, that the lava field should be called either Fagradalshraun or Fagrahraun,” stated Grindavík Mayor Fannar Jónasson.

The two names are similar in meaning. While Fagrahraun translates as “beautiful lava” or “beautiful lava field,” Fagradalshraun references Fagradalsfjall, literally “beautiful valley mountain,” located at the site. The name also references the volcanic system Fagradalsfjallskerfi, one of the volcanic systems beneath the Reykjanes peninsula.

“Corona Lava Field” Rejected

Dalahraun (E. valley lava field), Geldingadalshraun (E. Geldingadalur lava field), and Ísólfshraun (E. Ísólfur’s lava field; after an early settler once believed to be buried there) were among the most popular suggestions for the field, which continues to grow one month after the eruption began. Some name suggestions referenced the ongoing pandemic, including Kórónahraun and Covidhraun, while the suggestion Ölmuhraun was intended as a tribute to Iceland’s Director of Health Alma Möller. None of those suggestions made it past the town council’s deliberations.

The town council is now waiting on an official opinion on both place name suggestions.

Iceland Wins Trademark Dispute Against Supermarket Chain

Iceland supermarket

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has ruled that UK-based supermarket chain Iceland Foods Ltd. may not register a trademark on the word “Iceland” within the European Union, Kjarninn reports.

The supermarket chain secured a EU-wide trademark for the word “Iceland” in 2014, which Icelandic authorities sued to have invalidated on the basis of being far too broad and creating a monopoly that prevented Icelandic companies from registering their products with reference to their country of origin. Moreover, said the Icelandic government, “Iceland” is widely received as a geographical name and should have never been approved for trademark in the first place.

Now, years later, EUIPO has ruled in favour of Iceland – the country – and invalidated the supermarket’s trademark entirely, noting that “It has been adequately shown that consumers in EU countries know that Iceland is a country in Europe and also that the country has historical and economic ties to EU countries, in addition to geographic proximity.”

Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson said he welcomed the ruling, but was not surprised by it. “…[I]t defies common sense that a foreign company can stake a claim to the name of a sovereign nation as was done [in this case],” he remarked. “What we’re talking about here is a milestone victory in a matter of real importance for Icelandic exporters. Our country is known for its purity and its sustainability, hence the value of indicating the origin of Icelandic products.”

Iceland Foods Ltd. has two months to appeal the ruling.

Locals to Name New Lake

A campaign has begun to find a name for a new lake formed by a recent landslide in West Iceland, RÚVreports. The landslide, which occurred on July 7 on Fagraskógarfjall mountain in Hítardalur, is thought to be the largest in Icelandic history. The event flooded Hitará river, causing a lake to be formed one side of it – and the lake is here to stay.

The Icelandic Place Name Committee (Örnefnanefnd) and Borgarbyggð municipal council are working together to find a name for the new lake – as well as the landslide that caused it. Gunnlaugur Júlíusson, director of Borgarbyggð council, says the process began by inviting landowners in the area to submit suggestions. The suggested names are then sent to the Place Name Committee, which returns them to council with their comments. It’s he council which has the final say in naming the two new features of the local landscape.