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A lady looks on Eyjafjallajökull
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Eyjafjallajökull – The Eruption, Pronunciation and More Facts

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Eyjafjallajökull glacier is a symbol of both natural beauty and raw power and is one of many glaciers on the South Coast of Iceland. This majestic glacier-capped volcano famously captivated the world’s attention in 2010, both for its tongue-twisting name and for its volatile eruption that wound up affecting over 20 countries and as many as 10 million air travellers. 


Eyjafjallajökull eruption

Eyjafjallajökull´s volcano is a product of countless eruptions over the course of time, shaping its distinct cone and glacier-covered summit. Throughout Iceland’s history, Eyjafjallajökull has been a source of both awe and fear with Icelandic folklore often mentioning the volcano, attributing its eruptions to the wrath of mythical beings. 

More recently the glacier gained international attention with its eruption in March 2010, which disrupted air travel across Europe with plumes of ash ascending high into the sky. While this event was a reminder of the volcano´s power, it also highlighted the interconnectedness of global transportation systems and the need for effective risk management.

How to pronounce “Eyjafjallajökull”

News anchors around the world had their work cut out for them during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull as it is a very hard word to pronounce for those who aren’t native Icelandic speakers. The internet soon filled with compilations of different pronunciations and everyone wondered: How do you pronounce the name of that Icelandic volcano?

The name can be split in three words: Eyja – fjalla – jökull, literally meaning Island – Mountain – Glacier. The phonetic pronunciation of the word is [eiːjaˌfjatl̥aˌjœːkʏtl̥] or something like Eigh-ya-fja-tla-yuh-cou-tl. Many have tried – and many have failed – but if you manage to master the pronunciation, you will certainly be able to show off a surprising party-trick for the rest of your life. 

Eyjafjallajökull eruption
Photo by Bjarki Sigursveinsson


Location of Eyjafjallajökull and how to get there

It can be an awe inspiring experience to visit Eyjafjallajökull and see some of Iceland’s most remarkable geological wonders with your own eyes. The glacier is located in the South of Iceland, approximately 160 kilometres [100 mi] from Reykjavík city. 

You can choose to drive the South coast, past landmarks such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss waterfalls or you can take the route of the Golden Circle before reaching Eyjafjallajökull. Once you arrive you can visit the Eyjafjallajökull Visitor Centre, located near the volcano, to learn more about the geological history and impact of past eruptions. 

Always prioritise safety and respect any warning signs or closures in the area. Dress according to weather conditions and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Plan your trip according to your own interest and preferences and decide if you want to explore the area independently or join a guided tour


Scientific and cultural significance:

After the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, scientists intensified their study and monitoring. Advances in technology have provided invaluable information on the volcano´s behaviour which enables better prediction for future eruptions. Understanding the dynamics of the volcano both enhances safety and contributes to our understanding of volcanic activity worldwide. 

Beyond its geological and scientific significance, Eyjafjallajökull has also impacted Icelandic culture. Its beauty has inspired artists, writers and filmmakers who have sought to capture its essence in their works. The volcano also serves as a symbol of Iceland’s nation’s deep connection to the land and its natural forces. 


Snowmobilers in Iceland pose in front of the Northern Lights
Photo by Private South Coast with Snowmobiling on Eyjafjallajökull volcano


Eyjafjallajökull facts


How many times did Eyjafjallajökull erupt?

Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in the years 920, 1612 or 1613, and 1821 and 2010.

Where is Eyjafjallajökull located?

Eyjafjallajökull volcano is located in the Eyjafjöll mountains in the South of Iceland, between Skógafoss waterfall and Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Its highest point rises to 1.666 metres (5.466 ft) above sea level.

Was Eyjafjallajökull silent or explosive?

The 2010 eruption in Eyjafjallajökull was explosive. 

When meltwaters from the glacier mixed with hot magma, an explosive eruption sent unusually fine-grained ash into the jet stream. It then dispersed over Europe.

What type is Eyjafjallajökull?

Eyjafjallajökull is a stratovolcano, the most common type. It is a conical volcano built by many layers of hardened lava, volcanic ash, tephra and pumice.

What makes Eyjafjallajökull special?

It is an 800.000 year old volcano with an unpronounceable name that became known worldwide during its 2010. The eruption caused an ash cloud that grounded over 100.000 flights all over the world at a cost estimated at £3 billion. 


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