Hekla volcano - fire-breathing magnificence
Not everyone knows where the Hekla volcano is located onmap. Everyone on the lips of his brother with a hard-to-pronounce name, which in 2010 forced the passengers of flights to recall the unkind word Iceland and its magmatic activity. But Hekla is much more dangerous and more insidious than its smoky twin. From its mouth it usually escapes not a column of ash that is capable of hammering jet engines, but the most natural fountain of fire, lava and volcanic bombs. Hekla is capricious, unpredictable, secretive. Icelanders call their volcanoes only female names. Probably, they know the strength and power of the representatives of the beautiful half of humanity, when something will put them out of balance - they can not be called the weak sex at these moments. And about Heckl, as well as about her sister Catle on the island, they form legends. Let's get acquainted with this fire-breathing monster.
Gateway to Hell
If you asked the medievala Cistercian monk about where the Hekla volcano is, he would not hesitate to say that at the very entrance to the underworld. Souls of sinners, leaving the body, immediately rush through the mouth into the eternal fire, where the gnashing of teeth. A certain monk Benedict, singing in the verses the life of Saint Brendan, called Hecla the prison of Judas. A simple Icelanders until the XIX century were sure that on top of this volcano on Easter witches fly to their coven. Why did Hekla evoke in the locals such awe, horror and at the same time admiration? Since the time people inhabited the island, this self-willed beauty has shown its explosive burrow more than twenty times. And the approach of "hysterics" is difficult to predict. The very name of "hekla" comes from the name of a short cloak with a hood. At the top of the mountain there is always a little cloud, from afar it resembles a bashlyk.
And what do scientists say?
The geographic coordinates of the Hekla volcano are 63.98 °northern latitude and 19.70 ° eastern longitude. It is located in the south-western part of Iceland, about a hundred kilometers from the capital of Reykjavik. According to the Heucla type, it refers to stratovolcanoes. It was formed from a linear crack. Because of frequent eruptions, the height of the mountain varies. For example, in 1948 it was 1,502 m, but later the edges of the crater collapsed. Now the height of Hecla is 1488 m. It is part of an extended mountain range composed of andesite and basalt lavas. The volcanic crack reaches a length of five kilometers. But the age of Huckla by geological standards is almost infant - only 6 600 years.
However, for such a short history the Hekla volcanomanaged to doom in many cases in Iceland. Dendrochronology (study of climate change in fossil plants) allows you to determine that four thousand years and also 2,800 years ago there were large eruptions of this volcano. The pillar of smoke reduced the temperature of the air in the northern hemisphere for several years, and traces of volcanic ash scientists found in the peatlands of Ireland and Scotland, as well as in continental Europe. The first recorded eruption in written sources occurred in 1104. Once the slopes of the mountain were covered with forests, but now they are completely naked. The government of Iceland is dreaming of implementing a fabulously expensive project for planting the ridge.
Is Hekla volcano calmed down over time?
Scientists have discovered a regularity: The longer the period of time between eruptions, the more crushing these fits of violence. But fortunately, now the volcano "chudits" with enviable constancy once in a decade. In the twentieth century it erupted in 1947-48, 1970, 1980, 1981, 1991 and 2000. The last destructive events that entailed human casualties occurred in 1766 and 1947-1948. But in the twenty-first century, the Hekla volcano had not yet manifested itself. And this is alarming. Because the capricious beauty character is really unpredictable. Seismologists note that, unlike other volcanoes, Hecks have a very short period between the beginning of the eruption and the ejection of lava. Therefore at the disposal of rescuers there is not enough time for evacuation of people.
Waiting for the explosion
Taking into account that the Hekla volcano is pastonce erupted in late February 2000, and at the end of the twentieth century, seismic activity was renewed every ten years, scientists are waiting for a new explosion from day to day. It is difficult to guess what it will be like. Sometimes the eruptions took place for several days, and in 1947 Hekla raved more than a year. To protect people from the effects of a new earthquake and the release of lava with ash, geophysicists laid down to a depth of sixteen kilometers from the top sensors that transmit all information about the state of magma inside the volcanic fissure and crater. So far there has been no movement in the depths of Hecla. Some areas on the surface of the volcano are hot, but on the island of Iceland this is no surprise. Pedestrian excursions are conducted to the crater, and the government assures that they are absolutely safe for the life of tourists.