Mount Helgafell, Heimaey Island, 1973

Mount Helgafell is located near the port town of Vestmannaeyjar on the largest archipelago of Heimaey Island in southern Iceland. Heimaey Island is the only inhabited isle in the archipelago group of islands and is known to be a fishing port town. In this report we will look at the characteristics of this volcanic eruption, the tectonic setting, effects of the eruption, the risk of future eruptions, and recommendations to reduce impact of future eruptions. This particular eruption happened in the early morning of January 23, 1973. This was a very destructive volcanic eruption that destroyed around 1/3 of the town, but this being as bad as it was, fortunately, the town was spared with the use of using seawater to slow, divert, and prevent the lava flow from doing any more damage to what was left of the town. What was unique about this eruption were the procedures used to control the lava to reduce damage which can be implemented in similar situations all around the world.

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