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Exploring Tourism in Iceland
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Places to Visit Details

South Iceland, Iceland

Eldfell is a volcanic cone just over 200 metres (660 ft) high on the Icelandic island of Heimaey. It formed in a volcanic eruption, which began without warning on the eastern side of Heimaey, in the Westman Islands, on 23 January 1973. The name means Hill of Fire in Icelandic.

The eruption caused a major crisis for the island and nearly led to its permanent evacuation. Volcanic ash fell over most of the island, destroying around 400 homes, and a lava flow threatened to close off the harbour, the island's main income source via its fishing fleet. An operation was mounted to cool the advancing lava flow by pumping sea water onto it, which was successful in preventing the loss of the harbour.

After the eruption, the islanders used heat from the cooling lava flows to provide hot water and to generate electricity. They also used some of the extensive tephra, fall-out of airborne volcanic material to extend the runway at the island's small airport and as landfill on which 200 new houses were built.

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