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Could a lava stream then run through Reykjavik?

3 minute read - 07 May 2017

Could a lava stream then run through Reykjavik?

was my question to the geologist? “Could?” was the reply. “It has most definitely will, it’s just a matter of time.”

A psychic friend of mine had come to warn me that we might have an eruption on our hands in the city. He repeatedly had a vision of a lava river running down a valley in the east end of the capital. (Here  – from minute 4.45 is an animation of the last one that came this way 4.600 years ago.) Since I was in the city politics at the time he wanted me to do something about this.

What time frame…

…are we talking about? I asked the geologist. Hardly more than 100 years he replied – could just as well be next week. In fact we have been waiting for something like this to happen for several decades now.

I was a bit shocked since I had just spoken to the authorities that didn’t worry a bit. “They said it would be at least 200-300 years until the next one and there was plenty of time to make a responsive plan should that be needed” I told him. “Do you never meet?” “Well, it’s complicated”, he said, “no one really listens, and with all due respect – least of all politicians”.

The Town in the lava

He then pointed out to me that the authorities in Hafnarfjörður, a small town in the capital area, had recently planned a new neighbourhood at a very critical place in terms of eruptions. “They placed it on the top of the 2.000 year old lava, between a hill and the almost 900 year old lava. Geology tells us that at least every 1.000 years a new lava is coming this way. It is being built at the very lowest part of the most likely way for the next lava stream to come down!” he said.

Reykjavik erupts

This possibility of those eruptions really got me interested in the geology of the Reykjavik Volcanoes. I started driving there, hiking and running and reading more about the area. Two years ago I decided to make a special tour up to the volcanoes. Since then I have been taking small groups on a volcano safari, stopping at my favorite places. It is the best office view I ever had and I get to meet a lot of people sharing my interest in volcanoes and beautiful nature. Beats politics every day. 

Dofri Hermansson

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