The Science Quiz | The volcanoes of Iceland

General view of the area, near the evacuated town of Grindavik, in Iceland, November 17, 2023.

General view of the area, near the evacuated town of Grindavik, in Iceland, November 17, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Reuters


1. Name the volcano that erupted in 1783 near the Vatnajokull glacier. The eruption is notable for spewing an enormous amount of lava and quantities of minerals. The local climate was altered to such an extent by the eruption that around 25% of the country’s population at the time died as a result.

2. X is the name of a volcano that erupted in 2011, and before that in 2004, 1902, and a few other occasions. At the time of its eruption, it was the largest in Iceland in half a century, and disrupted flights over the nearby parts of Europe for a week. The ash it blew out dispersed out to Scotland and England. X is also Iceland’s most active volcano. Name X.

3. Scientists classified the eruption of X (in the previous question) as a Plinian eruption, also known as ________ eruptions because of the similarity of their features to a famous eruption in 79 AD that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Rome. These eruptions are distinguished by powerful bursts of gas, and volcanic material like rocks and hot gases shot up into the stratosphere. Fill in the blank.

4. In 2010, an ice cap called ________________ in Iceland witnessed three months of volcanic activity during which a volcano released copious amounts of ash, so much so that it disrupted air travel to an extent second only to the Second World War. The activity heated a nearby glacier river, called Krossa, by 6 degrees C. Fill in the blank.

5. In October and then November this year, seismologists detected a large number of earthquakes a few kilometres under the surface near the Svartsengi volcanic system. By November 10, they had recorded more than 20,000 tremors. The Iceland Meteorological Office said an eruption was imminent. Name the town that Iceland evacuated as a precaution.


______________ (shown above) is a rare example of a tuya volcano: a volcano that was active at the same time it had glacier cover. This one is located in Vatnajokull National Park. Fill in the blank.


1. Skaftareldar

2. Grimsvotn

3. Vesuvian

4. Eyjafjallajokull

5. Grindavik

Visual: Herdubreid

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