Hekla, reaching 1,491 m above sea level, is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world and has been active for thousands of years. Old folk tales tell us the souls of the damned were once believed to pass through the crater of Hekla on their way to Hell. Hekla is thought to have erupted over 20 times since historical records began. There were 5 Hekla eruptions in the 20th Century, the last occurring in February 2000. GPS coordinates: N63° 58′ 59.767″ W19° 42′ 24.306″
Hekla is a stratovolcano in the south of Iceland with a height of 1,491 m (4,892 ft). Hekla is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes; over 20 eruptions have occurred in and around the volcano since 874. During the Middle Ages, Europeans called the volcano the “Gateway to Hell”. Hekla is part of a volcanic ridge, 40 km (25 mi) long. The most active part of this ridge, a fissure about 5.5 km (3.4 mi) long named Heklugjá, is considered to be the volcano Hekla proper. Hekla looks rather like an overturned boat, with its keel being a series of craters, two of which are generally the most active.
The earliest recorded eruption of Hekla took place in 1104. Since then there have been between twenty and thirty considerable eruptions, with the mountain sometimes remaining active for periods of six years with little pause. Eruptions in Hekla are extremely varied and difficult to predict. Some are very short (a week to ten days) whereas others can stretch into months and years (the 1947 eruption started 29 March 1947 and ended April 1948). But there is a general correlation: the longer Hekla goes dormant, the larger and more catastrophic its opening eruption will be. The most recent eruption was on 26 February 2000.
The volcano’s frequent large eruptions have covered much of Iceland with tephra and these layers can be used to date eruptions of Iceland’s other volcanos. 10% of the tephra created in Iceland in the last thousand years has come from Hekla, amounting to 5 km3. The volcano has produced one of the largest volumes of lava of any in the world in the last millennium, around 8 km3.
Pictures from Rangárþing ytra and places nearby
Inhabitants in Rangárþing ytra (western Rangárþing) are 1518 (1st of January 2013). The borders of the district are by Ásahreppur district, from the river Þjórsá in the west, to the glacier Vatnajökull in the north. The south borders are from the glacier Mýrdaljökull to the river Eystri-Rangá. In Rangárþing ytra are extensive agricultural productions. In the area you can find many well known nature resources and historical places for example Hekla, Landmannalaugar and the sagatrail of Njáls saga.
The district’s most populated area is the village Hella with 784 inhabitants (1st of January 2013). Hella’s primary businesses are service for the agriculture, inhabitants and the tourism industry. At Hella you can find, a bank, a post office, a tourist information center, a hotel, guesthouses, camping sites, restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, a healthcare center, a sport center, a swimming pool, primary school, car services, rescue team, gas stations and other businesses and public services.
Rangárþing ytra is governed by a town council, which consists of seven elected officials.
The offices of town hall are located at:
Sudurlandsvegur 1, Hella. See map here.
Open from 9 am – 15 pm on Mondays to Thursdays.
Open from 9 am – 13 pm on Fridays.