Eyjafjallajökull: Cash, Not Ash

Eyjafjallajökull: Cash, Not Ash

Haukur S. Magnússon
Photos by
Julia Staples

While driving through the South of Iceland one’s mind will inevitably wander to that whole Eyjafjallajökull eruption event of last April, which greatly affected many of the farmers in the areas one will drive through, as well as halting European air traffic for a while (get over it already). Signs of the eruption and its ash plume are still to be seen, and also every gas station and pylsa hut in the area is inevitably flogging vials of ash and Eyjafjallamadjaddla t-shirts in an attempt to monetise.

Volcanic eruptions are powerful and awe inspiring and often incredibly destructive— and, as we’ve been finding out in Iceland lately, they can also bring out the entrepreneur in folks. Icelanders are often faced with making the best out of a bad situation (like their politicians), and thus the devastation caused by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption has inspired some of those who suffered from it to try and create something new out it, so as to recoup some of the damages

A case in point is the ‘Eyjafjallajökull Erupts’ Visitor Centre, which was created and is operated by the family that inhabits the close-by Þorvaldseyri farm (note: it is the farm under the giant ash plume in one of the most famous eruption photos from last year). They got right to work after the eruption, opening up this exhibit on its one-year anniversary (on April 14 of this year).

Right by the Ring Road, the centre offers drivers-by and tourists the chance to experience last year’s eruption through colourful graphics, photos and text that explains the local volcanic system and tells the story of Eyjafjallajökull 2010. The crux of the exhibit is likely the showing of a twenty-minute long documentary on the eruption and the resulting clean-up.

There is also a shop, where one can stock up on all sorts of eruption-related memorabilia as well as purchase goods and produce from the Þorvaldseyri farm (they grow, among other things, barley and wheat, which is very rare in Iceland).

If you weren’t there to witness the eruption first-hand, the visitor centre is likely a fair and efficient way to experience and learn about that truly grandiose event.

Admission 800 ISK, free for children under 12.
The Eyjafjallajökull Erupts Visitor Centre is located right on Route 1, and is 140 km east of Reykjavík. Open from 09:00–18:00 from June–August, see http://www.icelanderupts.is/ for further info.

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