The millennium eruption of Hekla in February 2000

Ármann Höskuldsson*, Níels Óskarsson, Rikke Pedersen, Karl Grönvold, Kristín Vogfjörð, Rósa Ólafsdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The 18th historic eruption of Hekla started on 26 February, 2000. It was a short-lived but intense event, emitting basaltic andesitic (55.5 wt% SiO2) pyroclastic fragments and lava. During the course of the eruption, monitoring was done by both instruments and direct observations, together providing unique insight into the current activity of Hekla. During the 12-day eruption, a total of 0.189 km3 DRE of magma was emitted. The eruptive fissure split into five segments. The segments at the highest altitude were active during the first hours, while the segments at lower altitude continued throughout the eruption. The eruption started in a highly explosive manner giving rise to a Subplinian eruptive column and consequent basaltic pyroclastic flows fed by column collapses. After the explosive phase reached its maximum, the eruption went through three more phases, namely fire-fountaining, Strombolian bursts and lava effusion. In this paper, we describe the course of events of the eruption of Hekla and the origin of its magma, and then show that the discharge rate can be linked to different style of eruptive activity, which are controlled by fissure geometry. We also show that the eruption phases observed at Hekla can be linked with inferred magma chamber overpressure prior to the eruption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Other keywords

  • Discharge rate
  • Eruption
  • Hekla
  • Iceland
  • Lava flow
  • Pyroclastic flows
  • Segmentation
  • Volcano


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