18. Eldhraun lava

Eldhraun lava. Photo Ingibjörg Kaldal.The Mývatn fires of 1724 to ‘29 began with a few rifting episodes, followed by four lava eruptions. As with the Krafla fires of 1975 to ‘84, the first three continued for approximately a week, whilst the last one persisted for three months. It was at this time that the Eldhraun pahoehoe lava formed, between Reykjahlíð and Grímsstaðir. Lava flowed down a dry riverbed forming a fiery stream, now called Eldá. It destroyed three farms in its path, including Reykjahlíð. The church however, suffered a narrow escape, as lava surrounded the hill on which it stood. One can see that the houses standing there now are right by the lava's edge and some are built on top of the lava. An older lava had followed the same course 8000 years earlier and this extends to Grímsstaðir and Slútnes by northwest Lake Mývatn. Smooth pahoehoe lava as this formed in the final phase of the "fires" and was of relatively long duration. Such eruptions differ from short eruptive episodes of high eruption rate in that they flow long distances in closed channels or lava tubes, forming smooth pahoehoe, rather than flowing in open channels and forming rubbly aa lavas.

Eldhraun lava.