Black, Lava, and Red Roofs

Approaching a roundabout in Grindavik, Iceland.

When I was a young lad, I was fortunate that my grandparents had a collection of National Geographic magazines and as an adult, I subscribed to the print edition for a while.  While I don't remember whether my grandparents kept them in any particular order or if there were ones that held special meaning for them, I do have memories of perusing the articles and photography.  Some, in particular, have stuck in my memory that gets recollected from time-to-time.


September, 2022, we had an opportunity to spend a short stay in Iceland on our way back home from Central Europe. During our, albeit brief, time there, we did rent a car and took a tour of the Reykjanes peninsula. Along that tour, is where we stopped at the spot where the island is splitting, among other locations for other blog posts. One place we tried to visit was one of the active volcanoes. While we did find the parking lot at the trailhead, we were in no position, really, to take a hike to go to the volcano. That's ok as we did get to experience other geothermic activity during our trip.  

Just over 13 months later and there has been a marked increase in earthquake activity in areas along the peninsula. In addition, there has been ground swelling and fractures in the region.  This, among the many other data points, has caused scientists in the various fields to issue warnings of a potential for a volcanic eruption. Such warnings typically garner some time on news broadcasts alerting the public.  The area that was affected by the quakes and ground fractures was Grindavik, Iceland.  

In the news piece I saw, it did not give any indication where in Iceland this was so I opened Apple Maps to see.  Well I'll be. This was in the area where we took our driving tour.  Next, opened Apple Photos and used the Places album to see if I had captured any photos in that area.  Turns out, I did snap a couple of pictures from there.  We had been to the place were the evacuations were happening.

Photos from the Places Album
Photos from our trip in the Places Album.

FLAME-CURTAINED HORIZON augurs doom for houses closest to the volcano, as explosions wrack the day-old fissure along most of its length. Braving the fallout, two residents crunch over a thin layer of ash to salvage household goods. Most of the people had been evacuated to the mainland before daybreak. Two days later creeping lava and deluges of ash would cover the scene.

Over the last week or so, as the mind wanders and thoughts come and go, Grindavik has been on my mind. This has sparked one of those recollections noted above.  I remember looking through a National Geographic issue that talked about a volcanic eruption in Iceland. I didn't remember the content of the article, but did recall components of a picture.  Red Roofs sticking out of a bunch of black rocks/dirt/sand and lava erupting.

Once the National Geographic was available digitally for the iPad, I subscribed and have ever since.  A nice benefit is the ability to reference the archive of issues.  Having no reference as to when the issue with the Iceland volcano was published, a little searching online narrowed it down to July, 1973.  Looking at that issue in the archives, I found the picture I recollected.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland
Volcanic eruption in Iceland as published in July 1973 National Geographic

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