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The Westman Islands came to international attention in 1973 with the eruption from a fissure that opened, destroying many buildings, forcing a months-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland.

The eruption officially lasted 5 months and by that time, more than 400 buildings had been buried and collapsed under the weight of tephra, burned by bombs or crushed by lava. A new scoria-crater had formed soon to be named Eldfel (Fire Mountain).

The excellent new Eldheimar museum focuses particularly on one cottage, where elements of everyday life coexist with petrified ash forming dramatic waterfalls around the building.  The area is being called the ‘Pompeii  of the North’.