Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/6326
Hazard Assessment and Risk Mitigation for Tourists at Hekla Volcano, South Iceland
Evaluacion de amenzas y mitigacion de riesgos para turistas en el volcan Hekla, sur de Islandia
Hekla volcano is located in South-Central Iceland at the intersection of the South Iceland Seismic Zone and the East Volcanic Zone. Hekla has erupted at least 18 times during historical times (since AD 1104). One of Hekla’s main characteristics is the production of mixed eruptions, i.e., both explosive and effusive. Hekla’s most common final products are of basaltic andesite composition (52 – 54 wt% SiO2). The onsets of the eruptions at Hekla are sudden and without much warning; precursory seismic activity, which have been compared with strain data, can announce the onset of an eruption approximately 30 minutes before the breakthrough. The main hazards threatening tourists hiking to the summit of Hekla are (1) tephra fall (including ballistic) fallout, (2) pyroclastic density currents, (3) lava flows and (4) jökulhlaups or lahars. Other hazards include gas and fluorine poisoning. It is found that life- threatening situations can arise within a few minutes after the onset of an eruption out to a distance of 5 km from the summit. Warning to tourists during the short interval of seismicity before an eruption is therefore very important.
Increase in the number of tourists in this area has a positive impact on the tourist industry income due to the potential development that accompanies; however, it also represents a higher risk of casualties in the event of an eruption. It is suggested that mitigation of risk can be obtained through a combination of public and tourist education, by providing tourism providers with accurate information, by setting up warning signs at strategic places around the volcano and through information in form of pamphlets and web-based information.