I’m delving into a fascinating and kind of scary possibility. Vík í Mýrdal is a small town in South Iceland that has become a popular place for tourists to stop to see the area’s famous black sand beach, to stay the night if they need accommodations, and so on.However, most visitors don’t know about the potential danger that looms over this town of just over 800 residents. Katla volcano, which is about 26 kilometers or 16 miles from the town, poses a threat not only to the town if it erupts but it also could have a larger impact on the world.
The Lava Show in Vík í Mýrdal and Reykjavík
Before I jump into that, I’d like to thank The Lava Show for sponsoring this episode. During this incredible experience you can witness actual molten hot lava flow into the showroom where you are sitting. I have been to the show twice, specifically The Lava Show in Vík but they now also have a show in Reykjavík too.While I have been fortunate to see lava from a volcanic eruption a decent amount of times due to the last two eruptions in Iceland, I was still blown away at how cool it is to see man made lava at the Lava Show. Of course, there is more to this show than just lava. For instance, at the Lava Show in Vík, you get shown a fascinating and informative video about about eruptions along the south coast, including Katla. I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say that the eruptions in this area, including Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, have definitely made their mark in history.
Why The Lava Show is Unique
What‘s even more interesting to me is that the great grandfather of one of the owners of The Lava Show lived in the Vík area during the last eruption of Katla volcano. It is intense what he and his family went through to survive it and they provide insight into that during the show.Along with seeing the glowing orangey red lava flowing, you feel the heat rise in the room and can hear the crackling sounds of the lava as it cools. The presenters of the show safely show everyone different aspects of how the lava performs, such as if you were to add ice to it or how malleable it is when super hot. This is an activity for all ages. For both locations the Lava Show had to make a special furnace that can heat up the rocks high enough to make the lava.For an additional price, you can get the behind the scenes expereince to see the furnace and learn more about Icelandic geology.What is unique about the Lava Show in Vík and the one in Reykjavík is that each show is catered to talk about the volcanoes of the area they are in, including the potential dangers the eruptions in these areas can pose. For those that are unaware, Vík is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Reykjavík.If you want a unique and fun experience in Iceland, I highly recommend checking out the Lava Show in Vík and/or in Reykjavík. I will have a link to the experience in the show notes of this episode at allthingsiceland.com/katla-volcano-eruption
How Katla Volcano Got Its Name
The folklore as to how Katla volcano got its name might give you some insight on why people see an eruption of it as one to cause concern. Legend has it that on a monastery in south Iceland lived a housekeeper named Katla. She was described as a bad-tempered woman and there was even a rumor that she was a witch. Apparently, she owned a pair of magical pants or underwear. If someone were to wear these pants they could run as fast as the wind and never get tired.Due to her bad temper many people feared Katla and did their best to stay away from her. Even the head of the monastery was said to keep his distance. There was also a shepherd named Barði that lived on the monastery.