This film is part of Free


A silent colour film documenting the study of the 1947-48 eruption of Icelandic volcano Hekla – one of the world’s largest eruptions between 1900 and 1970.

1948 8 mins Silent


Film of a scientific expedition undertaken during the eruption of Hekla in 1948; it begins with personnel boarding an RAF aircraft then shows aerial views of the volcano (from a bi-plane), including smoke (which rose at its highest to 30km), ash and lava flow. Also, scenes of the surrounding landscape, and a team near a hut taking part in a friendly skiing race.

Hekla erupted on 29th March 1947. Five weeks after the beginning of the eruption, an almost continuous emission of ash persisted for two months. Lava flowed for 13 months, finally ending in April 1948. Hekla is located 110km east of Reykjavik. It stands at a height of 1,491m (4,892 ft.) and is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes, having erupted over 20 times since 874. Its last eruption was in February 2000. During the middle ages it was believed that Hekla was the entrance to Hell.