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Hekla(hĕk`lä), volcano, 4,892 ft (1,491 m) high, SW Iceland. Since the early 11th cent. more than 20 eruptions have been recorded; the worst occurred in 1766 and the most recent in 1947. Hekla emits steam and has several crater lakes. In medieval Icelandic folklore Hekla was believed to be one of the gates to purgatory; it is also a legendary gathering place for witches.
(Icelandic “cap” or “hood,” probably from the layer of mist that shrouds its top), an active volcano in the southern part of Iceland, 110 km east of Reykjavík. It is a stratovolcano 1,491 meters high, formed as the result of numerous eruptions along a fissure. From its top, streams of basalt lava, which poured out during the last big eruption in 1947-48, slope down on all sides. The volume of the magma ejected in 1947-48 is estimated at 0.4 cu km. The altitude of Hekla during that eruption increased from 1,447 m to 1,502 m, but later it was somewhat reduced as a result of the destruction of the crater’s rims. The first recorded eruption was in A.D. 1104. Hekla proper and the area around it have had in all more than 20 eruptions. The eruption in 1766, in which human lives were lost, was particularly destructive.