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20.04.2020

Volcano House, Iceland

Volcano House is a Geology exhibition in Reykjavík, Iceland, located at Tryggvagata 11. The exhibition gives a brief overview of Iceland's geological history and volcanic systems. Every hour the Volcano House shows two documentaries, one about the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 and one about the volcanic eruption in the Westman Islands in 1973. Volcano House also includes a coffee shop and a gift shop. Opening hours are from 9.00 - 22.00 every day of the week.

Admission for the Geology exhibition is free, but ticket price for the cinema, both documentaries, is 1990 ISK per person. 1700 ISK for senior citizens and students (with a student card), 1600 ISK for Reykjavik Welcome Card holders, 1000 ISK for children between 12-16 and 500 ISK for children between 6-12.

Volcano House was established in 2011 by the siblings Hörður Gunnarsson, Þórir Gunnarsson, Svavar Gunnarsson, Dagbjört Gunnarsdóttir and their families. According to the official website, the Volcano House closed "indefinitely" as of January 15, 2020.

The mission of Volcano House is to give visitors a glimpse of the reality of living in Iceland, where volcanoes and earthquakes are a part of daily life.

Dóra Magnúsdóttir is the general manager of Volcano House. Dóra is a Geographer with 25 years of experience in Icelandic tourism. Other staff members are for example Geologists, Geographers and tour guides.

A brief synopsis of Iceland's geological history and volcanic system are displayed in the Volcano House, together with photographs of the volcanic eruptions and other aspects of Icelandic nature. Volcano House offers a hands-on geology exhibition where guests can handle various samples of pumice, ash and lava from Icelandic volcanoes, for example ash from Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn and pumice from Hekla. A collection of semi-precious rocks and minerals from around the country are also on display, and are available for purchase. Rocks on display are for example Jaspis, Opal, Obsidian, Rock crystal and Iceland spar. Volcano House offers guidance and information throughout the exhibit.

The interior design of the exhibition is meant to look like it's from 1973 which is the year when the volcanic eruption in Heimaey in the Westman Islands occurred.

The Volcano House cinema presents two documentaries covering two of the most powerful volcanic eruptions that have occurred in Iceland over the last 40 years - the 1973 eruption in Heimaey on the Westman Islands, and the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in South Iceland. The documentaries are exclusively made for Volcano House and can not be shown anywhere else. Each screening is about 55 minutes and starts with a short personal introduction on Volcanology in Iceland. The films are shown every hour from 09:00 to 21:00. The films are also available in German, French and Icelandic. In the summertime the films are shown in German and French but from September until May they are shown in other languages upon request.

The coffee shop at Volcano House offers a "volcanic menu". The menu for example contains geothermally grown Icelandic vegetables and geothermally baked rye bread. The food served at the coffee shop is cooked with barley and cold pressed organic rape-seed oil grown in the regions around Eyjafjallajökull. The coffee at Volcano House coffee shop is brewed from beans grown in the volcanic hills of Guatemala and a piece of chocolate lava is served with the coffee.

Items sold at the gift shop are for example lava rocks, pumice, bottles of ash from Eyjafjallajökull, lava jewelry, and illustrated poster with instructions for making 'lava cake'.

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