Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
  Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 64.27°N
  • 16.65°W

  • 1760 m
    5773 ft

  • 374020
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Esjufjoll.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Esjufjoll.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Esjufjoll.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



Unknown - Unrest / Holocene

1760 m / 5773 ft


Volcano Types


Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

The subglacial Esjufjöll volcano at the SE part of the Vatnajökull icecap, north of Öraefajökull volcano, consists of the Snaehetta central volcano and a large caldera. Most of the volcano, including the 40 sq km caldera, is covered by the icecap, but parts of the SE flank are exposed in NW-SE-trending ridges. Most of the exposed rocks are mildly alkaline basalts, but small amounts of rhyolitic rocks are also present. A large jökulhlaup that came down the Jokulsa a Breidamerkursandi along the coast SE of Vatnajökull in the beginning of September 1927 was accompanied by a sulfur stench, and on one occasion ashfall on the Breidamerkurjökull considered to have possibly originated from Esjufjöll. Although Holocene eruptions have not been confirmed from Esjufjöll, earthquake swarms that could indicate magma movements were detected in October 2002.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Bjornsson H, Einarsson P, 1990. Volcanoes beneath Vatnajokull, Iceland: evidence from radio echo-sounding, earthquakes and jokulhlaups. Jokull, 40: 147-168.

Holm F, Tronnes R G, Gronvold K, Torfason H, 2003. Petrology and geochemistry of the Esjufjoll central volcano, SE Iceland. Summer School Tectonic-Magmatic Interaction, 31 August - 8 September, 2003, Geysir, South Iceland, Abs vol, Nordic Volc Inst Rep 0303, p 20-21.

Jakobsson S P, Jonasson K, Sigurdsson I A, 2008. The three igneous rock series of Iceland. Jokull, 58: 117-138.

Johannesson H, Saemundsson K, 1998. Geological map of Iceland, 1:500,000. Tectonics. Icelandic Inst Nat Hist, Reykjavik.

Steinthorsson S, et al., 2002. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World - Iceland. Unpublished manuscript.

Thordarson T, Hoskuldsson A, 2008. Postglacial eruptions in Iceland. Jokull, 58: 197-228.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1927 Sep 5 ± 4 days ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 1  

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Snaehetta Stratovolcano

Photo Gallery

The subglacial Esjufjöll volcano rises at the upper left part of the photo above Breidamerkurjökull glacier, with its prominent medial moraines. Icebergs calved from the massive glacier can be seen floating in Jökulsárlón lake, which drains into the Atlantic Ocean (extreme lower right). Esjufjöll is located at the SE part of the Vatnajökull icecap, north of Öræfajökull volcano, and may contain a central caldera. A minor eruption in 1927 that produced a large jökulhlaup is the only known historical activity from Esjufjöll.

Photo by Oddur Sigurdsson, 1986, (Orkustofnon, Icelandic National Energy Authority).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Esjufjoll in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Esjufjoll Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.