Iceland

A volcanic eruption moves toward the outskirts of the evacuated town of Grindavik on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula.

Iceland's Recent Volcanic Eruptions Are Unleashing Deep Secrets

Each dramatic episode over the past few years has led to fresh geologic revelations, and researchers think another bout is on the way

People watch Thursday's volcanic eruption in Iceland. The Icelandic Meteorological Office said Friday afternoon local time that there were no more signs of eruptive activity.

Iceland Volcano Erupts Again, Cutting Off Hot Water From Towns and Spewing Fountains of Lava

This marks the third eruption since December in a region that, prior to 2021, hadn't seen volcanic activity for centuries

A church with a red roof and steeple sticks out against the sprawling landscape as the sun pokes through the hazy clouds.

Get an Eyeful of Iceland in These 15 Photos That Capture Its Natural Beauty

These selections from the Smithsonian magazine photo contest will transport you to the small Scandinavian island

Lava flows from a fissure on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on January 14.

Iceland Volcano Eruption Destroys Homes, May Signal a New Era of Frequent Activity

Fissures near Grindavík ejected lava for the second time in one month and engulfed three homes in the coastal fishing town

A volcano erupts near the evacuated town of Grindavík in southwestern Iceland.

Volcano Erupts in Iceland After Weeks of Earthquake Activity

On Monday night, plumes of lava and ash blasted more than 330 feet into the air

The small fishing village of Grindavík, which officials evacuated late last week as a precaution in advance of a likely volcanic eruption in the area.

Iceland Braces for a Likely Volcanic Eruption as Earthquakes Increase

The country's Reykjanes Peninsula has been experiencing swarms of seismic activity for weeks, as magma accumulates beneath the surface

Crowds gather for the summer solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

Nine Ways People Celebrate the Summer Solstice Around the World

Across the Northern Hemisphere, worshippers of the longest day of the year build bonfires, plunge into the ocean and visit prehistoric monuments

Thor rests in Scarborough Harbor in England on December 31, 2022.

The Unusual European Journey of Thor the Walrus

It's rare to see one of these massive marine mammals in Western Europe, but Thor spent several months delighting crowds in multiple countries

Íris Dröfn Guðmundsdóttir (left) and her cousin Anton Ingi Eiríksson release pufflings from the Hamarinn sea cliff on the Icelandic island of Heimaey.

An Icelandic Town Goes All Out to Save Baby Puffins

Kids and senior citizens alike rally to rescue beloved young seabirds that have lost their bearings

About 100 miles northwest of Mexico City in the UNESCO-designated Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, up to a billion of the brilliant-winged insects spend November to March clustered on branches.

A Ring of Fire, Millions of Monarchs and Other Rare Natural Phenomena Worth Traveling For

Be in the right place at the right time to witness these sublime sights

Signed copies of the thriller Reykjavik, co-written by Iceland's Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson, one of the most popular crime writers in the world, are pictured during the official release of the book in Reykjavik, Iceland, on October 25, 2022.

Iceland's Christmas Book Flood Is a Force of Nature

The nation’s seasonal publishing and gifting tradition nourishes its unique literary culture

The centuries-old tradition involves sorting these woolly creatures after a summer of free-grazing on mountain grasses and berries in the highlands.

Iceland's Annual Tradition of Counting Sheep Is Far From Sleepy

Every fall, across the country, farmers and their friends and family gather to sort the ewes and rams that spent the summer free-grazing

Lava rises from the volcano eruption in Iceland's Meradalir valley late on August 6.

Why Hikers Are Clamoring to Photograph a Volcanic Eruption in Iceland, Despite Risks

Toxic gas, hypothermia and fragile terrain are among the site’s dangers

Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth, a Viking prince who seeks to avenge the murder of his father.

The History Behind Robert Eggers' 'The Northman'

The revenge saga blends traditional accounts with the supernatural to convey the lived experience of the Viking age

Medieval manuscripts featuring stories about King Arthur and Camelot

How Much Medieval Literature Has Been Lost Over the Centuries?

A new analysis suggests that just 9 percent of manuscripts produced in Europe during the Middle Ages survive today

Seasonal influxes of fishermen fed roaring local economies and attracted herring girls—women who came from across Iceland to take jobs gutting, cleaning and salting barrels of freshly caught fish.

How Iceland's Herring Girls Helped Bring Equality to the Island Nation

Between the 1910s and 1960s, thousands of young women formed the backbone of the country's thriving fishing industry

Unearthed in Norway, this crowned figure with a falcon on its right arm dates to the 13th century, and may be the oldest depiction of falconry discovered in Scandinavia.

One of the Oldest Depictions of Falconry in Scandinavia Is Discovered

The 800-year-old carved figure holding a falcon was found at a dig site in Norway

A recreation of Viking structures at L’Anse aux Meadows

New Dating Method Shows Vikings Occupied Newfoundland in 1021 C.E.

Tree ring evidence of an ancient solar storm enables scientists to pinpoint the exact year of Norse settlement

Killer whales are among the oceans’ top predators. But in Iceland, pilot whales have them running scared.

Why Do Pilot Whales Chase Killer Whales Near Iceland?

Scientists are working to understand the strange inter-cetacean conflict

In the modern era, the European discovery of North American became a proxy for conflicts between American Protestants and Catholics, as well as northern Europeans who claimed Vikings like Leif Eriksson (left) as their ancestors and southern Europeans who touted links to Columbus (right) and the monarchs of Spain.

Viking Map of North America Identified as 20th-Century Forgery

New technical analysis dates Yale's Vinland Map to the 1920s or later, not the 1440s as previously suggested

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