One of the commemorate Eyjafjallajökull ash stamps being issued by the Icelandic Post – made with ash from the eruption itself.

Many Eruptions readers would consider themselves volcanophiles (or volcanificiandos?) and I would venture to guess there is a subset of volcano enthusiasts who are also philatelists as well. A philatelist (for those of you out of that select circle) is a stamp enthusiast – a stamp collector. Now, in our modern interwebbed world, I wonder if stamp collecting as a hobby has diminished, but that doesn’t stop countries from still trying to make some money from stamp collectors (and that is not necessarily a bad thing).

Why this sojourn into philatelia? Well, Dr. Robert Zierenberg here at UC Davis (of the “drilling into active magma” fame) just sent me an article link that mentions that the Icelandic Post will be issuing a set of stamps commemorating the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The three stamps have artistic rendering of the fissure and central vent phases of the eruption.Now, what is really interesting about these stamps is they will be made using the trachyandesitic ash of the eruption itself. Yes, you can buy stamps made with ash silkscreened onto the stamp – so not only will the stamp commemorate the eruption, but it will also contain (albeit trace amounts) of the eruption itself. Now, this isn’t the first time something like this has been tried – there are apparently stamps that have been issued with trace meteorite dust, soils, granite and gems – so you never know what bonuses you might be getting when you open your post box (and try that with email).


  1. #1 Gijs de Reijke
    July 22, 2010

    I like 0_o’ ! Must have! Where get?

    I wonder if these stamps will feel a little more coarse than regular stamps. An interesting detail is that they are made in the Netherlands. Maybe I can order them where they are printed:

  2. #2 Birger Johansson
    July 22, 2010

    Another version of this idea -would it be possible to make postal stamps with graphite from the dark line that marks the K/T boundary in some sediments in North America?
    Apparently, the thin smear of soot is what is left from the firestorms after the impact, as ejecta rained over the continent, transporting kinetic energy from Chixchulub.

  3. #3 Diane N CA
    July 22, 2010

    Hmmm. KT boundary graphite? I would like to know where those areas are because I would just like to see it. However, I probably couldn’t get to it even if you could hike to those places you can see it. Not in that good of shape. 🙁

    I guess you never know what you are going to find when you start digging and searching.

  4. #4 Maria
    July 22, 2010

    Erik, it seems your link to the Icelandic Post is a session sensitive link.

    To buy them, go to then select your language and click on Year 2010 issues. The Eyja stamps are at the top. Yey! You have to register an account and it’s credit card or some sort of account thing. To get there from the select English and you should have a banner that advertises the stamps smack dab in the middle of the page.

  5. #5 theroachman
    July 22, 2010

    Well Iceland is a funcionally backrupt country. This is a fun way to raise some money. I will see if my philatelist’s wife wants to get me one of them.

  6. #6 Passerby
    July 22, 2010

    *tapping foot*

    Waiting for IES/IMO to wakeup and realize that they could acknowledge their global fan club and fund several grad students, if they produced a couple of unique Eyjaf posters.

    Better yet, have our two favorite Icelandic geologists autograph them. Yeehaw!

  7. #7 MadScientist
    July 23, 2010

    man 1: What do you do?
    man 2: I collect stamps.
    man 1: Oh, so you’re a philatelist?
    man 2: No, a kleptomaniac.

  8. #8 Raving
    July 24, 2010

    – so you never know what bonuses you might be getting when you open your post box

    Are they scratch-and-sniff?

  9. #9 Lurking
    July 24, 2010



    I remember several years ago, a magazine had put a scratch and sniff area in an article about Cleopatra’s perfume. I’m thinking it was National Geographic. They had re-created it using the ingredient list found in an archaeological dig.

    It had an earthy aroma to it… similar to patchouli.

  10. #10 muriel
    July 25, 2010

    May i have some news from this volcano? As the Webcam are on maintenance, I wonder what’s happen…and children too…
    Muriel from France

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