Volcanoes

From Hagi you can visit two well known volcanoes, Krafla and Askja.

Krafla is a caldera close to Mývatn (45 minute drive from Hagi) and has erupted 29 times in recorded history, the last of which was in 1984. The Krafla area also contains the “Víti” (english “Hell”) crater which has a green lake at the bottom of it, Námafjall with its boiling mud pools and fumaroles and also the Krafla geothermal power station. The geothermal heat from the Krafla system has also been used to create Mývatn Nature baths, which has also been called the Blue Lagoon of northern Iceland.

Near Mývatn is the village Reykjahlíð with its various attractions and services that we’ll post about in more detail later.

In the area is also the Hrossaborgir crater which is a location used for the movie Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, which was filmed in the summer of 2012. It can bee seen in the beginning of the trailer.

Askja is further away in the highlands and is a long day-tour for those on 4×4 vehicles and is a highly recommended destination. Askja is a stratovolcano which rises to 1510m. “Askja” means box or caldera in Icelandic. Askja was used for training during the Apollo program and is widely used for geology studies. The Askja eruption of 1875 was of a catastrophic scale with ash blown to Norway and Sweden and poisoning and killing livestock in Iceland. The last eruption was in 1961.  In early April 2012 Öskjuvatn (the lake in the smaller caldera) was completely free of ice which usually doesn’t happen until late June or early July each year and there has been increased seismic activity in the area indicating the possibility of an eruption in the near future.

The road to Askja is typically only open from late June to early October depending on weather and road conditions.

This BBC documentary is good viewing for those interested in the volcanoes of Iceland.

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