- One of the largest lava fields in the world – spread over an area of 565 km2.
- Created in late 18th Century.
- Walking on the moss is not advisable.
“Eldhraun lava fields” or “Fire lava Field” is known to be one of the largest of its kind in the world. Situated along Iceland’s south coast, it is a must-visit because of its historic and geologic importance. It was created in one of the greatest recorded eruptions, i.e the Laki eruption in the late 18th Century. The fire lava field is spread over an area of 565 square kilometers. Moreover, the lava field consists of one of the greatest lava tube systems in the country. In 1969, the Apollo 11 crew practiced for their imminent moonwalk at Eldhraun for its similarity to the surface of the moon.
Well, that is not all for this magnificent place. It will give you a lot more reasons to visit and experience nature’s beauty put on display here. As it has more than 200 caves that extend for more than 5 kilometers and 14 cubic meters. Despite the eruption, it is a perfect place to explore the Icelandic flora and fauna. Due to the eruption, the moss took decades to grow. The field is, however, unexpectedly very fragile, which is why walking on the lava field is not advisable.
The 1783 Eruption
The horrendous eruption that created Eldhraun lava fields lasted from 1783 to 1784. It is also popularly known as the Skaftáreldar (Skafta River Fires). In June 1783, a volcanic fissure with 130 circular depressions opened because of a phreatic eruption. The eruption took place because of the interaction between the groundwater and the rising basalt magma. This event is also ranked at no. 4 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. However, the eight-month emission of sulfur aerosols had a huge impact on Iceland, which also resulted in a mass migration to Denmark.
Skaftáreldar produced approximately 3.4 cubic meters of basalt lava and emitted 0.2 cubic meters of tephra. The height of lava fountains created during the eruption was around 2,600 to 4,600 feet. The unpleasant event also killed more than half of the domestic animals. It also had adverse effects on the other parts of Europe. There were also speculations that due to the eruption the crop failure may have contributed to the French Revolution. The eruption lasted till the 7th February 1784, but as per the records, the lava was ejected in the first five months.
Where can I see the Eldhraun Lava field?
Eldhraun mossy lava field is near the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. It can be seen when driving through the roads of south Iceland. The field is further around road no. 204. To reach the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, you can take Road No. 1 or Ring Road. Eldhraun lava fields are just 60 Km away from the Vik towards the East, where you can also spot a picnic sign on the right side of the road.
The best view can be enjoyed from Road No.1 by just taking a small parking lot exit. It is a perfect destination for travelers who love to explore the geologic wonders of the natural world.