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Extreme Ice and Fire | The Diamond Circle
Picture by my Life, the Universe and Everything

Extreme Ice and Fire

The remote area of Gjástykki, 5km North of Krafla, is a rugged and harshly beautiful rift zone which shows the power of nature in its most primordial feature. Gjástykki was blown apart during the eruption of Krafla dating 1975 to 1984. The forces of volcanic and geothermic activity were so potent that a 20 metres high wall was created on both sides of the valley. Two of the three areas that were active during that time are still steamy and warm.

The most iconic landmark of the area is the red mountain that stands out the dark lava fields but the whole zone is covered with multicoloured slags erupted from Krafla. The otherworldly landscapes of Gjástykki seem to be surfaced straight from the centre of the Earth itself and gives a great chance to explore how the tectonic movement that splits the country in half takes place.

Picture by Logi H G photostream

South-East of lake Mývatn, among the craggy lava field of Laxardalshraun, is the location of a truly hidden nature wonder: the cave of Lofthellir, 3500 year old and 370 meters long. Even if actually a lava cave with all sort of spectacular lava formations, Lofthellir is mostly known to be an ice cave because of the magical ice sculptures that give life to a surreal and magnificent world of ice, lava and darkness.

Gjástykki is a very sensitive area and private vehicles are not allowed in order to preserve it.
Lofthellir entrance is hard to find and a special equipment is required for a visit.
This is why both the locations can only be accessed on a tour.

How to get here:
The tours to Gjástykki and Lofthellir usually depart from Mývatn, Húsavík or Akureyri. Some tours combine the visit to the two locations.


Text by Francesco Perini
Heading picture by my Life, the Universe and Everything
Mid text picture by Logi H G photostream

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