Friday, 22 January 2016

Iceland 2.18: Krafla 1

The following day dawned dull and grey, but thankfully it was no longer tipping down.  Mývatn was like a mirror in the calm conditions; and, because there was no sun to prompt them to hatch, the lakeside was mercifully free of midges.

The plan for the morning was to visit Krafla, which is only a short drive from Reykjahlíð.  We'd visited the main volcano caldera and power station on our previous trip, so this time we decided to go for a walk to the large geothermal area which was the site of the Krafla Fires: a series of fissure eruptions and magma movements which happened between December 1975 and September 1984.  Not very long ago in geological time, in other words.

Some of the older lava is now covered in mosses and lichens, but there are still plenty of places consisting of bare rock.  A few straggly plants had managed to gain a foothold in the hostile environment, but nothing of any size.

Evidence of volcanic activity was everywhere, and the ground was steaming in places as we approached the site of the most recent eruption.

We were expecting other visitors at a place as famous as Krafla, but it soon became clear that the number of people wielding expensive camera equipment was rather higher than normal.  They turned out to be Homo photographicus rutheniensis - a bunch of Russians on a photographic tour of Iceland.  Very well equipped, but they all had one thing in common: not one of them seemed to know what a lens hood was for...

The rather ominous pall arising in the distance is not an impending volcanic eruption, but steam coming from the nearby geothermal power station.