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Published: February 18th 2021
18th February Iceland Highlights of the West Part I: - Hraunfossar - Lavafields and Waterfalls
Hraunfossar - Lava Falls are beautiful and unusual natural phenomena, a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres out of the lava which flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the Glacier. The waterfalls pour into the glacial river Hvita from ledges of less porous rock in the lava.
The Glacier is 40km inland.
As we walked with our virtual guide Albert the views were stunning, I loved all the different colours and textures of the lava rock against the turquoise and white waters.
The pedestrian bridge across the river was originally built in 1891 and renovated exactly a century later. Originally it was used to drive sheep across the river.
Just upriver from the bridge is the so-called Barnafoss (The Children’s Waterfall), where there on d was a natural stone arch across.
According to the legend, a widow with two children lived at the farm, one Christmas she and her some of her workers went to attend services at the church on the other side of the
river. They left the two children at home and could not find them upon returning home. Their tracks led down to the stone arch and it was obvious that they had fallen in and drowned. The grief stricken mother had the arch demolished and donated the farm to the church in their memory.
A break for lunch, Albert drove on to the next destination, Deildartunguver. Highlights of the West Part II: Voluminous Hotspring and Endemic Plant at Deildartunguhver
The largest spring in Iceland is Deildartunguhver – constantly boiling pool of geysers and spouters. It’s flow rate of 180 litres per second gives it the status of largest flowing hot spring in Europe
The water at Deildartunguhver hot spring emerges at a constant 97 degrees Celsius, making it incredibly dangerous for those who venture too close. Thankfully Albert was the only person there today and walked us up close on the various walkways and observation points.
Due to the sheer energy bubbling under Deildartunguhver, much of the water is used for heating Icelandic homes. In the 1979’s, during the oil crisis, a dire need for cheaper energy arose. As a result, a
very ambitious project was created.
The pipe we saw travels to villages 34 kilometres & 64 kilometres away.
This means that if you’ve taken a shower or bath within a 64-kilometre radius of Deildartunguhver, you will have touched the water from the hot spring.
The dense steam emissions and the narrow concrete edging means it is quite challengig to take satisfying pictures but Albert, despite his glasses and the camera lens misting over, did well so that we could enjoy this incredible sight.
Around the hot springs grows a unique plant, a fern called Struthiopteris fallax This fern is the only endemic fern in Iceland, and it does not grow anywhere else in the world.
It must be amazing to see during the summer months in its green state rather than the brown state today so I googled for a better look.
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