I was going to wait until November to do a series on my trip to Iceland but each time I look at the pictures I get so excited and lose all patience with my planned schedule of posts so I thought I would get it out of my system and share the magical world Iceland's Eldraun Lava Field.
Eldhraun Lava Field
Iceland is one of those countries or island that is just out of this world! You have water boiling in the earth right before you, pools elevated into the mountains, waterfalls cascading down the mountains and you are just in awe of what this tiny island has to offer. Exploring Iceland is like re-discovering a planet in some ways. What you experience and see in Iceland is nothing your eyes can ever prepare for. Once you have seen Skogafoss, Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, remnants of volcanic explosions, the litli Geysir. Then you enter the magical world of Eldhraun Lava Field. Its mind blowing!
As soon as you set your eye on Eldhraun Lava Field, it's like being transported into some sort of fairy land. I guess that explains my excitement in the pictures below because this place just felt surreal! Eldhraun Lava Field is the biggest lava flow in the world that occurred during the Eldhraun eruption in the late 1700s. Having driven close to the pin I had saved on my google maps we pulled into one of the side roads and drove into what is part of a 565 square kilometers of this moss-covered lava field. The moss is thicker than some of the most expensive carpets I have ever come across and oh so soft. Stepping around the moss-covered lava with wondrous laughter at the sheer amazement of having the place to ourselves with moss as far as the eye can see. It's all so serene and scary at the same time as the eyes, feet and hands have never seen nor come into contact with anything like this before. As beautiful as the lava field is, it disguises what is one the most violent and devastating eruptions of our time. The Lakagigar eruption only comes second to the eruption of the the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia. Lakagigar's eruption or Laki as is sometimes referred to, in 1783, went on to kill 10, 000 people in Iceland when the island was populated with only 50,000 people at the time.
From Lava to Moss in 8 Months
Within less than a year the area where the lava had settled began to dress the lava and cover the sins and violent past of Laki eruptions with moss. Laki is the volcanic system in the same south-eastern part of Iceland where eruptions that brought flights to a standstill in 2010 is. Living people stranded around Europe as the ash clouds proved too dangerous to fly in. As deadly as the eruptions were, we now have this beautiful site as a reminder of the past. The moss covers volcanic rocks some of which are immobile and sharp so you have to take great care when walking around on it as well as not to walk too far because you just don't know what is underneath and whether there are any holes or gaps in the rocks. Another interesting factor to the lava fields in Iceland is that Apollo 11 crew trained in Iceland, on the "assumption was that on the Moon we would encounter tectonic formations principally, or remnants of volcanic and tectonic lava flows, that sort of thing." Although, Icelandic tourism websites say that they trained in Eldhraun or lava fields, I have yet to find any NASA online documents confirming specific areas where Apollo 11 crew trained. Whether or not they did, this is one place you have to experience in Iceland. Well that's in addition to the crazy and out of this tiny world wonders that can be found on this small island.