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Eldgja and Ofaerufoss


Eldgja and Ofaerufoss (Eldgjá means “Fire Canyon”) are a volcanic canyon and waterfall within Vatnajökull National Park.  Eldgjá and the Katla Volcano Iceland are part of the same volcanic system in the southern highlands of Iceland.

Nearby places: Langisjór, Lakagígar-Laki, Lakagígar-Tjarnargígur, Rauðibotn

How to get to Eldgja and Ofaerufoss

Situated close to Hólaskjól and Langisjór, between Landmannalaugar and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Eldgja and Ofaerufoss is believed to be the largest volcanic canyon in the world, approx. 40 km long, 270 m deep and 600 m wide at its greatest.

First eruption at Eldgja

The first documented eruption in 939 was the largest flood basalt in historic time. An estimated 18 km3 of magma poured out of the earth. Evidence from tree rings from around the Northern Hemisphere indicated that the eruption in 939 caused the summer of 940 to be one of the coldest summers in 1500 years. Summer average temperatures in places as disparate as Central Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Alaska, and Central Asia were 2°C lower than normal.

Ófærufoss waterfall

There is a waterfall named Ófærufoss within the canyon. A natural bridge across the waterfall collapsed in 1993, reportedly due to excess water from melting ice. The northern part of Eldgjá, including Ófærufoss, and surrounding areas, have been a part of Vatnajökull National Park since 2011.