Located east of Lake Mývatn on the mid-Atlantic ridge, Námafjall (also known as Hverarönd) is a geothermal field near Highway 1. Here, the ground trembles, spits, smokes and whistles for the happiness of the eyes and nostrils! As before a small cataclysm, everything seems ready to explode!
1Walk among smokers and pots of mud in Námafjall (Hverarönd)
Formerly exploited for sulphur by the King of Denmark for the manufacture of gunpowder, this site is sublimated by its orange and yellow colors, stemming from local sulphur and geothermal activity, thus altering the natural colors.
Volcanic activity seems very close. The few pools of water and mud bubble. The Krafla's magmatic chamber, located a few hundred metres away, warms up the groundwater pockets. The gases thus formed are released by escaping through ducts leading to the surface.
Be careful not to burn yourself because the temperatures are close to 100°C.
The minerals that rise to the surface form deposits that crystallize in contact with the fresh air, tinting and shaping this incredible landscape. In some places, an unpleasant, but characteristic scent of geothermal sites emerges from the bowels of the earth. Assimilated to "rotten egg", it is actually hydrogen sulphide.
Personally, I like this smell because it reminds me of the memories of our other trips in hostile terrain. But it is possible that you will be bothered by this sweet smell of sulphide!
The site itself is not very large. We'll be around pretty soon. Small paths have been mapped out with the help of pickets to access the various mud ponds, chimneys and other solfatares. Wooden pontoons allow you to get as close as possible to certain potholes. As the ground is not very stable in some places, we recommend that you stay on the paths and pontoons to avoid any risk of burns.
If you wish to take advantage of the surroundings, you can extend the discovery by taking a path that goes southwards. It climbs the small surrounding hills to the summit of Mount Námafjall and makes a 3.5 km loop along the ridges (count 1h30 to 2h00). Be careful because the ascent is quite steep, and in rainy weather, the path turns into a mud track.
2A final anecdote for the road
Did you know that the smallest volcanic eruption ever recorded was caused by humans? It took place not far from here, in 1977, following the completion of a borehole that mistakenly reached the Krafla magmatic chamber, thus allowing about 1.2 m³ of lava to flow!
Further drilling has been carried out in the zone for the geothermal power plant located a few metres towards Krafla. You will not be able to miss the huge pipes that come out of the ground and snake on the slopes of the volcano.
- We recommend that you admire this site in the sun, as the rays reveal the golden hues of the surrounding hills.
- If it has rained recently, the ground may be muddy and slippery. Brushes have been installed in the parking lot to clean the shoes.