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Geological Wonders of Mývatn Area

Updated: Feb 26

Iceland's stunning landscapes are a testament to the raw power of nature, and the Myvatn area, located in the northern part of the country, is no exception. Known for its diverse and unique geological features, this region is a haven for those seeking to connect with the great outdoors.

Mt. Hverfjall in the winter time
Mt. Hverfjall

The Myvatn Area is situated in the northeastern part of Iceland and is characterized by its stunning volcanic landscapes. The region was formed through a series of volcanic eruptions and is dotted with craters, lava fields, and geothermal features. The most prominent feature is Lake Myvatn itself, a shallow eutrophic lake that was created by a large basaltic lava eruption over 2,300 years ago.

The surrounding area is a showcase of diverse geological phenomena, including pseudocraters, lava pillars, and the peculiar Dimmuborgir lava formations. The geological history of Myvatn is a testament to the Earth's dynamic forces, leaving visitors in awe of the raw power of nature.


Lake Myvatn


Mývatn Lake is about 37 square kilometers in area, adorned with numerous inlets and creeks, and adorned by approximately 50 islands and islets. Despite its expansive appearance, the lake boasts an average depth of 2.5 meters, with its natural depth reaching only around 4 meters.


What truly sets Mývatn apart is its unique ecosystem. The lake derives its name from the countless midges that inhabit the area, creating a distinctive ambiance. The bird life is exceptionally diverse, with more species of ducks reported to inhabit Mývatn than any other place on Earth.


The Mývatn district presents a varied and unique landscape, sculpted by intense volcanic activity. Its geological features, including craters, lava formations, and hot springs, contribute to the area's unparalleled natural beauty. This region is a testament to the dynamic forces that have shaped Iceland's breathtaking scenery.


Geological History


Mývatn area is on the boundary between the North American and Eurasian plate. They drift about 2 cm apart each year, and lava wells up and fills the rift. This has caused great volcanic activity here through the ages.


Lake Mývatn emerged approximately 2300 years ago through a monumental fissure eruption, unleashing basaltic lava that flowed down the Laxárdalur valley to the Aðaldalur lowland plain and eventually entered the Arctic Ocean, about 50 km away from the present-day Mývatn.


At the time of the eruption, there existed a large lake in the area, a precursor to the present-day Mývatn. As the lava encountered the lake, steam explosions occurred, trapping water-logged lake sediment beneath the lava. This led to the creation of pseudocraters, groups of craters that dominate the landscape around Lake Mývatn, prominently seen at Skútustaðir.


Situated on the western border of the volcanic zone, which extends across northeastern Iceland as an extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Mývatn area boasts geological formations dating from the Ice Age and postglacial times. During the Ice Age, glaciers shaped the Mývatn basin, leaving behind moraines. Postglacial cycles brought forth volcanic activity, with the Lúdent and Hverfjall cycles forming notable craters and lava flows. The third cycle, Mývatnseldar, occurred in 1724–1729, displaying characteristics similar to the Krafla volcanic activity in 1975–1984.


Your Icelandic Adventure Awaits!


Now that you've glimpsed the natural wonders of Mývatn, why not embark on your adventure to experience its beauty firsthand? Mývatn offers an unforgettable journey into Iceland's natural marvels. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the magic of this extraordinary destination.


For a cozy and convenient stay, book your guesthouse in advance. Don't miss the chance to explore this geological gem - pack your bags, set out on a memorable journey, and let the wonders of Mývatn unfold before your eyes!

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