Over time, the Námafjall volcano in northeastern Iceland has formed a bizarre moonscape of bubbling mud puddles, smoking gullets, and stinking holes.
Námafjall, a pastel-colored ridge, is located in the Mývatn area in the northeast of Iceland and is one of our top 10 sights of Iceland. Although it looks very inconspicuous at first glance, it is an active volcano that has given the landscape in its immediate vicinity a fascinating appearance. At the foot of Námafjall are the two high temperature areas of Ódáðahraun and Möðrudalsöræfi.
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PICTURES: Volcanic landscapes Námafjall and Hverarönð
Visit to the volcanoes of Námafjall
The starting point for a visit to Námafjall is the parking lot at the foot of Námafjall, which can be reached directly from Ring Road 1. From here, marked hiking trails lead to the fascinating mountain, which takes visitors into a completely different world.
Volcanic sulfur vapors wrap the whimsical lunar landscape in a cloud of rotten egg smells, and trails wind up the mountain between simmering and smoking mud pots. Hot steam permanently makes its way up from the ground. You feel like you're in a giant blast furnace that could explode at any moment.
Arriving at the highest point of Namafjall, from a height of 482 m you have an impressive view of the hissing and hissing solfataras at the foot of the ridge all the way to Lake Mývatn and the Möðrudalsöræfi desert.
Tip: Good shoes are especially important for the way up, especially when it is wet and slippery. Hiking poles are then certainly also very helpful.
High temperature area Hverarönð (also called Námaskarð)
If you haven't had enough yet, you can make another detour to the high temperature area of Hverarönð, one of the best known such regions in Iceland. In travel guides, Hverarönð is also often referred to as Námafjall or Námaskarð. Here you can find lots of cozy boiling mud pools and solfatars.
The air is saturated with sulfur, water vapor and lots of other minerals that escape from the earth's interior. At a depth of 1,000 meters, temperatures of about 200°C have been measured here. From the parking lot, marked paths lead between them, the barriers must be respected.
What is a Solfatar?
A solfatar is a hole in the ground that emits volcanic gases that have temperatures between 100 and 250°C. The main components of gases from solfataras are hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. When the hydrogen sulfide meets the oxygen in the air, sulfur and sulfur dioxide are formed and the characteristic smell of rotten eggs spreads. When dissolved in water, sulfur dioxide becomes sulfurous acid, which attacks the soil and breaks down its mineral components. This forms the mud puddles, under the surface of which the gases escape as bursting bubbles, making the mud puddles appear to boil.