When you think of lava, you might think of red-hot molten rock oozing, if not pouring, down the sides of an erupting volcano. When you think of basalt – a cooled, solid-rock version of lava (admittedly, most non-geologists would probably NOT be thinking of basalt, ordinarily) – you would probably think it’s colouring to be on the brown and on the boring side of life.
No so, just down the drag from Hell, at Leirhnjúkur (Clay Peak).
Here, the rocks are still warm (the last lava flow, and the blackest of them all, was in 1984), the vents are still steaming and the mud-pots are still bubbling away. It is the very epitome of a post-apocalyptic landscape.
We, along with all the other visitors, picked our way along the narrow, winding pathways through interesting formations to get a closer look at Iceland’s youngest lava flow.
As much as I enjoyed this Geological field trip, I must admit that after this day (bearing in mind we visited Hell and Hverir earlier THE SAME DAY) I was starting to get a little overwhelmed and somewhat fatigued by all the sulphurous fumes. I know my sister was itching to get somewhere more glacial, but we had a ways to go yet before we reached snow and ice…