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Ögmundarhraun lava field and Húshólmi at Reykjanes


Ögmundahraun lava field
Ögmundahraun lava field

For many reasons, the lava field or lava carpet Ögmundarhraun in Reykjanes Peninsula is fascinating. The whole peninsula is home to hundreds of eruptions from thousands of years ago and also from historical times. The landform is an excellent example of how mother nature builds her land. And although the latest eruption at Reykjanes Peninsula was about 700 years ago, the whole peninsula is still defined as active when it comes to volcanos and eruptions. Ögmundarhraun is the product of lava that spread from a volcano near the southern tip of the mountain ridge Vesturháls, which is one of two adjacent mountain ridges at Reykjanes Peninsula. The eruption occurred around 800 - 900 years ago. The lava in Ögmundarhraun is quite typical for moss-covered lava you can see in many places in Iceland and is also quite accessible.


Ögmundarhraun lava field is at Reykjanes Peninsula on the map of Iceland
Ögmundarhraun lava field is at Reykjanes Peninsula on the map of Iceland

Lava that flooded over farms


The lava floaded out to the ocean at Ögmundarhraun
The lava floaded out to the ocean at Ögmundarhraun

At the time of settlement, Reykjanes Peninsula was not an attractive place to settle down in Iceland. Some people made an effort, but quickly it became apparent that it was a difficult place to make a living. Most of the land was covered with lava, as it is today, with limited access to the fertile soil. The water doesn't hold and quickly leeks deep to the ground. In the middle of Ögmundarhraun lava is a place called Húshólmi. It is a curious place as there are ruins that have been dated back to 870, around the time the first settlers came to Iceland. It is one of the oldest human-made structures in Iceland, deserted when the lava folded nearby and around the farm. So we can say that the eruption both ruined and preserved the farm and protected significant antiquities. Ögmundarhraun is also a place where you can see how lava from historical times formed the coastline. After floating from the craters, the lava ended in the ocean and moved the shoreline forward. Although there are places in Iceland where you can see the lava meet the sea, there are not many such places, and if you decide to walk hike to the shore, keep in mind that it is harsh and dangerous to walk the lava.


Ogmundarhraun is easily accessible

Shorlline by Ögmundarhraun lava field
Shorlline by Ögmundarhraun lava field

For those who have rarely or ever seen a lava field, this is a great opportunity and probably one of the best places in Iceland. When you drive from Grindavík town, on the south shore of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the road Suðurstrandarvegur Nr. 427, you will find a sign pointing south with the name Húshólmi. There are signs and a parking lot only a few meters from the intersection. You need to walk from the parking lot, which is a medium and refreshing hike. The distance to the shoreline is about two kilometers, and so is the walk to Húshólmi on a track in the middle of the lava field. By doing both, you will get a good view of a lava field that spreads over land and also lava that fights the ocean. Both are fascinating and quite photogenic. The whole hike should take about two to three hours but is extremely enjoyable and rewarding.



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