Morsárjökull is a glacier in south Iceland.
Geography of Morsarjokull
Morsárjökull is an outlet glacier that sits at an elevation of 457 metres; it is approximately 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide. It consists of two ice streams, one of which is connected to Vatnajökull glacier, the largest ice cap in the country, and the other of which is separated.
Vatnajökull has many outlet glaciers around its circumference, best seen by travellers along the South Coast; all are part of Vatnajökull National Park, the largest National Park in the country. Several features, however, make Morsárjökull stand out.
Firstly, Morsárjökull has a glacier lagoon called Morsárlón, which is approximately one kilometre wide and 500 metres across; though by no means as spectacular as Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón, it is still an impressive lake. Secondly, it is home to the tallest waterfall in Iceland, Morsárfoss.
Approximately 240 metres tall, Morsárfoss beats out its closest competitor, Glýmur, by over forty metres. It was only discovered recently and is very difficult to access, however, meaning much of the literature about Iceland overlooks it.
Morsárjökull is also notable for its susceptibility to avalanches. In 2007, for example, the country’s largest avalanche in decades occurred here, with the rockfall covering 720,000 square metres. The scars from this are visible on the glacier.
Like all-but-one of Iceland’s glaciers, Morsárjökull is rapidly retreating as a consequence of climate change.
Getting to Morsarjokull
Morsárjökull is most easily visited by those going to Skaftafell Nature Reserve in south-east Iceland. This oasis of forests, lava, rivers and glaciers was once its own National Park, although it has since been enveloped into Vatnajökull. There is a simple, signposted hike in the reserve that will lead you to Morsárlón, where you can admire the edge of the glacier tongue and its ice breaking into the lagoon.
Other spectacular sites in Skaftafell include Svartifoss, a world-renowned waterfall famous for the hexagonal basalt columns that surround it, and Svínafellsjökull, a glacier tongue you can hike on.
To reach Skaftafell, travel Route 1 South from Reykjavík for just over four hours; it will be on the left. This journey covers the South Coast, one of Iceland’s most popular sightseeing routes, famous for waterfalls such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, the black-sand-beach of Reynisfjara, and several subglacial volcanoes.