Information about Elephant Rock

Look into my eyes

Elephant Rock is a natural rock formation on the Westman Islands archipelago, located approximately 7.4 kilometres off Iceland's south coast. 

The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, are a cluster of 15 islands and around 30 reefs created by undersea volcanic activity. Covering around 13 square kilometres, the largest of these islands, Heimaey, is the only inhabited island of the cluster. 

Formation and Appearance

The entire archipelago rests in the Southern Iceland Volcanic Zone and was formed during numerous volcanic eruptions. As a result, the islands boast multiple remarkable rock formations and unmatched volcanic landscapes.

Elephant Rock fascinates visitors because it resembles the head of a giant elephant which has submerged half its trunk underwater in an attempt to quench its thirst with the Atlantic Ocean.

Many have pointed out the rock's resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft's cosmic daemon Cthulhu, a monstrous sea creature with the face of an octopus. The likeness is complete with a cleft in the rock where the Lovecraftian creature's eyes would be and the resulting shadow bestows an eerie and lifelike quality upon its face. Fundamental to the rock's realistic appearance is the fact that it's entirely made from basalt, but this makes the "skin" of the creature appear wrinkled. 

Historical Volcanic Activity 

Elephant Rock is believed to have been formed during one of Mt. Eldfell's many eruptions. Eldfell's 1973 eruption resulted in the evacuation of Heimaey's entire population. Most of the town was saved from destruction because the local fishermen sprayed cold sea water on the burning lava. Today, the island is home to over 4.000 people. 

The Westman Islands remain an excellent travel destination where geology enthusiasts and fans of Lovecraftian lore can feast their eyes on the magnificent natural creation that is the Elephant Rock.  

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