Information about Holuhraun

The Holuhraun eruption in 2015.

Holuhraun is an immense lava field north of Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland's Highlands. The most recent major eruption in Iceland occured here, beginning on  29 August 2014 and ending on 27 February 2015.

This eruption created a vast lava field of more than 85 km² (33 mi²), the largest to be produced in the country since the year 1783.

Recent Eruptions at Holuhraun

Holuhraun is in a highly volcanic area, sitting above both the Barðarbunga and Askja volcano systems. As such, it is composed of many layers of lava, which have been added to over centuries. Because Barðarbunga is beneath Vatnajökull glacier, the area has also washed over many times by glacial floods.

The lava that covered the area before 2014 was from a 1797 eruption of Askja. It was named Kvislahraun originally, before taking its current name in 1884.

The 2014 eruption started out when a vein of lava from the Barðarbunga volcano system because to push its way northward. Initially, it was feared this lava may occur beneath the glacier, which would cause ash clouds like seen in the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, but it continued to move, seemingly trying to connect with the Askja system in a way unseen before.

Holuhraun was erupting throughout the winter of 2014-5.

It broke the surface of Holuhraun before it could reach it, however. Starting off with a small eruption on the northern side, the whole area was quickly engulfed in a sea of lava flowing from multiple fissures.

Within three months, the amount of lava that had been released was greater than any since the 1783 Laki eruption, which wiped out a quarter of the population, forced a quarter to flee, and created an ash cloud that plunged Europe, North Africa and the Middle East into famine and arguably France into revolution.

The eruption ended at the end of February in 2015, leaving Holuhraun much vaster than it was before.

No human deaths have been attributed to this eruption, but many sheep died due to poisons in the soil over the next year. The toxic gases also caused respiratory problems for those susceptible across the country whenever the wind blew in their direction, and on several days, residents of different towns were told to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

Holuhraun, however, was not considered a particularly dangerous eruption due to the fact that there are no settlements anywhere near it.

Surroundings of Holuhraun

As mentioned, Holuhraun is near to two large volcano systems; Askja’s crater is 15 kilometres (9 miles) to the north and Barðarbunga’s is  41 kilometres (26 miles) to the southwest. Directly to its south is the nearest glacier, Dyngjujökull, part of the greater Vatnajökull.

The glacial river of Jökulsá á Fjöllum is fed largely by the water that runs to the east of Holuhraun. This river holds the most powerful waterfall in Europe within it, Dettifoss.

Due to the remoteness of Holuhraun, and its distance from the major highland roads, it is difficult to reach. There is, however, an unnamed gravel road that leads from the route F910.

 

Services near Holuhraun

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Holuhraun

Dyngjufjöll

Dyngjufjoll is a volcanic mountain range in the lava field Odadahraun in the Icelandic highlands. The Askja caldera is situated in this mountain rang...

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Trölladyngja

Trölladyngja is Iceland's largest shield volcano, located in the north of Vatnajökull National Park in the highlands. At 1,468 metres (...

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Víti by Askja

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit:  Ulrich Latzenhofer.  Víti is a geothermal crater lake found in Askja Caldera in the Icela...

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Kverkfjöll

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Pietro Kverkfjöll is a sub-glacial mountain range on the northern side of the Vatnajökul...

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Askja

Askja is a caldera in the central Highlands of Iceland, just north of Vatnajökull glacier. It is best known for its dramatic eruptions, as wel...

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Hvannalindir

Hvannalindir is a vegetated area within Vatnajökull National Park in the Highlands of Iceland.  While the Icelandic Highlands mostly consis...

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Bruarjokull

Wikimedia. Creative Commons. NASA.  Brúarjökull is a 1600 sq km (617 sq mi) glacier tongue extending from Iceland's largest ice-...

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Bárðarbunga

The stratovolcano Bardarbunga is Iceland’s second-highest mountain and lies under the icecap of Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier. Ba...

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Herðubreið

  Herdubreid is a table mountain (Icelandic: 'stapi'), situated north of Vatnajokull in the deserted lava field of Odadahraun, the most ...

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Brúardalir

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Axel Kristinson. Brúardalir is a series of valleys in Brúaröræfi in East&...

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Vatnajökull

Vatnajökull glacier is the largest glacier in Europe, covering 8% of Iceland’s landmass. It is the central feature of the Vatnajök...

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Hafrahvammar

Photo from: Canyon Hiking Tour Hafrahvammar is a vast canyon, north of Dimmugljúfur Canyon in East Iceland.  Hafrahvammar is also known ...

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Kárahnjúkavirkjun

Karahnjukavirkjun is a Hydropower plant in Eastern Iceland, designed to 4600 GWh annually to serve Alcoa's aluminium smelter east of Reydarfjordur...

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Karahnjúkar

Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Christoph Hess Karahnjúkur describes two mountains and a power plant, found beside each other in...

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East Iceland

East Iceland is a vast area of incredible natural beauty, striking contrasts and fascinating history and culture. It is home to the remote and beaut...

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Vesturdalur

Vesturdalur is a green and lush mountainous valley in Skagafjordur, cutting deep into the mid highlands. The place is a popular campsite. The river H...

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Grímsvötn

  Grimsvotn refers to subglacial lakes and a volcano of the same name that lie in the western part of Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier, ...

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Laugarvalladalur

Laugarvalladalur is a beautiful, verdant oasis, best known for the many hot springs that sit around the abandoned farm on site. Located west of the...

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Herðubreiðarlindir

Herdubreidarlindir is an oasis situated near Herdubreid mountain north of Vatnajokull glacier. The area features a campground and hiking trails and i...

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Nýidalur/Jökuldalur

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Tours near Holuhraun

Askja Caldera & Holuhraun Lava Field | Super Jeep Day-tour

Travel in style with this fantastic Super Jeep tour discovering the wild, captivating landscapes......

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10 Hour Tour to Godafoss, Lake Myvatn & Askja Crater

Join this tour for an unforgettable journey of north Iceland in summer. Travel through the......

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