Hverfell Travel Guide
Hverfell is a dramatic explosion crater in North Iceland. It is also called Hverfjall; both spellings and pronunciations are correct.
The best way to visit this area is on a relaxed self drive tour. One of the best options for doing so is this 7-day Arctic Coast Way self drive, available in the summer months.
Hverfell is located in the Lake Mývatn Area of north Iceland, one of the most volcanic parts of the country due to the fact that it sits directly on the Mid Atlantic Rift. Evidence of this volcanism can be seen everywhere, with many lava fields, hot springs and craters, although Hverfell is perhaps the most classic example.
With a diametre of a kilometre and a depth of 140 metres, it is a dramatic site to behold; it is, in fact, one of the largest explosion craters in the world. It can be hiked around although only by sticking to the path, as the surrounding nature is very delicate.
The eruption that created Hverfell occurred just under 3,000 years ago. Iceland was uninhabited by people at that time, although that is not to say its eruption had no effect. Many of the eruptions in the Mývatn area have caused great ash clouds that have cooled the temperature across Europe, devastated agriculture, poisoned rivers and blocked ports.
Most famously, the eruption of Laki in the 18th Century is believed to have caused the famine that, in part, lead to the French Revolution and the subsequent surge of liberalism as a global movement.
Explosion craters like Hverfell are formed when there is a sudden ejection of material that erupts at or near the surface of the earth with enormous force. Later, erosion from the wind and rain cause these craters to have the ‘lip’ that encircles them. While Hverfell is, of course, naturally created, not all explosion craters are; in Germany, a massive blast at an ammunitions factory left a similar phenomenon. Bomb strikes often also leave such craters
Hverfell can easily be reached by those staying Akureyri, Mývatn, Húsavík or another location in the country’s north. It is visited on select tours and included in some routes around the Diamond Circle, the area’s famous tourist trail.