Transatlantic — Iceland; Dettifoss Part 1


Dettifoss (Falling Waterfall)

What happens when you cross the barren lava fields of Dimmuborgir with a waterfall even more spectacular than Goðafoss? You get the Vatnajökull National Park. And in Vatnajökull National Park you are treated to a microcosm of Iceland — glacial runoff forging mighty rivers, geothermal activity, lava fields with basalt pillars, and one of the most impressive waterfalls on Earth.

Basalt field

Our tour stopped within Vatnajökull National Park some ways from the Dettifoss (Falling Waterfall), which would require us to hike in across basalt lava fields to get to the falls. The terrain is rugged, but not too difficult a stroll along the well defined pathways.

Lava field in Vatnajökull National Park

As you head east from the parking lot, you can see in the distance some really impressive basalt cliffs and pillars:

Basalt pillars in the distance

This is a barren, almost alien landscape.

Basalt pillars

Indeed, the area here is so alien that Dettifloss was the location for the opening scenes of the 2012 science fiction movie Prometheus. You’ll hear the waterfall as you approach the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River, for it is the second most powerful waterfall, in terms of cubic feet/meters of water flow, in all of Europe. Only the Rhine Falls surpass it, but the Rhine Falls are nowhere near as impressive looking since Dettifoss is a straight drop as opposed the cascading drop of the Rhine.

Dettifoss rainbow

We’ll continue looking at the sights in this wondrous area on Wednesday. Until then I’ll leave you with this image:

Dettifoss

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