Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell is Iceland's second largest national park, founded in 1956, it is located in the so-called Glacier Country. The park covers an area of about 1,600 sq km which is spread over three valley glaciers: Skeipararjokull, Morsarjokull, and Skaftafellsjokull on the southern fringes of Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier. The park boasts a large variety of flora, fauna, and spectacular geologic features ranging from: vast glaciers, glacial lakes, cravasses, ice falls, glacial rivers, hanging valleys, ice tunnels, rare birds and plants, lush vegitation, and birch forests. In addition, the park contains a famous waterfall by the name of Svartifoss (Black waterfall) which drops from the edge of a broad columnar basalt cliff.
The 1783 eruption along the Laki crater row created the largest lava field from a single eruption in history. Approximately 525 sq km were covered by the lava that flowed from that eruption. Today the spattercones that formed as a result of the eruption, covered in bright green moss and dark black sand, are one of the most beautiful sites to see in all of Iceland.
Eldgja fissure is part of the Katla volcanic system. The system is named after the subglacial Katla volcano which lies beneath the ice cap of Myrdalsjokull. The Eldgja eruption took place around 934 AD, partly subglacially and partly subaerially, on a 75km long fissure that extends from Kalta volcano in the southwest, almost to the edge of Vatnajokull in the northeast. The eruption produced a 700km2 basaltic lava field, however the most magnificent part of the fissure is the 150m deep, 400m wide and 8km long Eldgja fissure proper. Eldgja (Fire Chasm) proper is in part a graben, eruptive fissure, and explosive crater row. Most likely the Eldgja eruption was a result of a major crustal rifting episode and lateral magma flow from the Katla reservoir. The fissure was partially filled when Laki Volcano erupted in 1783. Within Eldgja proper is Eldgja falls. The falls are located in Eldgja Valley near Lakigigar.
Landmannalaugar, literally "the hot springs of people of the country", is the largest geothermal area (600m above sea level) in Iceland apart from the Grimsvotn area on Vatenajokull. The area is just north of Myrdalsjokull and is encapsalated by muticolored mountains and extensive obsidian flows. The red coloring of the mountains shows that the rocks are very ferruginous and the yellow color indicates sulfur deposits. There is a lot to see at Landmannalaugar, including multiple hot springs, ice tunnles, geothermal vents, rivers, and lava flows. Seeing everything requires long hikes over ice caps and through never ending Icelandic deserts, but in the end the spectacular beauty is well worth it.
Jokulsarlon is a glacial lagoon filled with enourmous floating iceburgs. Before 1950 the glacial lagoon did not exist, it was a mere 2 mile long river called Jokulsa that flowed from a glacier. After 1950 the glacier started to retreat more rapidly, thus creating the lagoon. The average flow of the river is 250-300 m3/sec. The incredible velocity of the river dislodges large chunks of ice from the glacier and sends them floating out into the lagoon. The deepest part of the lagoon is 190m below sea level. The lagoon continues to grow while Jokulsa continues to shorten because of sea erosion.