Town in the Lava

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The most remarkable physical characteristics of Hafnarfjörður are the wildly shaped lava formations. Enourmous, rough black rocks jut from the earth into craters, crevices and caves the cover the town. Yet here, carefully carved out among these seemingly immobile masses of rock, is a charming and tranquil. Homes peek out from behind boulders, shops sit beside lava flows, and parks are filled with moss-covered crags. In Hafnarfjörður, life exists in concert with the 7,000-year-old rolling lava.

Most people in Hafnarfjörður live on the 18-square kilometer (7-square mile) lava field named Búrfellshraun. This lava originally spewed out of the crater Búrfell, which is located about 7 km (4.3 miles) east of Hafnarfjörður and is part of the Krýsuvík volcano. From the Búrfell eruption, lava flowed into two main streams transforming into remarkable formations when it passed by and around a lake. Some of these lava fromations are now sites designated for preservation. At the Litluborgir site, beside Helgafell Mountain, the lava formed into pseudocraters and other unusual gnarled shapes. At Kaldárhraun and Gjárnar sites sharply upheaved lava rests amonge a large expanse of undisturbed, ropy pahoehoe lava.

 



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