Kirkjugˇlf Basalt Columns

Kirkjugˇlf Basalt Columns
 
Kirkjugˇlf / Kirkjugˇlfi­ or äThe Church Floorô, are hexagonal basalt columns in the earth┤s surface, where only the tops can be seen, forming what appears to be a man-made tile floor, hence the name. The area of the basalt columns is about 80 square meters and their tops are eroded by both glaciers and sea water but before the end of the last ice age, the land in the area was the ocean floor. In spite of the name, there has never been a church or other buildings at the site.

The Location

Kirkjugˇlfi­ is situated in the outskirts of KirkjubŠjarklaustur, a small town in the south of Iceland and is easily accessible by a short hiking path, leading from a car park on road 203, which leads to the nearby waterfall Stjˇrnarfoss and a visit is free of charge. Stjˇrnafoss Waterfalls is only a few kilometers away and also very much worth a visit. The Church Floor is today a protected natural monument and certaily worth a visit.

Nearby Attractions

The town, KirkjubŠjarklaustur is a trade and a service center for an extensive farmland surrounding it. The town derives its name from a former convent of Nuns, the so called KirkjubŠjar Abbey that was located there for more than 350 years before the reformation took place in Iceland in the year 1550. There is another beautiful waterfall close to KirkjubŠjarklaustur. This is Systrafoss Waterfall, or the Sister┤s Waterfall, that takes its name from the Nuns or Sisters from the Abbey. The waterfall is just above KirkjubŠjarklaustur in a river called Fossß, which flows over a mountain edge above the town. There is an interesting hiking path to the top of the mountain, from where there are stunning views. A short distance from KirkjubŠjarklaustur is the route to Laki Craters or LakagÝgar Craters as they are also called, winding through Skaftßreldahraun, the lave field from the Laki Crater eruption in 1783 and 1784. This eruption that lasted about 5 months, was one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in Iceland in historical times. The eruption is called Skaftßreldar and the lava field from it destroyed extensive farmlands and toxic ashes and gases killed about half of the livestock in the whole country. The route to Laki is a rough gravel road, only passable by 4x4 vehicles with a high road clearance in summer but after a rather challenging drive, visitors are rewarded by a spectacular scenery.