Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Skjaldbreidur Shield Volcano

Skjaldbreidur is an Icelandic shield volcano which was formed in a protracted eruption that occurred roughly 9,000 years ago. The extensive lava fields which were produced by this eruption, flowed southwards, and formed the basin of pingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and pingvellir, the "Parliament Plains" where the Icelandic national assembly, the Alping was founded in the year 930.

The Skjaldbreidur volcano rises up to 1,060 meters, and its crater measures roughly 300 meters in diameter. Straddling the Mid-Atlantic ridge, the lava fields from Skjaldbreidur have been torn and twisted over the millennia, forming a multitude of fissures and rifts inside the pingvellir National Park, the best known of which are Almannagja, Hrafnagja and Flosagja.