Fun Facts About Öræfajökull – Iceland's Largest Volcano

There has been increased activity in Öræfajökull, the largest volcano in Iceland, for the past few months. Here are some interesting facts about this powerful volcano.

Fannar Guðmundsson

24. November 2017

1. Öræfajökull is the highest peak in Iceland. 

Everything about Öræfajökull is big. It is located in Vatnajökull national park, the largest glacier in Europe. Öræfajökull's highest peak is called Hvannadalshnúkur. It is 6922.5 ft (2.110m) above sea level. 

A large glacier.
Photo: Wikimedia commons. 

2. It is the largest Volcano in Iceland

Öræfajökull is so large that you could fit Snæfellsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull inside Öræfajökull at the same time.

3. It's a popular hiking route in the spring

It is quite popular to hike Hvannadalshnjúkur, Öræfajökull tallest peak, during spring and early summer. It is necessary to go with a guide since there can be crevasses in the ice on the way. The journey to the top a day's mission, a highly recommended hike for the adventurous traveler. The view from the top is amazing and some actually bring their skis along. 

Three hikers on Hvannadalshnjúkur.
Photo: Wikimedia commons

4. It has erupted twice since the settlement of Iceland 

The first person to settle in Iceland was Ingolfur Arnarson in the year 874. Since then Öræfajökull has erupted twice, in 1362 and 1727. The first eruption was a major eruption and the farms by the glacier were destroyed. After that eruption the name of the area was changed to Öræfi which means deserted land. If it erupts then it can spew ash as high as 19 miles into the air, similar to the famous eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. The reason for the ash cloud is because the lava has to melt through the ice before reaching the surface.