Askja is a volcano situated in Iceland’s remote interior highlands but mainly refers to a dramatic ring of nested calderas in the surrounding Dyngjufjoll Mountains. Calderas are cauldron-like volcanic features formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption and most resemble volcanic craters.
The landscape surronding Askja is alien, due to little rainfall, ash and lava. The area was used during training for the Apollo program and was visited by the astronauts in order to prepare them for the lunar mission. Their main objective was to study geology.
Viti in Askja
The lake-filled crater ‘Viti’ was created following the eruption of the volcano in 1875. If you’re feeling brave, hike up to the crater and take a dip in the warm waters, which reach a depth of 60 meters (197 ft) and a temperature of 30°C (86°F).
Askja was virtually unknown until a tremendous and disastrous eruption started in March 1875. Heavy ashfall killed livestock and poisoned the land. This eruption triggered a wave of emigration from Iceland to America, especially by people who inhabited east and north Iceland. The last eruption of Askja was in 1961.
Please note that the volcano is only accessible for a few months of the year, due to snow and weather.