Photographer's Note

A view on Herðubreið volcano. This volcano stands in the north of the Vatnajökull glacier, in the Ódáðahraun desert (which means the lava field of criminals, which is a reference to a legend saying criminals ran away and hid there). The volcano is 1,682 metres height. It is 1,000 metres above the land around, so it looks like it is a mountain emerging from nowhere. Herðubreið is a tuya volcano. Tuyas are somewhat rare worldwide because you can find them only in regions which were covered by glaciers and had actve volcanism during the same period. They are formed by subglacial eruptions. The lava can't flow because of the glacier and piles up to form a cylinder. When the glacier retires you can see such flat-topped and steep-sided mountains. Here, when the glacier retired 10,000 years ago, the volanic activity stopped so the volcano was not covered with products from other eruptions. That's the reason why its shape is so perfect today.

I took this photo at sunset from the Möðrudalur farm in the north of the volcano. You can see some pink light on the top of the volcano. In the foreground you can see the low mountains of the Möðrudalur plateau. I cropped the original picture to make a panoramic. You can see a larger version here.

By the way, why did I choose this title "Queen of the mountains" ? Well, because it is the nickname that is often given to this mountain. Yes, look at her crown on the top, and the folds of her dress of course ! It might also be because the mountain was elected by the icelandic people as they favorite mountain. And I must admit I loved this mountain too !

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Additional Photos by Olivier THIERRY (chawax) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1362 W: 21 N: 3240] (20760)
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