Mývatn

  • Falcons at Lake Mývatn
    Falcons at Lake Mývatn
  • Mývatn
    Mývatn

Mývatn (Lake Mývatn). Mention the name and the Icelander's get all dewy-eyed. Maybe because the lake wouldn't be there if not for ceaseless volcanic and seismic activities. And, the Icelanders never cease to be amazed by nature's creative genius. Mývatn has a dreamlike, otherworldly quality. The lake was created by a large basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago. Dominating the surrounding landscape are volcanic landforms, like lava pillars and pseudo-craters, Dimmuborgir being the best known.

The area surrounding the lake lies on the western border of the volcanic zone cutting across Northeast Iceland and is an extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is still active; indeed the Krafla volcano is located in the neighborhood, and most of the mountains in the lake's vicinity were formed by eruptions under an ice sheet during the Ice Age glacial period.

Lake Mývatn and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptionally rich fauna of waterbirds. Indeed, it is a birdwatcher's paradise. Apart from thirteen types of ducks, you will find the Slavonian grebe, red-necked phalarope, great northern diver, red-throated diver and the whooper swan.

The locals around Lake Mývatn have a long tradition of harvesting duck eggs for domestic use. To ensure sustainability, the harvesting follows strict age-old rules of leaving at least four eggs in each nest for the duck to incubate.

Maybe one of the most amazing aspects of the Lake Mývatn area is how mindful the locals have always been of its delicate beauty. Their respect is apparent everywhere you go.