Intense Colors of Crater Kerið Mesmerize

While the Golden Circle is undoubtedly the most popular tourist route in Iceland, an important site on the route that tourists flock to is the Kerið Volcanic Crater. It is part of a group of volcanic hills called the Tjarnarhólar.

Though scientists believed that this crater and its lake were formed by a gigantic volcanic explosion, further research failed to find any clinching evidence to show that such an explosion took place in Kerið. It is now being accepted that Kerið was a Cone Volcano that erupted and cleared out its magma mass. The volcano has been extinct for nearly 3,800 years.

This intensely colored beauty is one of the several crater lakes in now what is known as Iceland’s Western Volcanic Zone. This Zone includes Reykjanes peninsula and Glacier Langjökull. This crater has the most visually stunning and unbroken caldera.

The lake which is one of the most photographed sites in Iceland has a caldera made of red volcanic rock. It is nearly 180 ft deep, 560 ft wide and 890 ft in breadth. There is hardly any vegetation in the crater, but one wall is more sloped and is covered with green moss. The lake’s color is a glistening bluish aquamarine. The pool of water at the end of the crater is on the same level as the water table and is not caused by rainfall.

Concerts at Kerið

The caldera has been a locale for a number of artists who have given performances from a floating platform right in the middle of the lake. For example the famous Icelandic singer Björk had a concert in Crater Kerið back in 1987, while the audience sat on the slopes of the crater.

The formation of Crater Kerið

Vulcanologists used to class Kerið as an explosion crater. Explosion craters are formed in explosive eruptions, which sometimes leave deep craters. However, deeper studies of the Grímsnes area have not revealed the existence of any ash deposits that could be traced to an explosive eruption in Kerið and it is now believed that it was originally a large scoria crater.

It is clear that as much as half of the Tjarnarhólahraun lava flowed from Kerið.

In its present form, the crater was probably formed by a small magma chamber beneath the crater being emptied towards the end of the eruption, resulting in a collapse. Beneath a certain level, cavities and fissures in the rock are filled with groundwater, the surface of which is called the water table.

The water in Kerið does not drain out but rises and falls according to changes in the water table. Thus, the crater is like window on the groundwater.