Rajan Parrikar Photo Blog

Askja

Magnificent desolation.

Askja is a caldera of the Dyngjufjöll volcano in the north-central Highlands of Iceland. With a length of 200 kms and width ranging from 5-20 kms, it is the largest volcanic system on the island.

This is a bleak, primordial landscape, not easy to get to given its remoteness. To the north of the caldera lies the vast and barren expanse of the lava field Ódáðahraun which translates to “Lava of Ominous Deeds.” As part of the training for the Apollo programme, NASA dispatched its astronauts to this area, and I suspect that it was here in Askja that Buzz Aldrin had his first brush with “magnificent desolation.”

Colourful hills in the Askja desert, Iceland

Askja, a volcanic wonderland
5D Mark III, TS-E 90

 

The explosion craters Viti (lit. hell) and its larger sibling Öskjuvatn (lit. Askja lake) were formed in an eruption in 1875. In 1907 two German scientists vanished in Öskjuvatn and their case remains unresolved to this day.

Víti explosion crater in Askja, Iceland

Walls of Víti explosion crater
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

In the image below, the dots in the centre of the lake are Icelanders enjoying a dip in the mineral-rich tepid waters of Víti.

Víti explosion crater in Askja, Iceland

Víti
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 
Viti and Öskjuvatn in Askja, Iceland

Víti and behind it, Öskjuvatn
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 

 
Volcanic pebbles at Askja, Iceland

Indian spices? Pebbles cooked in volcanic broth
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Pattern of ice and volcanic ash in Askja, Iceland

Pattern of ice and volcanic ash
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

 
Lambagras in Askja, Iceland

Life finds a way: Lambagras in the Ódáðahraun desert
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Ódáðahraun lava field near Askja, Iceland

Ódáðahraun lava field
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Ropy Lava near Askja, Iceland

Rope lava (aka Pāhoehoe lava)
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 
Superjeep in the Ódáðahraun desert near Askja, Iceland

Our superjeep in the Ódáðahraun desert
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
 
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