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Lost to the Moon in the moss lava field of Iceland

Eldraun lava field
Once a training ground for the Apollo 11 crew, the spectacular Eldhraun moss mat formed after the most devastating volcanic eruption in Iceland history.

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Eldraun lava field
Mosses are very common in the mountains and are special features of lava fields in Iceland. With a huge area of 56 km2, Eldhraun on the south coast of the island is the largest moss lava field in the world. Visitors can explore the Eldhraun field while driving on the road to the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. Photo: Andres Nieto Porras.
Eldraun lava field
Because the terrain resembles the surface of the Moon, the spectacular moss mat of Eldhraun is where the Apollo 11 crew trained to prepare for the moon trip in 1969. Photo: Ineleech.
Eldraun lava field
Eldraun lava field was formed after one of the most intense volcanic eruptions in Iceland history. During the eight months between 1783 and 1784, the Laki fissure and nearby Grimsvotn volcano erupted 14 km3 of basalt lava and clouds of toxic gas. Lava flows down the Skafta river bed, Medalland's low agricultural lands and creates vast lava fields. Photo: Matt.
Eldraun lava field
This toxic eruption seriously affected Iceland. The soil is polluted, and no plants can survive in the fields. More than half the animals on the island nation die, failing to catch any fish in the ocean. As a result of crop failure, famine and disease occurred, 1/4 of Icelanders died. Others were forced to evacuate, mass migration to Denmark. Not only that, but the catastrophic events in Iceland also spread throughout Europe. Photo: Raymond Hoffmann.
Eldraun lava field
Today, the Eldraun field looks very peaceful. Strange, fanciful landscape like alien land. Thick green moss covers craters and spreads across lava fields, making the landscape soft and impressive, hiding the rugged traces of past disasters. Photo: Stephan Amm.
Eldraun lava field

Eldraun lava field
Despite being covered for decades, the moss layer on Eldhraun lava fields is quite thin. Visitors can see sharp black lava rocks jutting beneath green moss. Due to unstable ground, unsafe rocks, the field also contains many gaps and gigantic cracks. Photo: Jennifer Cauli.
Eldraun lava field
Therefore, visitors are not allowed to walk on the lava field. The best way to take photos and explore the area is to stop at the parking lots right near the ring road. Photo: Jennifer Cauli.
Eldraun lava field

Eldraun lava field

Eldraun lava field

Eldraun lava field
The 56 km2 lava field is not only impressive with its unique and unusual landscape, but also of historical and geological importance, as well as a place to discover the endurance of Iceland's flora and fauna. This is the reason that makes Eldhraun one of the biggest tourist attractions of the "iced island nation". Photo: Stephan Amm, Even Westvang, Paul Perton, Oliver Wagemann.

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