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Ódáðahraun [ 'ouːˌtauˑðaˌr̥œyˑn ] (German: Missetäterlavafeld , also frequent - but linguistically incorrect - designation as "culprit desert") is a lava field in northeast Iceland and in the north of the Vatnajökull glacier .

Ódáðahraun with Herðubreið

Geography and volcanism

It is difficult to measure the dimensions of the lava field exactly, areas between 4,400 km² and 5,600 km² are given. The southern edge is clear and lies between the Vonarskarð on Vatnajökull and the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum . The northern border, on the other hand, lies in the first case at the southern end of the mountains Bláfjall and Sellandafjall near Mývatn , in the second case it extends north of the Hringvegur into the Mývatnsöræfi . The lava field covers a slope of 400 m. The Dyngjufjöll with the central volcano Askja and the tabular volcano Herðubreið rise from it.

The lava field is lava from different times and sources; the oldest layers are 9,000 years old, the youngest about 30 years. Since the beginning of 2007 there have been regular earthquakes near a series of craters called Upptyppingar , which belong to the Kverkfjöll . The earthquakes are visibly moving upwards, which suggests magma movements.

There are many shield volcanoes in Ódáðahraun , the largest of which are Ketildyngja and Trölladyngja .

In earlier times, the lava fields were considered impassable, mainly because of the drought. Plants only grow along the few rivers that flow down from Vatnajökull. Today the ring road ( Hringvegur ) from Mývatn to Egilsstaðir crosses or borders the lava field.


The origin of the name is somewhat unclear, it can first be proven in a source from the 17th century (Undur Íslands, 1638).

The name Missetäterlava may have something to do with the superstition that was widespread in Iceland in earlier centuries that the desert-like interior of the country contained fertile valleys with settlements of criminals.
According to most attempts to explain the name, however, comes therefore that to outlaw fled condemned "offender" in the lava desert and as hidden because they are considered outlaws could be killed by each (see also the legend of Fjalla-Eyvindur ).

For a long time the area was virtually unexplored. Only in the Age of Enlightenment (18th century) and in the 19th century, especially after the great Askja eruption in 1875, did farmers and scientists come here.

See also

Web links

Coordinates: 65 ° 9 ′ 0 ″  N , 17 ° 0 ′ 0 ″  W.