In the West and the West Fjords, one can read the geological history of Ice-land, from its formation 15-16 million years ago until about the time of the settlement in the ninth century, which is when volcanic activity ceased in the region. The oldest rock formations are found at Kogur in the West Fjords, the youngest in the inner reaches of Borgarfjordur, and the region has an unusually wide variety of natural features.
Every kind of volcano is found here, and water flows from the earth in every form, from cool, sparkling miner-al water to Europe’s most voluminous hot spring, Deildartunguhver, from which water pours at 97°C at a rate of 180 liters per second. The clearest sign of volcanism is the perfectly formed crater of Snaefellsjokull, with its glacial cap, at the tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, to which various mysterious powers have been attributed. This is now a National Park, and Snaefellsnes is now benchmarked as a Green Globe 21 sustainable community with emphasis on tourism.
In Stykkisholmur, New York Artist Roni Horn has opened the “Library of Water”. The main room of the library features a series of 24 glass columns filled with water, originally collected as ice from various Icelandic glaciers. Words are written on the floor, reflecting in the glass.
The birdlife of the region is also varied. Breidafjordur is a Mecca for birdwatchers, which may even spot the monarch of Icelandic birds, the white-tailed eagle.