Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Kirkjufell, Iceland



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Kirkjufell, Iceland

Mount Kirkjufell, in Iceland, poses risks: as temperatures rise across the Arctic, faster than any other area on the planet, all of Iceland, its glaciers and mountains are grappling with the prospect of a future without ice.

It is a 463 meters high mountain located on the north coast of Iceland, on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, near the town of Grundarfjörður located in the fjord of the same name, is part of the Vesturland region.

It is considered the most photographed mountain in the country and was one of the filming locations for season 6 and 7 of the Game of Thrones television series. The name in Icelandic comes from its resemblance to the shape of a church tower, while in the past Danish navigators used to call it Sukkertoppen, meaning sugar top.

Its peculiar shape is due to the action of glaciers that eroded its walls. At the time, it must have looked like a nunatak, a rocky summit rising above an expanse of ice.
At the foot of Kirkjufell is Kirkjufellfoss, a small waterfall compared to others in the country, but undoubtedly essential to create the magic that surrounds Kirkjufell.
The fastest and easiest way to reach Kirkjufell is to rent a car.

Both the mountain and the Kirkjufellfoss waterfall are located on the edge of highway 54, after the town of Grundarfjörður. Although there are several itineraries that allow you to climb the mountain, always under the supervision of a guide from the area, most tourists prefer to stay at the foot of the Kirkjufell to contemplate one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Iceland.

Covered for 10% by glaciers, Iceland is made up of the mountains of the mid-Atlantic ridge and has a surface formed by rocks of volcanic origin, mainly basaltic. Much of its territory is occupied by mountains that reach moderate heights and is characterized by vast plateaus.

The coasts, rich in inlets and deep fjords to the north, are sandy and low to the south and here are concentrated the arable areas, which are in total about one fifth of the surface. Finally, it must be said that the country hosts the largest glacier on the continent, the Vatnajökull and is the second largest island on the continent.

The morphology of the Icelandic territory has undergone important changes initially due to a worsening of the climate that occurred about 9 million years ago and then due to the last glaciations that shaped the landscape with fjords, valleys with a typical U-profile and mountains partly covered by glaciers. Not surprisingly, due to this double peculiarity, Iceland is often called the island of ice and fire.