Öræfajökull is an ice-covered volcano in south-east Iceland. The largest active volcano and the highest peak in Iceland at 2,110 metres (6,920 ft), it lies within the Vatnajökull National Park and is covered by the glacier.
Hiking routes in the area:
This strato volcano is considered to be the second most active in Europe after Mt Etna in Sicily. The ground diameter of the mountain is about 20 km and its ground area about 400 km². Its volume is close to 370 km³. Prior to the enormous eruption in 1362 its name was Knappafell.
The name of the inhabited area between the alluvial plains Skeidararsandur in the west and Breidamerkursandur in the east, Oraefi, dates back to the aftermath of the first eruption in historic times. That eruption almost totally destroyed the area and killed most of the inhabitants and their livestock. Afterwards the area looked like a vast desert, which is exactly what the word Oraefi (Waste-land) means.
The rhyolite peak Hvannadalshjukur rises about 300 m above the caldera, which is about 5 km long and has an area of 12 km². The average snow thickness added to the area annually is about 10 m, and the average precipitation up there about 5,000 mm, which exceeds all other parts of the country. A number of small glacier tongues slowly crawls down the indented slopes of the mountain from about 1,800 m elevation. The largest are Falljokull, Kviarjokull, Fjallsjokull and Svinafellsjokull.