Torfajökull and the caldera full of hot springs • Earth.com

Last update: July 5th, 2020 at 6:00 am

Today’s Image of the Day comes from the NASA Earth Observatory and features a look at the Torfajökull volcano in Iceland.

Torfajökull is famous for its large caldera, which contains hot springs, mud pools, and gas vents. The volcano hasn’t had a proper eruption since 1477.

This image was captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on board the Landsat 8 satellite.

According to legend, the glacier is named for Torfi Jónsson í Klofa, an Icelandic historical figure. When the plague arrived in Iceland in 1493, Torfi fled with his family and his belongings into the highlands and settled in a valley surrounded by the glacier.

According to another legend, the glacier is named for Torfi, a farm worker at a nearby farm. Torfi eloped with the farmer’s daughter and fled to the glacier.

Torfajökull (Icelandic for “Torfi’s glacier”) is a rhyolitic stratovolcano and complex of subglacial volcanoes, located north of Mýrdalsjökull and south of Þórisvatn Lake, Iceland. Torfajökull last erupted in 1477 and consists of the largest area of silicic extrusive rocks in Iceland.

The volcano’s eruption around 870 has left a thin layer of tephra all over Iceland. This layer makes possible to determine the exact dates of many archeological finds, like in the Reykjavík  museum.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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