Area in Thjorsardalur

An area in Þjórsárdalur was protected in January 2020. Þjórsárdalur has a geological uniqueness, a rare, special and beautiful landscape along with remarkable natural phenomena found there, i.e. Gjáin and the waterfalls Háifoss, Granni and Hjálparfoss, along with thick ash layers and pseudo crater clusters. The valley is mostly flat, and pumice is prominent after repeated eruptions in Hekla. The area also has many opportunities for outdoor activities and sustainable tourism. The area’s distinction lies mainly in the unique nature, special geological formations and cultural relics that testify to past human habitation in the area; for example, the ruins of the farm Stöng are within the area. The valley also has a significant history regarding the restoration of birch wood forests and reclamation of pumice, which has been in the works since 1938, with the aim of restoring birch wood forests to make the area better equipped to withstand crises, such as ash fall from eruptions.

The area is protected as a nature reserve, but within it are the natural monuments Hjálparfoss, Gjáin and Háifoss and Granni.