When discovered the today called "Kirkjugólf" was considered to be an old man-made Church floor - not unlikely if you know the history of the small village "Kirkjubaejarklaustur" (the meaning of the separated properties is church-court-monastery)
Nowadays the natural origin of the pavement is took for granted and the sight is a protected natural monument showing volcanic history.
The fascinating patterns are formed by mainly hexagonal basalt blocks. The "church floor" covers an area of 80 m² and can be visited with a short walk from the parking place at N 63° 47.867 W 018° 02.926.
We recommend a small hike combining the here described phenomenon with the beautiful waterfall "Systrafoss" and the "Systravatn".
Basalt columns are formed when thick flowing lava cools down, mainly in boggy regions where the steam retards the cooling down. Therefore the lava contracts slowly and cracks the rock into parallel formations, not infrequently shaping metres long square-cut columns. While a flow can shrink in the vertical dimension without fracturing, it cannot easily accommodate shrinking in the horizontal direction unless cracks form; the extensive fracture network that develops results in the formation of columns. Here the columnar basalt was eroded and shaped by wind and waves.
Your tasks to log this cache:
- Complete the following sentences of the information board:
"Kirkjugolf is a 80 m² coastal eroded and shaped columnar basalt outcrop, where the (answer A) of vertical basalt columns can be seen."
"The columns always stand (answer B) to the cooling surface and are therefore vertical in lava flow and sills, horizontal in tunnels, but radiate out from the centre of pillow lava."
- Take a photo of you and the "Kirkjugólf" (optional).
Send your answers per mail to
kirkjugolf-(answer A)-(answer B)@gmx.de e.g. email@example.com
before logging the cache! In case of correct answer you will get an automatic response mail. Please also check your spam folder if you don't receive the response mail.