HOW TO GET HERE
If you are driving from Egilsstaðir:
Follow Route 1 until you pass the farm Skjöldólfsstaðir (you will see a guest house and a gas pump).
About 1.5 km (0.9 miles) after passing Skjöldólfsstaðir take a sharp left turn onto road 923.
If you are driving from Mývatn:
Follow Route 1. There is a long hill just before the farm Skjöldólfsstaðir.
At the end of the hill, take a sharp right turn onto road 923.
To visit the canyon you drive about 18 km on road 923 to the farm Grund. From the parking lot there is about 250 m walk to the canyon.
THE BASALT CANYON
Studlagil Canyon is the nature dimond at “Efri-Jökuldalur” and has become a popular site to visit, particularly after the hydroelectric plant Kárahnjúkavirkjun was built 2007.
The section of the river which is named Stuðlagil (Basalt Columns) is considered to have one of Iceland’s largest collections of basalt columns on land. Today, the river itself is hardly comparable to former times, when it was a gushing glacial river transporting tonnes of sediment. This is because the river was re-directed with Kárahnjúkar dam. The canyon is 500 m long and with 20-30 m basalt columns on both side of the river.
The colour of the river differs between seasons, from blue-green during the summer to grey-brown when Karahnjukar dam is on overflow status and also when snow melts into the river.
The formation of columnar jointing happens when still magma cools down. When it cools down it contracts and separates into columnar joints, often hexagons. The separation begins where the cooling is at the most and continues as the magma cools down. Little by little the columnar joints form. They stand perpendicular on the cooling surface and therefore stand vertically on the lava surface and the diapir surface.