The “Beserker’s Lava field” is vast and surprising and weirder than most lava fields — varying from soft moss-covered rocks to sharp jagged pillars of lava.

The field is named for a 10th century tale of a local farmer, Styr (called “the Slayer”) and his lovely daughter. One of the two farm-workers on his farm fell in love with the farmer’s daughter and asked to marry her. The farm worker was a Berserker, a huge laborer brought from Sweden, and the farmer was afraid to refuse, so he set what he thought was an impossible task: clear a road through the lava field. The farm-worker and his companion finished the task with their berserk energy. The farmer rewarded the two men with a relaxing sauna….and killed and buried them both. (No one can say the Icelandic sagas are good bedtime stories!)

Note that some versions of the story have the berserkers coming from Norway.  The Eyrbyggja saga containing the story dates from 982.

The road they built, and the supposed burial place of the two berserkers, can be found crossing the lava field. You can drive the Berserkjahraun route 558 to view the formations. The source of the flows is a series of volcanoes in an east-west row. There are four prominent craters visible from the lava field, near Kerlingarskard.

The lava field flows from the mountain to the sea, and likely dates to about 3600-4000 years ago. Much of the volcanic activity on the Snaefellsnes peninsula dates from the same time period — probably a really exciting period for this small peninsula!

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