Sólheimajökull Glacier (The Home of the Sun Glacier) is the southernmost glacier of Iceland and an outlet glacier from the main ice cap Mýrdalsjökull. The glacier is located nearby the main road between the Skógarfoss waterfall and the village Vík. It is the perfect place to stop when driving along the south coast from Reykjavík.
The Sólheimajökull Glacier is about 10 to 13 kilometers long, starting from the rim of the volcano Katla and about 1 to 2 kilometers wide. The glacier is located underneath the ice cap of Mýrdalsjökull. Sólheimajökull covers up around 44 square kilometers and the average thickness of the glacier ice is believed to be around 200 meter thick. Like many glaciers in Iceland Sólheimajökull has been melting quite fast since around the year 1993 and the average melting a year is believed to be around 60 meters, also the glacier is losing about 10 to 20 meters of thickness every year.
It is the perfect place to see how the climate change has affected the environment for the last decades. Today there is a glacier lagoon in front of the glacier that started to form in the year 2007. The lagoon is around 70 meters deep by the glacier edge and if the melting will continue like it has been for the last decades it will be around 4.5 kilometers long lake in the valley where the glacier is now.
Sólheimajökull and the volcano Katla
Sólheimajökull glacier also has a connection with the great volcano Katla. If there will be a volcanic eruption in Katla there might be a flood (jökulhlaup) coming down from underneath Sólheimajökull because of fast melting of glacier ice. From the settlement time of Iceland , around 1200 years ago there has been two or three documented floods coming down that way. The oldest glacier ice that has been found in Sólheimajökull is believed to be around 4 to 600 years old.
The landscape on and around the glacier is changing from day to day because of the movement and the melting of the ice. Every day it is a little bit different and it is a great place to see how land develops and constructs from time to time.
From the Ring Road nr. 1 take road nr. 221 and drive until the parking lot from there it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the edge of the glacier. It is important not to enter the glacier without a professional guide. Arcanum Glacier Café is located on the parking lot and is a nice and cosy place to sit down, have a coffee, something to eat and warm up after a hike to the glacier.
Read more about Driving in Iceland.