Introduction

Kerlingarfjall seen from the west. It is the middle mountain in the photo (585 m). In the far distance is the higher and snow-capped volcano of Grímsfjall (823 m). In the foreground are the reddish volcanic cones of Rauðakúla and Gráakúla. (Figure 1)

Kerlingarfjall or Witche´s Mountain is best known in Iceland because of a legend about a witch, which was turned to stone here at sunrise. A spectacular 20 meter high pillar of rock in the west part of the mountain is the source of this legend. But this is only one of a large number of fascinating features that this special mountain has to offer. This mountain is a volcano that was built up during eruptions beneath a thick glacier in the last Ice Age. These eruptions produced volcanic ash, that hardened to form a rocktype, which we call basaltic tuff or móberg in Icelandic. It is a relatively soft rock, that is easily modified by erosion over the ages, and as a result the mountain contains spectacular landforms that resemble man-made sculptures