Remains of an ancient birch forest

Drumbabót with a view to Glacier Mýrdalsjökull

The forest in Drumbabót was destroyed by a huge flood originated from an eruption in Glacier Mýrdalsjökull some 45 km away. The surge of water and glacial sediment swept away and broke tree stems as big as 30 cm in diameter. This eruption in the autumn of 822, most likely in the volcano Katla, wreaked havoc. Forest remains have in the last century been emerging from the sands by the River Þverá in Fljótshlíð, South Iceland. These are the remains of an ancient birch forest, which covered an area of over 100 hectares. This gives credence to the Icelandic Sagas which say that Iceland was more or less covered with trees from mountain to shore at the time of the settlement which is believed to have begun some fifty year later.