Monday, July 15, 2013
1986 EUROPA CEPT - Iceland - Preservation of Nature
In accordance with the Europa theme for 1986 "Preservation of Nature", Iceland issued these two lovely stamps shown on the FDC, very kindly given to me by my friend Merja.
Skaftafell is a preservation area in Öræfi, southeast Iceland. It used to be a manor farm and a national park, but has been a part of Vatnajökull National Park since its establishment in 2008. Skaftafell National Park was a national park, situated between Kirkjubæjarklaustur, typically referred to as Klaustur, and Höfn in the south of Iceland. On 7 June 2008, it became a part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park. It was founded on September 15, 1967, and enlarged twice afterwards. Today, the park measures about 4807 km2 (2884 mi²), making it Iceland's second largest national park. It is home to the valley Morsárdalur, the mountain Kristínartindar and the glacierSkaftafellsjökull (a spur of the Vatnajökull ice cap).
The landscape is very similar to some of the Alps, but it has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire (volcanic eruptions of Öræfajökull) and water (the glaciers Skeiðarájökull and Skaftafellsjökull), the rivers Skeiðará, Morsá und Skaftafellsá. Volcanic eruptions under the ice-cap can give rise to jökulhlaups (glacial floods) which swell the Skeiðará river massively. The sandy wasteland between the glacier and the sea caused by jökulhlaups is called the Sandur. The last jökulhlaup occurred in 1996. Svartifoss waterfall is one of Skaftafell's best known attractions, mainly for the basalt column walls that flank it.
Skaftafell is renowned in Iceland for its agreeable climate and the sunny days in summer, uncommon in the south of Iceland. There is a natural birch wood, Bæjarstaðarskógur, as well as many species of birds and arctic foxes.
Jökulsárgljúfur National Park is a national park situated in the north of Iceland around the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. It lies to the north of the Dettifoss waterfall. On 7 June 2008, it became a part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park. The area is of interest because of its chaotic canyon and volcanic mountains. Eight thousand years ago, a volcano erupted directly underneath the river and glacial ice. This caused explosions and chaotic flooding.
The center of the park was Hljóðaklettar (rock of echoes). Rauðhólar (red mountain) is of interest because of its special colouring. Another sight is the canyon of Ásbyrgi to the north of the park which is formed like a horseshoe.