the waterfall Dettifoss is a short walk
from the car park in the National Park.
You go across Sandadalur, a small
containing an old river bed, that bears witness to the power of
the Jokulsa a Fjollum river and the jokulhlaups
thunder down it from
time to time. Since it’s partly buried in the
canyon, Dettifoss is overlooked by
cliffs on both sides.
From the west, the full face of the waterfall can be seen, and a short walk places you on top of the lava dam and fault line, that are responsible for the waterfall’s location. The waterfall is heard well before it is seen and the spray can be seen over ridges, before the edge of the canyon is reached. This isn't surprising. Dettifoss is Europe's greatest waterfall - at least in terms of volume, which averages 500 cubic meters of water per second during normal river conditions. Its volume often increases, though, especially when the weather or volcanic activity, prompts glacial melting on (or under) the Vatnajokull glacier icecap. The river water is almost always dark with sediment, in contrast with the white rapids and spray. During floods the river and the falls are often virtually black with sediment and debris.
As with other Icelandic waterfalls, Dettifoss is approached at your own risk. There are no safety barriers, although one or two paths have been roped off in order to control erosion damage caused by visitors. If you’re going near the waterfall, you’ll almost certainly need some sort of rain gear - the heavy spray that rains down on the surrounding area can quickly soak you. You’ll also need to restrain any impulses you may feel to jump into the falls. Standing close to all the roaring water can be hypnotic, and a ride over the edge probably isn’t survivable.
is Europe’s mightiest waterfall. It is
northeastern Iceland. It is situated on the Jokulsa
a Fjollum river,
which flows from the Vatnajokull
glacier and collects water from a
large area in north-east Iceland. It
is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, having a flow
variously estimated at between 200 and 500 cubic meters of water per
second, depending on the season and the summer ice melt. The
100 m wide and have a drop of 44 m down to the Jokulsargljufur