Halldórsskora (Elephant Rock) – Heimaey, Iceland - Atlas Obscura

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Halldórsskora (Elephant Rock)

On an island south of Iceland, a large volcanic rock formation resembles an elephant. 


Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) is a small archipelago just off the southern coast of Iceland. The largest of these volcanic islands is called Heimaey, which features various quirky rock formations.

The most outstanding rock formation on this island can be found along the western coast and is shaped like an elephant head, with its curious appearance resembling a pachyderm with the trunk being positioned under the Atlantic Ocean.

Known as Elephant Rock, it was formed by one of the many volcanic eruptions in Heimay’s history. The last eruption occurred in 1973, when half of the island’s town of Vestmannaeyjar was destroyed and a new volcanic cone called Eldfell was formed. But the rock is believed to be much older. The volcanic basalt is wrinkled in a way that resembles elephant skin. The appearance of the rock has also been compared to Cthulhu, the mythical sea creature featured in H.P. Lovecraft’s works.

Elephant Rock is located on the lower part of a rocky area of the island with steep cliffs and can only be reached by a one-hour boat tour. While on the island, visitors can find many other incredible volcanic formations and a diverse bird population, including the largest puffin colony in the world.

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