Iceland’s Dettifoss Waterfall - Europe's Most Powerful

Magazine Iceland’s Dettifoss Waterfall - Europe's Most Powerful

Iceland is full of many wonderful waterfalls, it is one of the things that makes this country so special.  Some are well known, like Gullfoss, which draws thousands of people each year.  Fewer make their way to North Iceland, home to another gem, Dettifoss.

Located in Northeast Iceland within Vatnajokull National Park, Dettifoss is the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of water flow. The river that feeds Dettifoss is in turn fed by the largest glacier in Europe, the mighty Vatnajokull. It’s glacial origins are revealed in the color of the river water, which is brown and milky white.  The color comes from all the silt-sized suspended particles that comes from the glacial erosion of rock.  

The river that feeds Dettifoss is called Jokulsa - Jökulsá in Icelandic (Jokul means "glacier" and, á is the word for river).  The full name of this river is Jökulsá á Fjöllum, which translates to “glacial river in the mountains.”  This river also drains much of the region and so has a high flow of water - the source of Dettifoss’ power.

The falls drop 150 ft (45 m) and are 330 ft wide (100 m).  These figures are not what make Dettifoss so powerful; it’s the flow of water.  Dettifoss has an average discharge of 193 m3/s. To put that into perspective, that’s 4,400,400,000 US gallons per day or, 3,059,436 US gallons per minute.  Now that’s power!

For visitors to Dettifoss, there is a new road on the east side of the waterfall which also includes an information panel for guests. The opposite side of the falls is generally shrouded in mist and so is not as commonly used by visitors.

Recently movie fans would have seen Dettifoss in the beginning of the movie, Prometheus.  In the opening scene of the movie, the “alien” populates Earth by disolving himself down to the DNA level and washing into Dettifoss.  

If you are staying at Berjaya Akureyri Hotel, this is a must see.  In fact, Dettifoss is part of what is known as the “Diamond Circle” which includes Dettifoss, Lake Myvatn and the quaint, fishing village of Husavik; gems one and all.  For more information feel free to ask the receptionist for more information. Enjoy!

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