KATLA GEOPARK (Iceland)
Located on the south coast of Iceland, Katla Geopark covers three municipalities with a combined population of about 2,700.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
The Katla Geopark is named after the volcano Katla that has for centuries had great impact on Icelandic nature and people living in the area. Katla is one of the largest central volcanoes in Iceland, covered by the glacier Mýrdalsjökull. Katla Geopark is located in the southern part of Iceland, and it takes one to three hours to drive by car from Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. The Geopark consists of three municipalities: Skaftárhreppur, furthest east; Mýrdalshreppur, in the middle; and Rangárþing eystra, in the west. The volcanic activity of Eyjafjallajökull, Katla, Grímsvötn, Lakagígar and Eldgjá and its widespread effect on the landscape in the area provide the geological basis for the Geopark but the boundaries follow the administrative borders of the three municipalities. Apart from the ice-capped volcanoes and lava streams, sandur plains with their black beaches and rootless vents (pseudocraters) are prominent features in the landscape. Part of Vatnajökull National Park is within the boundaries of Katla Geopark including Laki and the spectacular Langisjór lake.
Traditionally agriculture has been the main economic activity but recently tourism has increased considerably. In the area there are several heritage centers including the Saga Center in Hvolsvöllur, Skógar museum, Katla center in Vík and Skaftárstofa in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States