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Skjaldbreidur Herbst 2004.jpg
Skjaldbreiður as seen from Þingvellir
Elevation 1,060 m (3,478 ft)
Translation broad shield (Icelandic)
Skjaldbreiður is located in Iceland
Coordinates 64°24′36″N 20°45′44″W / 64.41000°N 20.76222°W / 64.41000; -20.76222Coordinates: 64°24′36″N 20°45′44″W / 64.41000°N 20.76222°W / 64.41000; -20.76222
Type shield volcano
Age of rock 9,000 years

Skjaldbreiður, meaning the broad shield in Icelandic, is an Icelandic mountain from whose name the term "shield volcano" derives. It was formed in a huge and protracted eruption roughly 9,000 years ago[citation needed]. The extensive lava fields which were produced by this eruption, flowed southwards, and formed the basin of Þingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and Þingvellir, the "Parliament Plains" where the Icelandic national assembly, the Alþing was founded in 930.

The volcano culminates at 1,060 meters, and its crater measures roughly 300 meters in diameter.

Straddling the Mid-Atlantic ridge, the lava fields from Skjaldbreiður have been torn and twisted over the millennia, forming a multitude of fissures and rifts inside the Þingvellir National Park, the best known of which are Almannagjá, Hrafnagjá and Flosagjá.



  • Scarth, Alwyn; Tanguy, Jean-Claude (2001). Volcanoes of Europe. Oxford University Press. pp. 243 pp. ISBN 0-19-521754-3. 
  • Thordarson, Thor; Hoskuldsson, Armann (2002). Iceland (Classic Geology in Europe 3). Terra Publishing. pp. 208 pp. ISBN 1-903544-06-8.