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Skjaldbreidur Herbst 2004.jpg
Skjaldbreiður as seen from Þingvellir
Highest point
Elevation1,060 m (3,480 ft)
Coordinates64°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
English translationbroad shield
Language of nameIcelandic
Skjaldbreiður is located in Iceland
Age of rock9,000 years
Mountain typeshield volcano

Skjaldbreiður, meaning the broad shield in Icelandic, is an Icelandic lava shield formed in one 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 summit is at 1,060 metres, and its crater measures roughly 300 metres 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 Silfra, 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.