Gulfoss is a waterfall in Iceland. It is part of the Golden Circle tour, which is a popular tour that many tourists take. The Golden Circle shows you the national park Þingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss (meaning "golden falls"), and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, which contains the geysers (erupting hot-springs). In Icelandic, 'Gul' means 'Gold' or 'Golden' and 'Foss' translates into 'Fall'.
History[change | change source]
Gullfoss and its environments were designed in 1979 as a nature reserve. This served to permanently protect the waterfall and allow the public to enjoy this unique area. The Environment Agency of Iceland is responsible for the management of this reserve.Tourism of this amazing waterfall has been dated to as far back as 1875.In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman, Howell, sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howell the land without the knowledge of a loophole that would allow him to proceed with his plans.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge to stop Howell’s ambitions. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm where she helped pave the first road to Gullfoss, she sought to get the contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer.
The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík, a distance of over 100 kilometres (62 miles). Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Geography[change | change source]
The gorge was formed by flash flood waters that forced their way through the cracks in the basalt lava layers. On average the water flow is around 110 m3/s. But when these floods happen it can go up to 2000 m3/s, this means that it can fill almost 50 Olympic pools in one minute or about one every second. The floods were so intense that they could fill up the gorge, which is an impressive 32 meters tall, up to the top.
Gullfoss is a tiered Cataract, its total height is 32 m. It has two falls, of which the longest drop is 21 meters tall. It is in the Hvitá River in the Southwestern part of Iceland.