Destroyed Areas

Iceland’s Eastern Highlands one of the largest unspoiled wildernesses in Europe has been largely destroyed by Alcoa, Landsvirkjun and Impregilo.

This page contains photos, articles, and official and scientific documents on the Kárahnjúkar area; its unique environmental value, and the disgusting corruption of information and politics that led to its destruction.

(scroll down for articles and documents)

Christopher Lund






Unique sediment ridges in foreground. Click image for large


October 2006





Kárahnjúkar and Töfrafoss in August 2006, just before the inundation. Photos by Christopher Lund. Music by Damien Rice.


The Biological Death of River Lagarfljót — Yet Another Revelation of the Kárahnjúkar Disaster

Time Has Told: The Kárahnjúkar Dams Disastrous Economical and Environmental Impacts

Accused of Betrayal Because of His Opinions – An interview with Þórhallur Þorsteinsson, one of the people from Eastern Iceland who had the courage to oppose the construction of the Kárahnjúkar dams. In the interview it emerges how heavy the oppression was in the East during the preamble and the building of the dams and smelter was — people where “oppressed into obedience” as Þórhallur phrases it. He talks about his experience, loss of friends, murder threats, the attempts of influential people to dispel him from his work, and the way the Icelandic police — and the national church — dealt with the protest camps organized by Saving Iceland, which lead him to wonder if he actually lived in a police state.

Rising Ecocide: Nests swallowed by water at Kárahnjúkar
‘ALCOA are not likely to be forgiven for Kárahnjúkar. Through this project ALCOA have gained many new enemies, both Icelandic and international. In due time these are sure to make ALCOA pay a heavy price for this ecocide.’

‘Power Driven’ – The Guardian
Power Driven’ by Susan Demuth appeared in The Guardian Weekend in late 2003 and rocked Icelandic complacency. Still the best analysis of the issues at stake and an excellent overview of the social background.

‘ICE BURKS!’ SchNews
Serves as a good update of the ‘Power Driven’ article in the Guardian.

‘Damned Nation’ by Mark Lynas
‘Damned Nation’ is very good on the spiel behind the Karahnjukar project and Alcoa.

Iceland’s Wilderness Under Attack
Excellent article where ornithologists Einar Ó. Thorleifsson and Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson discuss the likely impacts on the unique wildlife and scenery of the pristine environment of Kárahnjúkar.

Aerial Photos Reveal Massive Cracks in Brazilian Dam
The design of the Campos Novos Dam is exactly of the same type as the Kárahnjúkar dams. The difference between the two dams is that Campos Novos is built on stable ground whereas the Kárahnjúkar dams are built on top of a cluster of active volcanic fissures. Geological reports warning of this were suppressed by the government at the time when the Icelandic parliament voted on the Kárahnjúkar dams.

Former Minister of Industry Under Fire for Corruption

‘Bacofoil Bandits’ by Scott Clouder
Profiles the company that links BacoFoil with the US treasury secretary, a Mexican sweatshop and an Icelandic wilderness.

Environmental Facts and Figures of the Kárahnjúkar Project
The Facts

Environmental Impact of the Kárahnjúkar Dams
More Facts

Archaeological Ruins Discovered at Kárahnjúkar. –
Landsvirkjun Orders: “Destroy anything within the Hálslón basin”

Violation of the Equator Principles by the $400 Million Loan to Landsvirkjun
International Rivers Network

BirdLife International Slam Icelandic Dam Project


Conclusion of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Kárahnjúkar Project
The Icelandic National Planning Agency

A letter to ALCOA from Dr. Ragnhildur Sigurdardóttir and Gudmundur Páll Ólafsson
“The hurt many of us feel towards the developments in eastern Iceland is so great that we will never accept another aluminum smelter to be built in Iceland.”

A Project on Thin Ice
International Rivers Network

Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Project – Estimate of Profitability – Prepared for the Iceland Nature Conservation Association by Thorsteinn Siglaugsson MBA

Barclays and the Kárahnjúkar Project
International Rivers Network and Friends of the Earth

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