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Updated August 2008 – In the river of Skjálfandafljót (North Iceland) are the magnificent waterfalls Aldeyjarfoss, Hrafnabjargafoss and Goðafoss. A potential victim of the construction or expansion of the proposed ALCOA smelter at Húsavík (Bakki). The geothermal fields in the north may not provide enough power for the planned 250.00 mtpy smelter. Furthermore, Alcoa is already planning expansion of the smelter to 346.000 mtpy and possibly larger. In this case at least one of the northern rivers will need to be dammed, and Skjalfandafljot is a prime target.
A company named Hrafnabjargavirkjun Hf is already set up to prepare construction of a new 90 MW plant with three dams in Skjalfandafljot. Fljotshnjuksvirkjun (two dams) in the same river would produce another 58 MW. The corporation is owned for 60% by Orkuveita Reykjavikur. Other shareholders include Norðurorka and Orkuveita Húsavíkur.

The Hrafnabjörg reservoir would be located at the site of an old glacial lagoon which was formed by lava flows that erupted shortly after glaciers retreated at the end of the last glacial period. The reservoir would reach to Hrafnabjörgurfoss and Aldeyarfjoss where Skjálfandafljót flows into Hrafnabjörg Canyon and Bardardalur valley. The power plant would be located at Aldeyarfjoss. Also, Íshólsvatn Lake could be dammed and another smaller reservoir might be created at Fljótshagi, south of the Hrafnabjörg reservoir.

Other affected waterfalls in Skjálfandafljót are Ingavararfoss and Goðafoss.

In the year 999 or 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeirr Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion it is said that upon returning from the Alþingi, Þorgeirr threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall. Þorgeirr’s story is preserved in Ari Þorgilsson‘s Íslendingabók.



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2 Responses to “Skjálfandafljót”

  1. avs says:

    The lesson here is staying clear from large rivers. Not residing near them.

  2. solskin says:

    Isn’t the lesson here rather not to dam large rivers?

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