Helgustaðanáma is an old Icelandic spar mine, located above the trail leading from Eskifjörður to Vödlavik. The mine is open to visitors and there is a well-marked and good walking path leading towards it. The Icelandic spar (Silfurberg in Icelandic) is a type of calcite crystal that is completely transparent and can split light into two parallel beams. It was therefore, a vital component in the making of early microscopes and large quantities were exported to Europe’s top scientists from the 17th century until the quarry’s closure in 1924.
The main characteristics of the Icelandic spar in Helgustaðanáma it size, purity and clarity and you can still see calcite sparkling in rocks around the mine. The largest specimen taken from Helgustaðanáma weighs 220 kg and is displayed in the British Natural History Museums. Icelandic spar can be found in several stone collections and geological museums around the world.
Please note that all removal of the spar is strictly forbidden and the area is a protected nature reserve.
DID YOU KNOW: The largest specimen taken from Helgustaðanámu was 220 kg!
HOW TO GET THERE
GPS: N65° 2′ 42.946″ W13° 52′ 52.284″