Hvalnes Lighthouse

Hvalnes, Iceland | C.1954

Photo Credit: James Lyle

The Hvalnes Lighthouse is located on the East Coast of Iceland in Hvalnes, a farm and a low headland at the foot of Mt. East Horn.

Built in 1954, and put into operation the following year, this bright orange concrete structure stands 11.5 meters (38 feet) high along the ocean coast and marks a prominent cape, the Austerhorn, on the southeastern corner of the country.

The light still operates to this day with two white flashes that are emitted every 20 seconds from a 29-meter (95-foot) focal plane.

The lighthouse overlooks the Hvalnes Nature Reserve, which harbors some impressive mountain and beach scenery. Directly to the west, Mount East Horn is the most prominent land formation in sight.

This precipitous and high gabbro (coarse-grained, dark-colored, intrusive igneous rock) is a granophyre mountain (sub-volcanic rock) that contains quartz and alkali feldspar at characteristic angular intergrowths. While vegetation is limited to some mosses, metals such as gold, silver, and mercury have been found here.

Over the years, many fishery outfits were situated near Hvalnes because of its close proximity to excellent fishing grounds. Many Icelanders from the northern parts used to come here seasonally to fish and make a living.

Nearby, to the south, you can see the Hvalnes Cove with its black sand beach, which became an authorized trading post in 1912.

Algerian buccaneers actually landed here in 1627, robbed and plundered, but could not find any people, because everyone was busy working in the summer pastures.

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