Known as disappearing lake, the mysterious Kleifarvatn lies in the area of Krysuvik close to Reykjavik. The lake sits directly on top of the most volcanically active part of the Mid Atlantic Ridge, making it an ideal place to dive and explore. This eery lake measures up to 97m deep, 4.7km long and 2.5km wide, enclosed by an infertile desolate terrain that depicts standing on Mars; from its steep sided maroon mountains, rusty dusty plains and menacing craggy rock formations, to its bubbling mud pots and solfataras streaming in the air.
Incredibly, in the year 2000 a large earthquake caused the lake to drain, and since then has risen again to its original level, gaining the title ‘the disappearing lake.’ Geologists say “if you put your ear to the ground, you can hear the lake draining, it sounds like water going down the sink.” Kleifarvatn was chosen to be used in the opening sequence from Ridley Scott’s epic alien movie ‘Prometheus’.
Diving close to shore are some rare volcanic craters that feature active volcanic gas bubbles escaping from the ground, also known as underwater hot springs. The spooky dark craters were made from overheated groundwater explosions from earthquakes in the area. Divers enter the site from the shore by walking into the water along a black beach. There is usually a line to the site. A sloping bottom over sand extends to the craters.
Because of its foul smelling sulphur gases escaping into the water, the main bulk of marine life at Kleifarvatn has to fight to survive. Freshwater Trout can sometimes be seen, but when enter the craters, they dive from gas poisoning. Water temperature can range between 2-6 degrees. Visibility varies from season to season. Best time to dive in during the summer months. Wintertime the lake freezes completely.
Due to sometimes poor vis and strong current present in the lake, Kleifarvatn is not easy to dive and therefore is not recommended for novice drysuit divers. Expect a wild barren place with zero to life sci-fi conditions. A meritorious dive to put under the belt, priceless for its rare photographic opportunities to, if possible – capture the earth moving.