Judging from the mostly vertical walls of the gorge and the relative smoothness of the rock walls, it was probably carved mostly by water, possibly with some help from the glacier. The shaft down which the little clear stream trickles was probably originally a crack in the rock or maybe a vein of softer rock which over time got worn away by trickling water.
The walls of the cave, like the walls of the gorge, are partially covered in vegetation and constantly sprayed with water. This makes for a stunning play of light on the walls and water when the sun shines down the hole in the roof of the cave.
Water-worn rock in the gorge wall, with mineral deposits.
Here, the waterfall seems to flow up.
Close up, it looks like the mouth of a monster.
This formation, which sticks up from the course of the Krossá river, was probably carved by the river rather than the glacier.
The gorge is about 2 km long in total, but I estimate that the hike to the little waterfall in the cave (see yesterday’s and tomorrow’s posts) is just under 1 km. In any case, it only took us about 40 minutes to hike to the cave, take photos and hike back.
On the way we spotted a number of rock formation that looked like trollish faces in the rock. Here are some of them, first a single photo and then a gallery:
Here you can, with a little imagination, see a benign-looking gigantic face in the rock facade. This image is taken inside the cave.
This looks like a gargoyle perched on top of the rock.
Here a face is formed by vegetation.
Can you see the faces?
This one looks like it is standing guard.
This one is not in the gorge itself, but rather on the way into Básar in Þórsmörk proper.
Rock pillars like the one seen in the distance are a sources for many Icelandic folk tales, usually ones about roving night trolls fossilised by the rising sun. This one is can be seen from the road into Þórsmörk.