Curiosity

This Rock In Iceland Looks Just Like An Elephant

Do you see the resemblance?

Nature produces everyday wonders that could cause most people to do a double take — a butterfly perched on a flower, a rainbow following a storm, a fiery orange sunset. But it’s not every day that you’re out and about and notice a rock shaped like a giant mammal.

But that’s the case in Iceland, where a volcanic sea cliff was formed by an eruption, carved by erosion and turned out looking a lot like an elephant. Yes, an elephant! And as visitor @GoddessBibiche noted, “how cool is this?”

The natural rock formation is located on Iceland’s Westman Islands, which are approximately 4.6 miles off of Iceland’s southern coast. The Westman Islands are comprised of 15 islands and about 30 reefs that were created by undersea volcanic activity. The largest of them, Heimaey, is also the only inhabited island of the bunch; Elephant Rock is at its southern tip.

“Elephant Rock fascinates visitors because it resembles the head of a giant elephant which has submerged half its trunk underwater in an attempt to quench its thirst with the Atlantic Ocean,” noted @earth.with.me via Instagram, adding that the rock’s likeness to an elephant is enhanced by the rock itself: The basalt makes the “skin” of the creature look tough and wrinkled, like a real elephant.

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Halldórsskora (Elephant rock), Heimaey island, Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands), Iceland. ——————— Nearest airports: Vestmannaeyjar (VEY) 3 km Reykjavík Domestic (RKV) 158 km Reykjavik Keflavík International (KEF) 192 km ——————— Ferry runs 5-6 times a day from Landeyjahöfn ——————— Elephant Rock is a natural rock formation on the Westman Islands archipelago. The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, are a cluster of 15 islands. The largest of these islands, Heimaey, is the only inhabited island of the cluster. Formation and Appearance The entire archipelago rests in the Southern Iceland Volcanic Zone and was formed during numerous volcanic eruptions. As a result, the islands boast multiple remarkable rock formations and unmatched volcanic landscapes. Elephant Rock fascinates visitors because it resembles the head of a giant elephant which has submerged half its trunk underwater in an attempt to quench its thirst with the Atlantic Ocean. Many have pointed out the rock's resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft's cosmic daemon Cthulhu, a monstrous sea creature with the face of an octopus. The likeness is complete with a cleft in the rock where the Lovecraftian creature's eyes would be and the resulting shadow bestows an eerie and lifelike quality upon its face. Fundamental to the rock's realistic appearance is the fact that it's entirely made from basalt, but this makes the "skin" of the creature appear wrinkled.

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And it’s not just the elephant’s face that bears the resemblance. The overhead view, captured here by @SrBachchan, gives an even better view of the elephant’s body, tail and trunk.

Pretty amazing, right? The best way to see the elephant is on a boat tour of the Westman Islands, and several companies offer excursions in the area. Of course, you’ll have to get to Iceland first; one popular way to get a taste of the country is Icelandair’s stopover option, which lets ticketholders make a stop for a few days in Reykjavik on their way to another destination in Europe at no extra charge.

But if you can’t make it to Iceland to see the natural sculpture, then you should know the land of fire and ice isn’t the only place to boast an elephant-like rock. The Valley of Fire State Park in Clark County, Nevada, has a red sandstone formation that also looks a lot like an elephant, captured here by @nozippbags.

Nature is incredible! Do you plan on adding Elephant Rock — either one — to your travel wish list?