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Iceland

Hallbjarnarstaðakambur

Three million year old fossils are exposed for all to see on this Icelandic shore. 

Stacked in crumbling sedimentary layers, millions of years worth of shell fossils have been exposed on the Icelandic beach known as Hallbjarnarstaðakambur. 

This secluded shore sits in northern Iceland and is marked by a small sign that simply reads, “fossil.” If visitors can locate the small sign and follow it towards the lone wharf-house that sits nearby, they will find a veritable national history museum embedded in the sea cliff wall. There among the gray stone are countless shells, prehistoric impressions, and other primordial relics. Deposited in ancient epochs when the sea level either shrunk to expose the chitinous fossils or the biological debris simply washed up towards the seawall, they represent millions of years of natural history exposed like a cross-section. This remarkable display is open to anyone willing to seek it out, but given the fragility of the site, tampering with or removing anything is strictly prohibited. However, Hallbjarnarstaðakambur offers a sort of time travel that is almost unheard of elsewhere in the world.

Know Before You Go

Not easy to find... Best to use GPS 66.145539°, -17.259286°. Directions as follows. To get from Húsavík to Hallbjarnarstaðarkambur you must continue on Norðausturvegur, route 85, and head to a place called Tunguvellir (there should be a sign by the road). There close by is a short drive from the main road down to the seashore. This detour is market with a small “fossil” sign and it’s very easy to miss. You know you’ve found the right place if you see a small wharf and a house down by the shore at the end of a narrow, muddy road.