I had a chance to visit Geysir Geothermal Area, which is located within the Haukadalur Valley of Iceland. it is one of the sites in Iceland, where we can see the effect of volcanic activity in the region, pretty up close and personal.
The first of these is the one which gave all others their name: the Great Geysir itself. This is the earliest documented geyser in European literature, and its name comes from the Old Norse verb ‘to gush’, geysa. Geysir erupts rarely, but its neighbor, Strokkur, goes off every ten minutes or so, throwing water from 20 to 40 meters (66 to 132 ft) into the air.
Steaming vents and chimneys are dotted along the way in this Haukadalur valley, and the steam rising from it is visible from pretty far away. The area is dotted with many hot pools, clay pots, and fumaroles, and the hills and soil are colored vividly by the minerals of the earth. There are two geysers that make this region pretty popular for tourists to hang out.
Wiki says, for a geyser to exist, it requires the following circumstances:
- An intense heat source: For geysers to erupt, there needs to be magma close to the surface of the earth to heat the rocks enough to boil water.
- A water flow: There must be a source of flowing underground water. In this case, the water is what has melted from Langjökull glacier and runs through the porous lava rock into the area.
- A plumbing system: There must be an underground reservoir for this water to gather, and a vent, lined with silica so that the water cannot seep out of it, which rises from the reservoir to the surface of the earth.
Walking around the Geysir Geothermal Area is a fascinating and rewarding experience.
Þingvellir National Park is an amazing site, steeped in history and folklore, and surrounded by incredible geology, as it is situated directly between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, in the rift valley that runs all the way through Iceland. This is the only country where this valley, the Mid Atlantic Ridge, can be seen above sea level, and nowhere is it more visible than in Þingvellir. It was a pocket of magma between these plates that rose as they moved apart which began the creation of Iceland millions of years ago.
Their continued separation is the reason that Iceland has such fascinating volcanic activity; the island is still very young, and still very much in the process of formation. Evidence of this process can be found all across Þingvellir. The area consists of long stretches of lava rock, and many volcanoes surround the park, rising above Þingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake.