Iceland is well known for it's geothermal activity with geysers, mud-pots and hot springs. The most active areas are along the edges of the Tectonic plates, the Mid Atlantic ridge where the Eurasian plate meets the North American plate and they are moving away from each other about 1 inch (2 centimeters) pr year. On this belt that lies across the centre of Iceland we also have the most active volcanoes and earthquakes.
Smells like rotten eggs!
The sulphur smell is one of the first things travellers notice about our geothermal areas, but we who live here have gotten used to it through the years. The geothermal hot water is used for heating and up to 82% of domestic houses in Iceland are heated with renewable energy, 62% geothermal and 20% hydropower. Taking a shower in Reykjavik reminds you of where the water comes from, through bore-holes deep into the ground. In the volcanic zone you may find at least 20 high-temperature areas containing steam fields with underground temperatures reaching 200°C within 1,000 m depth. These areas are directly linked to the active volcanic systems which keep the temperature high.
The famous Geyser
In Iceland we have many geothermal areas with hot-springs and mud pots and one of the most famous is definitely the Geyser area with Strokkur as the key player. It erupts pretty regularly every 5-7 minutes sometimes up to 20 meters or more.
In the north you will find the Hverir mud pots area and Krafla with another mud pots area with orange and blue clay. In these areas the geothermals are not erupting but bubbling clay and on the hiking paths the ground is sticking to your shoes, especially when it is raining. There is also a hiking path up to the mountain you see in the back which gives you a great view down over the Hverir area.
Hveravellir and Kerlingafjöll
In the centre of Iceland lies another famous geothermal area between Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers. One part of it is the Kerlingafjöll mountain range which has similar activity as Hverir at Mývatn, bubbling mud pots and steam vents with a few warm creeks flowing from the ground. The other part is Hveravellir, just a few kilometers from Kerlingafjöll. In Hveravellir you can find a natural pool and some mud pots and steam vents with beautiful patterns in the mud. It is a good day trip from Reykjavik and requires a 4x4 vehicle to get there.
When you visit the geothermal areas in Iceland you should take care where you step because you will sink in the mud and burn your feet. Stay on the pathways that have been marked and you will be fine. Respect our fragile nature, thank you.
Keywords: geothermal, geyser, hot-spring, Iceland, landscape, mud-pots, nature, photo, photography, travel
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