Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#795 Geysir, Iceland

In the middle of apparent farmland in Iceland lies an amazing geological formation and the root of our English word, geyser. Before Old Faithful in Yellowstone, or the geysers near Rotorua in New Zealand was Geysir, the first really famous spouting water.
Strokkur erupting
From the Icelandic (Old Nordic) word 'to gush' Geysir was the first written record of a spouting hot spring known to Europeans. The park lies in the Haukadalur valley at the foot of the Laugarfjall hill, and houses not just one, but around 30 separate glaciers. Geysir is the biggest, shooting water up to 70m into the air and even higher in extreme cases, but in recent years has become less frequent and reliable. Strokkur geyser is far more reliable, erupting approximately every 15 minutes but to a lesser, but still impressive 20m-30m in height. Many photographs of Strokkur are mislabeled as Geysir!

Connected to earthquake and other geothermal activity (Iceland lies right in the middle of the Great Atlantic Rift between the North American and European tectonic places) the geysers have been active for around 10,000 years, but have changed locations frequently due to the moving tectonics. Man-made interference has also altered the activity, both by cutting a channel into the silica edge, but also later they were simulated by adding soap (this practice stopped in the 1990s due to environmental concerns).
An interesting fact - it was once owned by Brit James Craig (Lord Craigavon and later Prime Minister of Northern Ireland), who gave it to a friend, who sold it to an Icelandic film director who gave it to the people of Iceland for perpetuity (thank goodness!).
File:Geysir3.jpg Taken in 2012
A short video of Strokkur erupting in July 2013:

No comments:

Post a Comment