Iceland’s Golden Circle: Geysir
Geysers are fun!!!! When you tour the Golden Circle, outside of Reykjavic, you arrive to this fascinating geothermal area that gave us the word “geyser”. The minute you get out of the car you see several fields full of hot springs, steaming creeks, turquoise pools and ONE reliable geyser.
This is the old Geysir, the grand-father of the one we can see today. Geysir, discovered and named in 1294, refers to both this general area and a specific geyser, which once spouted as high as 80m, but is now just a calm, steamy vent with occasional hisses and gurgles.
Fortunately, there is one reliable, younger geyser to entertain thousands of tourist each day during summer. Its name is Strokkur:
It spouts every 5 minutes, more or less of course, there is no schedule.
The fun part is waiting for it to spout. First the water is calm with a little bit of steam:
Then it starts to boil, everybody around the geyser stops talking, all cameras are ready:
And then there is that sudden explosion that surprises everyone. It’s that element of surprise that makes geysers fun to watch.
And there is always a group of people who get wet:
Some come prepared:
If you don’t want to get wet you can watch everything from a distance:
Maybe one day, this will be the next generation of geysers in Iceland:
An interesting fact about Iceland:
Icelands “Strokkur Geysir” is one of the most persistent geysers in the world and lies in the Haukadalur valley at the base of Laugarfjall hill about 50 m from the site of the famous, but rarely active, “Geysir” which is the source of the generic name given to these kind of hot springs. The term Geysir (Engl. geyser) is itself derived from the Icelandic word “geysa” which means to gush.
The small geothermal area in which the geyser lies is one of the major tourist attractions in iceland. Strokkur was first reported in 1789, after an earthquake which probably created or unblocked its conduit. Eruptions were regular until 1896, after which a renewed earthquake inactivated the geyser. In 1963, local people succeeded in unblocking the plumbing system and Strokkur has been active ever since. First records of geyser activity in the area date back to 1294, when the great Geysir is thought to have become active.
The geyser mechanism is not completely understood but Icelanders have their own explanation and it is shown on this postcard: