You don’t have to be in Iceland during an eruption to experience firsthand the island’s fiery forces. There are many parts of the country alive with volcanic activity from exploding geysers to gurgling mud pits, boiling hot springs and steam vents.
Safety in geothermal hot spots is key; stick to designated paths and walkways when they have been provided. And of course if something is boiling, please don’t stick your finger in it!
This bubbling hot spring in West Iceland is the largest and most powerful in Europe with a flow rate of 180 liters (50 gallons) of water per second at a piping hot 97°C (200°F). The scalding water bubbles out of an algae covered rocky outcrop creating a steamy source of power for the nearby towns and villages.
This highly active geothermal area along the Golden Circle Route is alive with boiling mud pits, steam vents, exploding geysers and Strokkur, which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although the famous Geysir is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world.
Gunnuhver on the Reykjanes Peninsula is a highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents. The colorful minerals in the ground provide vibrant hues, but danger is very real with temperatures over 300°C (570°F) so it is important to tread lightly and stick to the trails. Iceland´s largest mud pool resides at Gunnuhver; it is 20 meters (65 ft) wide of violently boiling earth.
A new hot spring area emerged on a hillside above Hveragerdi after a major earthquake shook South Iceland in May 2008 and pillars of steam can be seen rising up from the ground year round. Several highly active hot springs spew colorful mud and hot geothermal water into the air creating quite a spectacle.
Near Lake Myvatn in the north lie the still-warm lava fields of Krafla, teeming with lava flows, fissures and gullies. The surreal landscape is home to favorite geological wonders like Hverir, a large geothermal area of hissing steam vents and bubbling mud pools, Viti explosion crater, and the steamy Leirhnjukur lava fields.
The Krysuvik Geothermal Area of the Reykjanes Nature Reserve is where visitors can experience geothermal power in a more natural setting with boiling mud springs surrounding the world’s largest blowing steam vent. The nearby Seltun geothermal field is teeming with active hot springs, bubbling mud cauldrons and marked walking paths.
Lake Myvatn in northern Iceland is a geological wonderland with bubbling mud flats, volcanic craters, and newborn lava fields. Some of the most visually bizarre attractions in the region are the mud pits of Haverarond, which are so hot that they actually boil.
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