NATURE | What is geothermal heat?

What is geothermal heat?

The geysers are just one type of hot spring, but such features are very rare in the world – not existing in Europe outside Iceland. 

When Geysir was most active, its eruptions spouted scalding geothermal water streams some 60-80 m into the air. Geysir has risen to 100 metres at its best. Strokkur, another famous geyser located nearby, gives a performance every few minutes, shooting a tower of water and steam 30 metres into the air.

And there are other attractions for example Blesi a hot spring with water the color of turquoise delights the sense. Other geysers in the area are Sódi (the sod), Smiður (the carpenter), Fata (the bucket), Óþerrishola (the non-draugth-hole, or the rainmaker), Litli Geysir (the small Geysir) and Litli Strokkur (the small Strokkur). In the earthquakes 17th and 21st June 2000 great changes could be seen in the thermal area. The hot spring Konungshver (the king´s hot spring) and Blesi (the Blazer) started to boil vigorously, up to 0,5-1 m. Óþerrishola and Fata also started to erupt. How nature will form the future of Geyser, Strokkur and the other thermal wonders is unknown.

1905- Geysir erupted twice every 24 hours

1907 – Strokkur awoke for a while but returned to dormancy. The hot spring Smidur (carpenter, smith) was dug out by a carpenter working in the area prior to the visit of the Danish King, Frederik VIII, who came to Iceland that summer.

1914 – Geysir ceased erupting

1922 – The Danish King, Christian X, visited Iceland and also the Geysir area.

1930 – Icelandic scientist Thorkell Thorkelsson made a detailed map of the area.

1934 – This year Strokkur erupted and the Otherrishola Geysir was active.

1935- Professor Trausti Einarsson and a local farmer, Jón from Laug, dug a narrow slot through the rim of the silica bowl of Geysir; the water table was thus lowered and Geysir started erupting. An Icelandic director Sigurður Jónasson bought the Geysir area from its English owners and gave it to the Icelandic people.

1937 – The Norwegian scientist Tom F. Barth studied the area and at that time Geysir erupted 4-5 times every 24 hours, the sout reaching up to 60 m.

1944 – Geysir discharging 4.7 l/s, but did not erupt. The water in Strokkur was 0,6 m below the surface.

1953 – The Geysir Committee was founded; rules concerning the area were published and the area was fenced off to keep away livestock.

1954 – Geysir ceased to erupt without soap.

1963 – This year the Strokkur geyser was cleaned with a drill down to 40 m. It had been dormant since 1907, but now started to erupt and has continued ever sice every 8-10 min.

1981 – The slot in the bowl of Geysir from 1935 was cleaned and small eruptions started. This was done mainly to use in a film that was being made at the time. To get a large eruption some 40-50 kg of soap was essential.

2000 – The Geysir centre was opened 3rd of June. On the National day, 17th of June, large earthquakes (M 6.5) shook the Southern lowlands of Iceland, and again 21st of June. Geysir awoke and erupted throughout the year, 2-4 times a day, but seldom higher than 10-15 m. The thermal area became hotter and more active, and the flow of water from the hot springs increased by half. 

2016 – Geysir erupted (without any help) few times during 2016. News

More about the Geysir area