Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Iceland Saga: Geothermality

It turns out that Iceland has been "green" since long before it was cool. While their cars do operate on fossil fuels, the rest of the power used in the country - all the energy that lights and heats their buildings, for example - is geothermal.

You can see signs of the natural geothermal energy all over the place. For example, we explored one area full of natural steam vents:

This area had very little plant life - so finding a somewhat scraggly clump of flowers was a big deal! ;)

This area also had boiling mud pots.

And the smell - phew! Talk about rotten eggs! ;)

Here's a power plant that was located in another area:

This was supposedly one of the most active geothermal areas in all of Iceland. You were warned to keep on the path to avoid melting the bottoms of your shoes!

Here's a close-up shot:

Not that you wanted to tromp across the cooled lava fields - that terrain reads "ankle breaker" to me...

One last clear sign of all this power was the geysers. Here is the base of the Strokkur geyser inbetween eruptions.

This geyser erupts every 6-10 minutes! But it shoots up and then disappears so quickly that it's difficult to get a shot of it at full height.

It turns out that we get the word "geyser" from the name of the most famous Icelandic geyser, which is Geysir. Geysir used to be quite active, but it's been blocked up and doesn't erupt as often anymore.

Of course, there's always Little Geysir! ;)

After all these landscapes and images of other natural phenomena, I thought I'd better prove that people actually live in Iceland. Thus, tomorrow's pictures will show signs of human habitation.