July 7, 2012
Geysir (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈceːisɪr̥]), sometimes known as The Great Geysir, is a geyser in southwestern Iceland. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans. The English word geyser (a spouting hot spring) derives from Geysir. The name Geysir itself is derived from the Icelandic verb geysa, “to gush”, the verb from Old Norse. Geysir lies in the Haukadalur valley on the slopes of Laugarfjall hill, which is also the home to Strokkur geyser about 50 metres south.
We visited during a time of dormancy for the “Great Geysir”. It looked like a big, hot pool in the ground, surrounded by interestingly colored silica. Apparently, Geysir’s eruptions are somewhat tied to earthquake activity. After earthquakes, eruptions resume and can be fairly regular (and spectacular) for quite a while before going dormant again.
The geyser we did see erupt was the smaller but very regular and frequent Strokkur, which is just a few yards away from Geysir. Strokkur erupts every 6-12 minutes, and sometimes is very high and sometimes not so much, but always dramatic and always elicits gasps and shouts and laughs from the onlooking tourists (including us!).
We’d just missed a couple of eruptions as we arrived and figured out what was what. So when we approached, we waited on the outside of the safety ropes, cameras poised…
We were not disappointed!
We stayed and watched a few more eruptions.
Brad took some awesome photos (one eruption was kind of a dud.)
After sufficient ooh-ing and aah-ing at the eruptions, we strolled through the area and peeked at some of the mud pots, hot springs, and other geysers. It was a remarkable place, and I felt as though I was walking a landscape from another planet at times.
Next stop: Þingvellir