Hverarond Geothermal Area, Iceland

January 24, 2013

Steaming-land

Photographer: Stu Witmer
Summary Author: Stu Witmer

Iceland is being torn in two by the spreading of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Hverarond geothermal area, seen above, sits right on the ridge where cracks in the ground are actively widening and new ones appear every few months. Many of those cracks contain boiling mud pots, hot springs, fumaroles and solfataras. IMG_1511The smell of sulfur gas in the air is almost palpable and thick deposits of gypsum and sulfur cover the ground. There are very few safety precautions provided so you need to watch where you walk (see inset) or you could be burned severely should you break through the crust. The sulfur is almost pure and access was easy so sulfur mining has gone on here for hundreds of years. Production ceased when it was no longer economically viable in the mid-twentieth century. The flat-topped mountain in the background is one of several mountains in Iceland called Burfell (“cage mountain”). Photo taken September 10, 2011.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS; Focal Length: 5.0mm; Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/200); ISO equiv: 80; Software: GIMP 2.6.11.